Her/Me – Kristy Crabtree

Another me showed up at the house today. Same hair, just a little grayer. Same smile, a little biased toward the left. Same scar on her forehead from that time with the dancing when we were six. Definitely her/me.

“What are you doing here,” I demanded answers.

Her hand separated from her body to shake mine. “I’ve been here before,” she explained.

“Whatever your reason,” I tried to shoo her off. “There can’t be two of us.”

“I didn’t appreciate it then,” she replied, ignoring my wishes. Kept her eyes trained on the window, on my daughter outside picking up rocks in search of bugs below. “I’d do better here now,” she said.

I didn’t like the implication in her voice. Hadn’t she had her time?

I offered her a tour of our home. She described the memories before I opened every door. The bathroom where Callie proposed. We were halfway through a mad dash to grout the tiles around the tub, and she pulled out a ring. I’d forgotten about that. The bedroom where I laid on the floor next to the crib, one hand through the slats on the baby’s back to make sure she could sleep. That too, somehow slipped my mind. The kitchen table where we stacked mandarins with toothpicks in between to make a tower on a cold and rainy afternoon. How it’d all come crashing down; forcing us to eat all the damaged oranges that day. The last one, I didn’t say out loud, had also been omitted from what I could easily recall.

I had no choice.

While she drudged up memories from every nook of our house, I showed her one last place. The hall closet that she’d likely forgotten. A dumping ground for jackets of seasons past, shoes too big, too small and too yellow. She stepped inside, touching each article with her spindly, wrinkled fingers. A smile as each one passed her fingertips.

I shut the door. Turned the lock to its side. Told my family about the dangerous visitor. “We have to protect ourselves from the stranger,” I pleaded to them.

They told me they wanted to meet her.

I knew they’d like her more, so I threw the key in a drawer with the half-finished ChapStick, the tube of dried super glue, and the pens with various states of ink.

All the misplaced items together, maybe findable if you really need them, but just as easily forgotten.

Kristy Crabtree

Kristy Crabtree (she/her) is a writer hailing from the Pacific Northwest. Her work has been published in The Riveter and The Intelligent Optimist, as well as several academic publications and newspapers. Find her on twitter @kristycrabtree, on insta @girlgetsbook, or https://crabtreewrites.wordpress.com

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