The Other Self

Trisha woke up and, like every day, the first thing she did was checking her diary. As always the latest entry was detailed. Even small events of the previous day have been written down in a small neat handwriting. If someone would take a look it probably would appear if Trisha has trouble with her memory. As if she couldn’t remember the day before. Which, incidentally, wasn’t that far off the truth.

Having read the last entry she got up to prepare for the day. A shower was first. Including washing her hair. Normally it would have been due yesterday, but as always the other Trisha has pushed it onto her. Sighing she got to work. In a way, it was only fair. It was her after all who wanted to keep the long hair. Done with her shower she got out and faced her dressers. Time to select the outfit of the day. Everyone around her knew that she had her tomboy moods and her girly girl moods. Of course, for Trisha, it was always was the girly stuff. She picked a light summer dress and headed downstairs.

Her mom was already cooking her favorite for breakfast. French toast. Yesterday it had been a salad. Not that Trisha would have known without her diary. Soon she was done and headed upstairs to put on some light makeup. Sometimes she wanted to go a little heavier, but the other Trisha always argued against it. Consistency kept them out of trouble for the last few years. Trisha remembered too well the many shrinks of her early childhood. It was before she started with her diaries.

The buzzer rang and Trisha quickly scooped up her school books. In seconds she was down the stairs. Opening the door she gave James, her boyfriend, a passionate kiss. She slipped on a pair of sandals with a slight heel. Sometimes she debated with herself to ask the other Trisha to go for a higher heel. But she knew the answer. Consistency. Meaning no.

Hours later she returned home. James had given her a lift. She didn’t mind that he still smelled a little of sweat, as he came from basketball practice. She herself had been occupied by the photographer's Club. She found her mom in the kitchen. Preparing the dinner. As always they shared how their day had been. After dinner, Trisha made her way up to her room. Homework was done quickly. She took more time to write in her diary. Every detail of the day that seemed important was written down. After she was done she joined her mother downstairs to watch one of their favorite shows together.

*****

Sean woke up and like every day the first thing he did was checking his Journal. As always the last entry was detailed. Even small events of the previous day have been written down in a small neat handwriting. If someone would take a look it probably would appear if Sean has trouble with his memory. As if he couldn’t remember the day before. Which, incidentally, wasn’t that far off the truth.

After he had carefully read the last entry he stripped out of his boxers and muscle shirt. The other Sean’s preferred sleeping garments. He sighed. So much for the PJ’s he had recently bought recently. The shower was quick. As always Sean raked through his short hair and wished it was longer. Couldn’t be helped, though. Consistency.

Getting dressed was equally fast. Short cargo pants and a polo shirt. Nothing to fuss about. Downstairs he could smell and hear the bacon and eggs sizzling in the pan before he even entered the kitchen. What landed on his plate was quickly wolfed down. He had witnessed itself so often, still, it always surprised Sean how many carbs his body needed.

After having his fill he walked upstairs to get his backpack with school books and the small sports bag with his basketball outfit. Today wasn’t his team's training day, but Sean and his buddy James liked to spend some time after school on the court anyway.

The doorbell rang. Speaking of the devil. Sean ran downstairs and opened the door. There was a moment when his instincts told him to kiss James. Instead, he gave his best friend a fist bump. Just like every day. Consistency. Couldn’t be helped.

It was late when Sean returned home. As always he was dropped off by James. He knew the other Sean wanted a driving license. He wondered how long he could put it off. After dinner, he did his homework and then some work around the house. The last thing he did was write in his Journal. In great detail, he wrote down every even slightly significant event of the day. Before closing, he judged about how many blank pages were left. Not many. Time to get a new one soon. It was time for bed and he felt a little mischievous. Quickly he dressed in the PJ’s he had recently bought.

*****

When Trisha woke up the first thing she did was checking her diary. There, in neat small handwriting, unfolded the previous day. It looked like she had a date with James on Sunday. He originally wanted to go out on Saturday, but the other Trisha insisted on Sunday. How considerate of her to move it on a day Trisha could enjoy the date. Now Trisha felt bad about the PJ’s. However, one thing made her gasp. Right at the end, there was a sentence she thought she would never read. “If there was a way to end the switching, would you take it?”

She enjoyed a leisurely shower, but she was deeply in thoughts. Later she joined her mother downstairs for breakfast. Granola and yogurt. Not a bad start into the day. Still, her mood was a little down.
Sometimes she wished she could talk with her mother about it, but her past proved that this was a bad idea.

When James showed up she became cheery again. For a moment at least. There was a decision to be made.

In the evening the last thing she added was a “Yes I would.” She had to write it twice as the first sentence was blurred and smeared by her fallen tears.

*****

He woke up naked. The usual when the other Sean wanted to make a point. Boxers and muscle shirt or nothing. Message received. There on the desk was the Journal. Sean read it carefully. It was longer than usual as it contained more than just the last day. There were some confessions about other days. Days when Sean had written wrong details in. About him searching the web and other mediums. There was a ritual. All the details listed. Tomorrow was the day. Sean was sure it was for the best.

