We're the same, you and I. But we live in different worlds. One time too many do I mistake the movement behind me as my shadow, but I know the strings of puppetry that light possesses, that they cannot attach themselves to you. Back turned, I know you watch me. You are the fractured reciprocal of me. Your dimensions do not bend and curl but stand rigid and tall glaring into the eyes I have yet to claim as my own.[G1] [G2]
I have been adjusted to sharing for eighteen years, but with the disintegration of time I question the value of the act. Without choice, we must give life to this other part of us. Society issues the terms and conditions and we follow through accordingly. We assure they look a certain way, brush their hair, help their chest rise and fall but give them no pulse. We take them to different corners of the world, swim with them in cultured waters, help them see life in colour but give them no brush to paint with. We feed them, nourish their cells, teach them how to stand poised and strong but give them no voice. They are merely clones of consequences without being able to create consequences of their own.[G3]
However, their distance brews their malice. In their existence, they surrender autonomy. What we classify as adjustment to sharing they classify as a tolerant caring but you can notice tolerance wearing thin when you receive a snarl in return for a smile. They are pages of comprehension which we must fill with the vocabulary of the dictionaries they do not read and pages they do not flip. Although they are not shadows - puppets to light, they are puppets of our might. We lock them in taxis and wave goodbye to the glass, eager to cut the burden. We drown them in the lakes we peer into. We capture them in darkness when screens fade to black. They follow us out of loneliness but every step they copy of ours is another closer to finding their own path. Even manipulation has its limit.[G4] [G5]
So, with time, they wrinkle. They deteriorate as venom collects in their cells and burns their insides. In an age where almost everything can be bought and sold, the only personal thing we have left is the signature at the bottom of a cheque and the weathered clone staring back at us. They are a reminder of all we have done and an indicator of all of the time we have yet to do things in. We try to morph them into something they are not but paint will eventually chip. There is nothing wrong with leaving things just as they are, for even the cleanest things have wrinkles.[G6]
I should have trusted the ice of your touch.
You told me it would be cold in the end but I wrapped myself in the belief that I had control over you and that brought me warmth.
Your haunting figure follows me even when I choose not to see it. When my head hits the pillow, I know you do not copy. I live in fear that one day you will escape the life I have trapped you in and I will no longer know what my life looks like. Accustomed with the [G7] physicality of living I will have nothing left. Never will I understand the merit of what it is to feel. I will travel the world without you and forget where I am going because you were always there to remind me of my existence. In an age where almost everything can be bought and sold, I will spend countless days and nights searching for you in markets across the whole globe in every reflective surface. For eighteen years, I have been adjusted to sharing but it was in fact you who counted those years for me. Without you I am just another rush of the wind that makes people shiver and return to the safety of their homes.[G8] [G9]
You tricked me into making me believe that I had control but in fact you were the one calling the shots. You had the power to dictate what was ugly in this world and convinced me it was written in stone.
Two weeks have passed since I have turned the lights on in my house. You toy with my mind but I can toy with your existence. I force you out of my mind just as you forced me out of my sanity. I’ve made friends with the shadows of the darkness for their forms dance with the grace that you never had. Coiled in clean linen and dusty candlelight I watch my shadow but on a night so still and the wind so far away it could not have been more active. I pull my knees away from my chest and rise from the spot in the centre of my room where I have sat so many nights staring at a blank wall in a blind effort to look for something more without any idea of what I was searching for. I stand and my shadow stands with me. I raise my hand to it and it waves. My heart begins to race. You have found me. The further away I walk from you the further you creep up the wall and tower above me. There is no escape as I back up against the wall next to my mirror. I reach for the light switch to capture you in the glass but you jumped out of the wall so quickly and ran towards me that you beat me at my own game.
I know what you’re doing by making me write this letter. You’re teaching me a lesson. You pushed me into your world and subjected me to manipulation just as I have done to you for the entirety of my existence. You are the one with the pulse now. You are the one with the painter’s brush. I am nothing. You made me nothing. I am a clone and now I understand why people buy mirrors. In a world where almost everything can be bought and sold you cannot buy the feeling of what it is to be whole - so you buy a half of you and search in their reflection what you know you cannot find in yourself.
By Ilina Gyurovska
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