‘See, I told you, Mom,” the young man said as he held his mother by the arm and turned her around in my direction, not two feet from me and uncomfortably teetering on the cusp of my personal space. It only took a second for me to realize they meant no harm, their big grins signifying, to me, at least, that they were harmless enough.
“She looks just like her, doesn’t she?”
The mama gave me a good once over, hovering a second or two longer on my eyes, then shook her head slowly in agreement. “It’s quite uncanny,” she said, still staring intently. “She looks dang near just like her.”
I laughed nervously and said the only thing one could possibly say in a situation like this.
“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” I asked. Then I laughed nervously. How was I to know if they thought I looked just like their beautiful next door neighbor who flew off to become a famous supermodel, or that I resembled poor but nice old aunt Frances who joined the travelling circus as the donkey lady. It could happen.
“You look a lot like this girl we knew where we used to live,” the mama said. “She was very nice. You two could be twins.” And her son shook his head and said, “Yeah, you could,” so I guess that sealed the deal. We could be twins. A few seconds and another nervous laugh later they stopped staring and went on their way, and I was left thinking that, although I was glad my anonymous twin was nice, they never actually said that she wasn’t a donkey lady.
I saw my husband’s semi-twin waiting outside the bathroom at Target recently. I say semi-twin because he only looked like him from the back. Same height. Same green shorts. Same black tennis shoes. Even looked like the same red hat. I walked up behind him and came dangerously close to within a few feet and shouting, “Boo!” when he turned ever so slightly to the side and I realized it wasn’t my husband at all. I got so startled I darted into the bathroom and dang near ran into a girl drying her hands by the sink who, as fate would have it, looked remarkably like Beyonce.
“Has anyone ever told you that you look a lot like Beyonce?” I asked her as I gathered my faculties. She laughed, looked at herself in the mirror, and started fluffing her hair with her fingers.
“Why, yes. As a matter of fact, they have,” she said. Then she left.
I wonder if it really was Beyonce. Right there. In Target.
It could happen.
About six months ago, maybe longer, I was waiting to pick up a pizza when a woman waiting near me asked if I was coming to the baby shower. I’d never seen her before in my life. Or, had I? Now, I’ve never been that terribly great with faces so it’s quite possible I knew her and didn’t remember, but I really, really thought I didn’t. But just in case ...
“I’m not sure,” I said. But I said it more like a question, “I’m not sure?”
“Stephanie’s ankles have gotten so big,” she went on to say, and that’s when I knew for sure that I didn’t know this person because I didn’t know a pregnant Stephanie or how big her ankles had gotten. Apparently, she’d mistaken me for somebody else.
“I’m so sorry,” I finally said. “I think you have me confused with someone else.”
She looked at me. Then looked a little harder.
“You’re not Krista? No! You’re not Krista!” she exclaimed. “I am so embarrassed, but I have to say you look so much like her! It’s uncanny!”
I laughed. She laughed. We both laughed. Then I said the only thing one could possibly say in a situation like this.
“Is that a good thing or a bad thing?” I asked, still laughing. She smiled, and I just knew it was going to be good ...
“Oh, she’s very nice,” she said.
Dang it. Oh, well, maybe I can join the circus.
Contact columnist Mandy Flynn at firstname.lastname@example.org.