I always saw him in my dreams. We met in a thinly wooded forest with a smoldering red sky. Why, I don’t know. But he was always there.
He looked just like me. His face was the same, perhaps a little less smooth, and his eyes were the same soft cobalt. He had the firmer features of a man, but his body was smooth and soft, with my hips and posture. He looked so much like me.
He was me. He had to be me.
When I changed my look, so did he. When I wore thick eye makeup and dressed punk, so did he. When I grew my hair long, he did the same. Every time we met, we looked a little more alike. He was a man, but he was also me.
I coveted him. Each time we met, I wanted to walk closer. Yet, he avoided me. Our presence must have tormented the other – he moved back as I approached, and eventually disappeared into the reddened forest. When I woke, my chest ached with dull envy.
I didn’t want to be me. I wanted to be him.
One night, he didn’t flee. I walked cautiously towards him, arms outstretched in a gesture of peace. I didn’t want war with him. I hoped he felt the same. I hoped our mutual curiosity would overwhelm the equally mutual resentment. I’d always sensed it in him. I could see it in his eyes. He wanted to be me, just like I wanted to be him. We couldn’t both have our way.
He reached out to me. We grasped each other’s hands. I looked down to see his thin fingers, masculine yet distinctly mine. His tight grip coaxed me to squeeze.
We looked at each other. Finally, we were close.
“What can I do to make you go away forever?”