Michael

Emily walked out of the bakery with the fresh baguette for dinner and carried the bag along with the others from the market. She was cooking dinner for her new boyfriend tonight and wanted everything just right. She smiled thinking of Zac. After the death of her boyfriend, it had taken her a long time to come out of her self-imposed exile and re-enter the land of the living. Zac had been patient and allowed her to reach this level of intimacy on her own terms. It was something she not only appreciated but adored about him.

As she turned the corner at 45th Street her breath caught in her throat. It was Michael. Standing on the corner, as if nothing had happened. But Michael was dead. Her heart began to beat rapidly. The bags she held fell to the ground. The world spun out of focus except for the man on the corner. Michael. She screamed his name but he didn’t turn, then she realized it had only been in her imagination. The crosswalk sign turned green and he began to move forward. She didn’t want to lose him. She lurched forward awkwardly, pushing the strangers around her with no more than a weak “sorry”. When she reached him, her heart was pounding so hard she could hear the beats in her head, she thought everyone around her could hear them as well. She touched him on the shoulder, “Michael?”, afraid of the answer.

He turned, confused at first. His eyes were identical in feature, but lacked the spirit of Michael’s. She knew and her heart fell. It was eerie how much he looked like Michael. But it wasn’t her love. “I’m sorry, I’m not Michael. He was my brother. Did you know him?” Emily wanted to cry. She wanted to scream, to ask Michael why. Why didn’t you tell me you had a brother? But it didn’t matter now. Really, did it matter?

“No, I’m sorry. I must have mistaken you for someone else. I’m sorry.” It was easier this way. For both of them. She retreated without taking her eyes off him. He looked so much like Michael.

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