I had a dream last night that I’d started smoking again. I went out to stand behind the house, to lean against the bricks, to bury myself in the shadows. When I came back inside, my sister was standing in the sunny Kitchen, and down the stairs came another me. A second Abigail had entered the room after us. She was in my same clothes, her hair pulled into my same high pony, and she had come from my bedroom as if time had reversed, as if I had spent the lost minutes up there, and not in the garden sneaking and self-sabotaging. The other Abigail stepped boldly into the room, as if her presence posed no questions. She was confident, unworried, she had done nothing wrong after all, there were no lies for her to ready. I instantly scrambled for something to say that would explain her,
“I don’t know why she’s here,” I said.
But I did know why. She had been spawned in my absence, by my mistake. She had escaped her alternative universe to come and correct mine, to step in where I had failed, to be the ‘right’ Abigail. That was the idea, I presumed; she had come down, and was going off to work, or wherever she was promised to. She would be leaving through the front door, not the back. But I wasn’t about to let that happen.
“Who is the right Abigail?” my sister asked, “and who is the wrong one?”
“She is wrong,” I said of the right Abigail, “I’m the real Abigail.”
The unsullied Abigail, the morally superior Abigail, the second Abigail didn’t defend herself. She didn’t say anything. Still, I barked as if there was something to refute.
“I was here first,” I said, “what do we do?” I asked my sister, “what should we do with her?”
“If she is fake,” said my sister, “if she is wrong, then you should kill her.”
I’ve never killed anyone, my sister knows it, but we couldn’t keep her, there couldn’t be two Abigails. I hardly deserved to die for what I’d done. And I’d been around for longer, two decades, that was my claim to legitimacy. The other Abigail had no claim.
I didn’t slaughter her there and then. I imagined what it would be like to do it, and settled on the likelihood that it would be much like killing a child. She’d only just begun, she was fresh, and she might’ve outlived me in the long run, though there was no proof. If someone better than I had presided over the case, they would’ve killed the Abigail that’d loudly protested her innocence. It’s always the ones that fight.
(image cred: by ‘Doppelgänger’ DB Waterman)