Allan Carter remembered sitting in his lounge trying to determine what he felt like doing that time long ago. It had been a hard day at work working on the construction project.
Usually, the guys who worked with him were a cheerful lot and humour flowed through the day as they toiled to get another home ready for the deadline. The construction company they worked for always had them under pressure as time was money to them and it was necessary to keep a high level of homes completed and handed over to the new owners for money to flow into the coffers pay workers and satisfy shareholders. But this day had been different, and the workers had been in bad humour. Temperatures had soared above 100 degrees and even the usually jovial Allan had been impatient in his interface with the rest of the workers. He felt sorry for that as they were a great lot to work with.
So, he was glad to be home. He missed Claudia. They’d been an item for two years, but she grew impatient with the long hours he spent on each job and even more impatient he’d not asked to marry her. They’d known each other from high school days. In those days he’d had all the time in the world for her and at the end of high school asked her if she’d wait for him while he went through his apprenticeship for a trade and worked for a while to build up finances before they could set up home together.
Those two years had been a test she couldn’t handle. She was taking college classes with a goal to be a teacher someday so hers was a busy program too but while she tried to keep the spark going through emails and messaging Allan was a poor communicator. Eventually she’d given up on him and succumbed to the charms of one of the many who pursued her in her college years. In many ways he’d reminded her of Allan.
Allan missed her communications and memories of their long romance during high school years. He was resentful. From his point of view, she could have waited while he got established enough to save a deposit on a home and enough cash to start married life together. He somehow couldn’t grasp the fact all the communication had been one sided for the past two years.
His rental room was on a property on the outskirts of town with a wonderful view over farmlands. It was a view he treasured as the sun rose to bathe the property in early morning grandeur when he prepared for work, and he returned evening as the sun was setting. His motorcycle made the trip to each new site where they worked daily. The unions were firm on the number of hours they should all be expected to work each scheduled working week but because of urgency to build and deliver on a pressure cooker schedule the company enticed their workers to unscheduled work on weekends with big payouts and perks like free meals and with cash exchanged under the table unions looked the other way knowing their members were happy with the backdoor arrangement.
So, with that kind of work scheduling there’d been no time for Claudia, but Allan blamed her anyway for not waiting.
He was bone tired as usual and was about to turn on the TV to surf for a program to relax when he remembered that usually put him to sleep sometimes waking in the middle of the night sitting on the couch uncomfortable. He would not be caught this evening and headed for the shower instead remembering the excellent meal he’d enjoyed at Taco Bell on the way home. Then when he’d luxuriated in the shower for a while, he emerged relaxed from the warmth of that shower and wide awake. He thought of all those good years with Claudia.
He went to his desk and opened the laptop searching vainly for a message from her. These had ceased long ago when he was too tired to reply. There was the usual message from his adoptive parents. They’d not given up on him even though he rarely responded. It was only after high school years he’d realized he was adopted at birth, and he occasionally phoned his adoptive parents to assure them he was well and still employed. That was another thing he was resentful about. Who were his real parents and why had they abandoned him? Perhaps it was this thought that made him so restless since that discovery. Perhaps it was the reason Claudia too had abandoned him when he’d told her he was adopted? Maybe he was just not likeable but the guys at work didn’t seem to think so as they were very accepting. It was all very confusing to him.
Nothing in the messaging aps. Then on impulse he decided to look on Claudia’s Facebook page. Claudia always uploaded group pictures on her page with notes on classes she enjoyed and parties she went to and friends she enjoyed outings with. Most were girls and some of them he’d known from high school days. He gasped in surprise as he opened her page. It was a picture of Claudia and him at a recent party. That was impossible! Had she photoshopped him in to tease him? He studied the picture carefully. It really was a mirror image of him, and his heart raced wondering if he was losing his mind.
Allan spent the night on the couch staring into space. Should he see a doctor? In the morning he called in sick.
He made the journey on his motorcycle to the city where Claudia attended college and mingled with students searching all day until he saw her emerge from one of the classes arm in arm with a stranger. He pressed through the milling crowd to get closer without being seen and saw himself again. He groaned in agony of spirit. He was losing his mind. Claudia and this apparition separated, and he followed the apparition toward the entrance of the college grounds. The apparition got into a sports car and Allan raced to his motorcycle also parked in the parking lot. He quickly fell in behind the sports car at a distance and followed into town. The car parked in front of a mall and Allan parked quickly watching.
