the twin canoes

Before

8pm. She run to the Waterloo station to catch the train back home after a long day at work. Tired, exhausted, her makeup a smudge sitting on her face. She picked the last snack from her bag and threw the empty plastic bag at the park just before the station entrance. “Tin-tin”: it was not another client email, but a message from her dad asking if their call was still on. She gave it a thought for a second, but then an endless list of tasks pushed the thought at the back of her mind: groceries, cooking, eating, preparing for the stakeholders’ meeting, shower, preparing next day’s meals and ironing the good light blue shirt. “I could possibly call during the weekend. After the morning chores, shopping, lunch with the Smiths (she hated the Smiths) and hairdressers’ appointment. That’s it! Between lunch and hairdressers’, I should have a minute!” That face on the window glass was looking at her tired and wrinkly.

During

She woke up by the sun shining through the open window and a pleasant morning breeze. Since it all changed, she had managed to not need an alarm to wake up, unbelievable! There was definitely enough time for a walk by the canal. It would be a busy day. But it was also a sunny day. The leaves in shades of green, gold, yellow and red – of course! It was already autumn! Some of them peacefully falling on the water. She stopped for a moment to admire the landscape. A man was standing at the other shore fishing. She noticed how meticulously he was unfolding his fishing wire.

“That man” she remembered “was waiting for the busy 08:23 train with me at platform 1, every morning around that time…” She took out of her pocket her mobile phone and captured that moment. “Our lives before, so similar and so different to now. Like non-identical twins!” The wind blew smoothly and the water vibrated making the twin canoe vanish in a moment.

She took the way back. The freshly brewed coffee and toasted bread in the kitchen were waiting for her. Prepared by her partner just in time for the daily breakfast call with parents.

After

The alarm went off at 7am sharp. She knew she was late, perhaps she could skip breakfast? Yes, that was a good idea. She put on some clothes found on the chair, grabbed some coffee, took her bag and left running to the train station. Meeting, project X, client call, project X, meeting, meeting. It would be a busy day and she started making a mental map in her head. She had to be flawless. She took her makeup bag out and started covering the imperfections. He phone rang. It was the parents. “Hey, I’m busy now, call you later!”. She hadn’t spoken with them in quite some time. As soon as the train arrived, she threw the empty bottle of lipstick on the rails -after checking if anyone was watching- and boarded quickly hoping she could find a seat, even if that meant pushing other passengers away. In a moment she thought she saw the man from the canal, or was it his vanished twin? The face on the window glass was laughing at her.

*Mynd taken at Surrey, England, October 2020*

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