The last time he enjoyed the greasy goodness of his mother's cooking. Bumped fists the last time with his homey James. Played the last time with his basketball team. The day went by quickly. Maybe just a little too quick. He was sure this was his last day in this reality.

*****

Trisha woke up with a heavy heart. If this worked she will never again wake up as Sean. Pretty much like every day she performed her morning rituals. Navigated through her day on autopilot.

In the evening was her first break from her usual routine. There was no new diary entry. If this worked there was no need for one. She stepped to the dresser that contained her tomboy clothes. Usually, she didn’t wear those. They were part of the other Trisha. In the bottom drawer, she found the materials her other self had gathered.

After locking her bedroom door she started to draw a circle with white chalk. Sprouting and expanding from that circle were runes, patterns, and figures. Certain materials found spots on certain positions. She looked at the clock when she was done. It was too early. There was still another hour left till midnight. Nervous and on edge she started to pace her room.

Five minutes before midnight she sat down inside of the circle. The strange chant she had to perform came easy over her lips. Even with the words unknown and foreign to her.

The white lines of the circle started to glow and Trisha’s heart leaped seeing it. It was working. The magic was real. Slowly the glow became stronger. Soon shining in a blinding intensity.

When the glow ebbed the circle was floating in a strange darkness. To her surprise, she wasn’t alone. Opposite of her sat someone in the circle.

A face so familiar she knew every detail of it. Half her life she had seen this face in the mirror. Since she was born she had worn this face every other day.

It was her other self. The Sean when she had been Trisha and the Trisha when he had been Sean. She had shared both her lives with this person. Yet never imagined to one day see him or her.

There were so many things she wanted to tell or to ask. But there was no time. The ritual had to be completed. Never would she read the words of her other self. Find a page of journal or diary written not by her. They had weathered so many challenges in their lives. Apart yet always together. Living the same life as a boy and as a girl. Sharing the same mother, but lived in parallel timelines. Each new day switching between those both realities.

No more. With the ritual complete they would be severed forever. She bound to the one reality as Trisha. He bound to the other as Sean. She saw him study her as she studied him. Saw his eyes starting to mist as her own started to grow wet with tears.

She reached out to him and drew him into a hug. Pressed him at herself with all her might. She had been foolish. How could she ever give him up? “I can’t go through with it. Can’t let go of you. I love you.”

Her mind registered the light flaring up again. Heard the cracking as the light broke from the confines of the circle. Saw it as cracks and faults started spider webbing the darkness. She didn’t care for any of it. All that was important was holding on to him.

“I love you too.”

She barely heard him as light swallowed them both.

*****

A ray of sunlight woke her. At once, tears started to flow. It had worked. Despite that, they hadn’t completed the last part of the spell. It was the next day and she was still Trish. It took a while to find the strength to leave the warmth of her bed. To stumble into the shower and mix her tears with the water falling on her head.

When she finally left the shower she found swollen and puffy eyes staring back from her mirror. She wanted this. To see her female reflection for the rest of her life. So absorbed in her wish that she hadn’t seen the price she had to pay. Her other self, it was now Sean. Forever. Outside of her reach for eternity.

She dragged herself out of the bathroom and was startled. Only one dresser. The one with her girly clothes. The one from her other self was missing. Wiped from her existence. There were other details too. His or her touch on their bedroom gone. Not even the diaries remained. It had been their choice. They had to live with it.

Her head hung down she left her bedroom. When she reached the top of her stairs the guest bedrooms door suddenly opened. She knew the face that appeared. Had it seen thousands of times in the mirror.

“Sean!”
She flung herself into his arms. Enjoyed the strong embrace. Smelled his familiar scent. Felt his familiar clothes. Looking over his shoulder she saw the guest bedroom. Filled with the typical stuff a boy would gather. Things she helped to amass.

“I thought I lost you,” he whispered in her ear.

“Me too,” she equally quietly admitted.

“Trisha! Sean! Your breakfast is getting cold!”
The shout belonging to their mother.

Grinning, Trisha grabbed her brother's hand and dragged him to the stairs. Only to stop atop of them.

“Look,” she urged Sean.

Lining the wall were pictures of them. She knew every one of them. Had seen them a thousand times. Either Trisha with their mom or Sean with their mom. Never before had she seen them like this. All three of them together.

Grinning like little kids they made their way downstairs.

“What is up with you two today? And don’t tell me it’s another of your things being twins,” their mother complained half jokingly.

“Nothing. Just a nice Saturday morning,” Sean said with a cat’s grin.

“What he said,” Trisha agreed with an equal smile.

Like many mornings the doorbell rang and Trisha’s heart sped up. She dreaded a little what this new reality might have in store for her.

Of course, it was James. Sweeping her up into his arms and planting a heartfelt kiss lessened her worries. The bro fist with Sean scattered them completely.

This was perfect. Their new merged reality was everything Trisha had ever hoped for. There was a lot she wanted to talk with Sean about. But for now, she chose to simply enjoy the moment.

The end.



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