The apparition locked its car and headed for the mall entrance. Allan followed. His mind was in turmoil watching himself go from shop to shop and he decided it was time to solve this problem and free his tortured mind. As the apparition walked out of a shop he came face to face with Allan and gasped in surprise standing with mouth gaping. The apparition shook its head and spoke.
“This is uncanny, I feel like I’m looking at myself! Who are you?”
Allan relaxed his mind was not broken for the apparition spoke. He replied. “I’ve been following you trying to make up my mind if I need a psychiatrist as I thought I’d lost my mind.” It now seemed so silly, so he laughed in embarrassment. “It’s like looking in a mirror, can we talk?”
The ex-apparition extended a shaking hand. “I’d like that. It almost seems like we are identical twins.”
So, the two found a café and over a few drinks shared their stories studying each other carefully as they did. The ex-apparition had a name and that was Bruce Shepparton. In conversation it came out he’d been adopted since he was a baby and had only recently been able to trace his real parents after many years fighting bureaucracy only to be rebuffed but he’d persevered and found who his real mother was. Unfortunately, his mother had died so it was impossible to meet her, and his father had ignored tentative requests for a meeting. Bruce paused as he remembered another part of the history he’d discovered. He’d been one of identical twins separated in adoption. Tears formed in his eyes as he looked across the table at himself.
“Allan, I think it was meant we meet today. I remember in researching my birth parents I was one of twins and we were separated in adoption. I feel cheated not being able to meet my birth parents but by some miracle I wonder if I’ve met that identical twin separated from me at birth?” The tears became sobs.
Allan barely hoped this would account for the restlessness he’d felt since learning he was adopted. Something inside him knew there was a part of him missing he needed to find some day. “We need to take a DNA test as I feel we have been reunited, but that needs to be confirmed. Can we keep in touch and meet again?” He didn’t mention Claudia or his chance encounter with his twin through the internet.
But eventually the Claudia connection had to be revealed and one day Claudia appeared at the restaurant for a date with her Bruce who by now had been told of the mutual connection with Claudia and wanted to share that news with his love but do it as a surprise. The waiter guided her to the table reserved. There were two identical faces turning to greet her as she approached. Claudia screamed and fled the café to the consternation of waiter and assembled diners interrupting their meal to gape. Bruce shook his head in frustration. He’d not handled this surprise as carefully as he should have. He phoned Claudia to explain the situation and she unloaded on him in anger. Their relationship at college came to an abrupt end.
The DNA tests came back positive, and the two men established a lasting brotherhood of a family resurrected. Bruce graduated from his teaching course and Allan moved on to higher positions in the construction industry. With restlessness gone Allan made a more determined effort to keep in touch with the family who’d raised him and even sent an apology for his former lack of communication which had greatly disappointed Claudia and facilitated her interest in Bruce. He realized his similarity with his brother could have been the catalyst to that interest and marvelled she’d not thought to question that. But seeing them both together at that restaurant had been a shock to her. She didn’t respond to his apology.
Eventually the two brothers found themselves living in the same city and they spent much of their recreational times together discovering a common interest in sports. People marvelled at their identical looks. Bruce one day told his brother Allan he’d found a woman who excited his interest and he’d invited her to a date. There was a problem. The woman had a sister it seemed who was visiting from another city and would only be there a couple of days. Could she come along? So, Bruce phoned his brother Allan. Would he be prepared to double date as Bruce really wanted to get to know this wonderful woman, he’d met in the teaching staff better. He needed his brother’s help. Allan agreed.
That evening Bruce took his car and his brother to pick up their dates at the young lady’s rented apartment. Bruce gasped and Allan stood in amazement as they opened the doors to the car seating their dates for the evening. The beautiful women were identical twins!
Two years later two identical twin brothers stood looking down the aisle dressed alike as two identical women in identical bridal finery prepared to march down the aisle arm in arm with their father to meet their future husbands.
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