The Copycat

They say you kill the ones you love. But in my case, I killed the one I hated, and then the one I loved left.

I first saw him at the bus stop one spring morning. Things hadn’t been going well between me and Wendy. We’d argued again the night before over trivialities neither could recall. The bus pulls up and in a glint of morning sun, I see his face smirking back at me.

And soon, I would catch his mocking glances out of the corner of my eye in different places. I’d wait in line in a kebab shop late at night, and he’d be sniggering from the street; some evenings I’d be working late and I’d see him smirking in through the office window. We were at a bar for Wendy’s birthday in September. The resentment had been simmering between us for a season, and we hoped a celebratory drink would cool it. I was resting against the bar when I see him reflected back between the bottles of spirits, chatting and flirting with Wendy, she’s laughing and touching his arm — she denied it of course. I would see him more and more from the corner of my eye, just watching and smirking. But every time I went to confront him he would disappear.

And then in the new year the unimaginable happened. This unnamed interloper who had silently stalked me for months had imposed himself completely. I don’t know how long they’d been seeing each other.

Things were a bit of a blur that night. I came home late, perhaps it was past one, I don’t remember. I’d been at a bar, had cast my sorrows into a bottle of scotch and was hopeful we could make it up. That the new year could bring a new start. And there they were, together in bed!

I remember walking in and seeing them both naked beneath our covers! Suddenly Wendy’s whimpering, gathering the sheets around her. Please! Please! She begs Stop it! He tells Wendy to run, to call the police. Who’s smirking now! I drag him from the bed, I pound his head against the dresser. Be a man! Come on! I hit him, again and again. But he does nothing, just smirks and takes it. His nakedness reflected back from the mirror repulses me, guides me, gives me strength. Even with the blood dripping from his face he still smirks back.

I tripped and fell. That’s what we tell the hospital. An unlikely story, but they don’t ask questions. Wendy cries. The image still fresh as the nurse removes each tiny, glistening splinter from my broken, bleeding fist — sobbing on my hands and knees, I’d pounded the mirror, again and again; I looked down at the shards of glass as blood ran across my smirking face reflected back.

I never saw him again after that. And after that Wendy left. I reminded her what happened. That she was the one who cheated. But she doesn’t listen. Tells me I need help. Doesn’t want to see me again.

The house was empty after she left so I took in a lodger. But he doesn’t say anything. Most evenings he just sits and stares at me; I look into his copycat eyes full of sadness and feel like weeping, but I don’t know how.

© 2016 Occasional Dreams
In response to daily prompt: Copycat
Image: If only you knew by roujo / CC BY

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