She is here, my doppelgänger, and already more of a person than I am. And I? I am fading, fraying, graying, not yet gone but leaving quickly. To where? I can't tell. That would require definition.
"You shouldn't be afraid," she says, pulling a cigarette from a gold case in her purse. She offers me the smoke and waits for the briefest of moments before placing it between her own lips.
"Your loss," she shrugs, before taking a deep, long drag. Unfiltered. I turn away, feeling a phantom twinge of nostalgia in my undefined lungs, and I sense her eyes on me. She's playing -- she knows I've no taste for it anymore.
We exhale simultaneously, and the smoke hangs between us. Did some of that come from me?
"I was saying, you shouldn't be afraid. Letting go is not the end. It's becoming."
You don't understand, I want to say. I don't want to be you again, or never, or before. You're what I wanted to be, once, but now I want to be me. But it's too late. I haven't the strength, nor have I been able to speak for a very long time, now. I can only stare back at this, my past, my future.
She looks back through golden coils, like the signets scattered before Carthage -- a harbinger of doom.
I think, would it really be so bad?
And I know: one snip, one slip, and I unravel. The end.
I turn away once more, trying to ignore the weight of years of want. The sky is dark through the glass, deep and wet. A lost day, a day between days.