THE SEAMS

Chris R-1-69

Image by Christine Renney

I didn’t look like him, not really, although there were certain similarities I suppose. We shared a fairish complexion and were about the same height and build but that was it apart from the fact that we dressed alike and I thought this uncanny. We both favoured v-neck sweaters with a t-shirt beneath, jeans or chinos and comfortable shoes, most often a pair of trainers. We both wore dark colours, navy blue or black, and the t-shirt was a little blast of colour but nothing too flamboyant. A lighter shade of blue or a muted green but mostly our t-shirts were grey or simply white.

He had moved into the block directly opposite and was living in a place just like mine. But there wasn’t anything strange about this. All the flats in both blocks were identical. But I couldn’t help but feel that his dressing exactly as I did was more than a little weird and I began to obsess about it, to obsess about him.

Whenever he emerged from the entrance doors I watched him from my window and, even from where I stood inside my flat, looking out through the glass I could see quite clearly that his clothes were old and worn, the collars frayed and the colours faded. I looked down at myself and my own clothes, although hardly new, were still in good condition. I was pleased by this not because I felt superior, or in any way better than him, but it was something that was different and it seemed important.

I decided to follow him. I would like to pretend that this decision had been spontaneous, something I had decided off the cuff. But the truth is I deliberated long and hard about it and I was all too aware that by following him I was acting irrationally.

At the end of our close he turned left and I knew instinctively that he was heading into town. I was glad about this. It would be busy and in the hustle and bustle I would be able to get close although I had no idea what I expected to discover. His clothes were older than mine, he had been wearing them for longer but there had to be more, something else that would set us apart.
As I walked behind him I studied his trainers. I had a pair like them at home. Mine, of course, were almost new whilst his were old and scuffed and the soles had worn away to almost nothing.
I resisted the urge to reach out and pull the back of his collar to check the label. In my frustration I began instead to grapple with my own sweater and pulling it up around my head I found myself stuck. Stumbling on the pavement I continued to pull at it and could both hear and feel it coming apart at the seams. But still I wrestled with it and at last I managed to get myself free but my sweater was ruined and in tatters. The man had stopped and was watching me with a perplexed expression on his face. Embarrassed I turned myself around and began to make my way back.

11 thoughts on “THE SEAMS

    1. Thank you. Perhaps I should write a little more although sometimes I think it’s best to leave the reader wondering.

  1. I really like this Mark as it sparks off thoughts of parallel universes colliding. What would happen if we ran into ourselves? Would we be able to reconcile or even recognise the subtle differences? Great piece.

  2. Hi Mark, lovely expression of “what if”, what if we where to meet a future version of ourselves? I quite agree with Chris in regard to the idea of parallel universes, while I find it a bit unnerving and fascinating at the same time. As a side note, the other day I was fortune enough to participate in a lengthy discussion about the Mandela Effect. We were able to cite examples of words that had changed (maybe they never changed – different timeline). We were quite sure of the spelling we learned which is now, presently, today, different than it was (not a new adaptation). More unexplainable, my very old dictionaries somehow have the incorrect spelling now too. Odd. Quite odd. Thank you for this reminder of the possibilities that are out there and how fragile our reality is. Wishing you and yours well. ~ Mia

    1. Thank you, Mia for such a thoughtful and thought provoking comment. It’s like time travel isn’t it? How much language has changed and is constantly changing.

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