Writers (in order): LaVie Saad, J.R. Mendola, Kelly Ding, Emily Jewel, Langston Wu, Alyssa Atienza, E. Zhou, Aiden Dirkx, Annalise Joseph, Gray, Meithepoet, Mariarosa Cerritos, M.S., Crystal Tse, juliana, Jason Oliviera, Masca Knight, cindy, Joshua England-Rocca, Chloe Allis, S. Kim, Bindu Devkota
Editor: Irene Tsen
It appears that there’s a doppelgänger on the loose. And apparently, it belongs to me.
The week has been a particularly difficult one, and by the time Friday night rolls around, I want nothing more than to curl up on the couch and zone out. The former option matches my current predicament. The latter? Not so much. Among other thoughts, my mind rewinds to the moment in my Intro to Art class—that I’m taking for fun—Ms.Smith handed back my paper with a bold, red “F” in the right corner. On my self-portrait. Sure, the nose seemed just the slightest bit wonky, and maybe the arched left eyebrow above a scrutinizing eye wasn’t artistically appreciated, but I didn’t think it looked that bad. I try complaining to one of my only friends, Steven, about how I really didn’t think I deserved an F. A C maybe, but not an F. Steven isn’t having any of my whiny bullshit, and he insists I meet him at karaoke night at Bar 57.
“Jilly, it’s bananas here right now. Come. Out. I won’t take no for an answ—Hey, wait, you’re already here?”
“What are you talking about? I’m home. And I’m not planning on leaving.”
“Don’t mess with me, Jilly. I see you—do you see me waving, blue shirt, white collar? What the hell, what’s with the face you’re making?”
“I don’t know what you’re on, Steve, but I’m home now, I’m staying home, and that’s the end of it.”
“I’m headed your way… wait, why aren’t you on your phone?” The call disconnects. And so I shrug it off. Steven is always pulling weird “pranks,” and when he gets drunk they always get worse, so I figure that’s all that it is.
That is, until a few hours later, when I receive a knock at my door. I groan at the unwelcome noise and potential company but eventually drag myself off the couch to go see who it is. To my surprise, it is me. Or, well, almost me. She is off somehow. Prettier. Taller. More confident with how she holds herself. Before I can even register what all this means, I find her yelling in my face. “You! Who on earth are you, going around being me?!”
Although our similarities are stunning, I really do not want to deal with her. “Sorry, I’m being me and you are being you. Goodbye.” The door shuts, but the girl follows up with another series of thumps on the door. Light illuminates the house once again.
“You’re really going to ignore me like that?! I can’t believe you have the nerve to slam the door on me, let alone ruin my reputation. I can’t believe you’re friends with that Steve guy. Blegh.” Even her gagging face looks like mine. “Care to explain yourself?”
“I have nothing to explain, but if I were you, I would be wary.” Before I can block her with the door again, she strikes the wooden entryway, hard.
“Why on earth would I be scared of a moron like you? Tell me!”
Welp, no time like the present, I guess. “Because I am you. Or if I’m being precise here, I’m the ugly version of you, something of your own making. And now you expect me to vanish into thin air? Unfortunately, that’s not how this works.”
She stands there, jaw agape and eyes practically bulging out of her head.
“Standing there like that, you’d think I’m the pretty one and you’re the ugly one,” I say, my expression transitioning from annoyance to amusement.
“What are you talking about?” she asks. “You’re being creepy.”
“Do you recall getting an F on a self-portrait you drew in an art class?” I ask, leaning against the door frame and picking at my nails. She looks up and seems to be digging through her memories when she practically lights up and snaps her fingers.