At The Corner Of 5th And Welson

I once met myself, at the corner of 5th and Welson. It sounds hard to believe, but I did. I was on my way to work when I saw him running towards me. You could imagine my surprise; I knew it was impossible. But there he was.. or is it there I was? Anyway, this someone who looked exactly like me was there across the street from me, and he was wearing the same clothes that I had on. He was in a hurry, I think, because I could see that he was gradually sprinting towards me. And he was angry, I think, judging by that scowl he had on his face.

It was the last thing I saw before his fist hit me squarely on the jaw.

Losing my balance, I fell down on the cemented pavement. My mind was still dizzy from trying to grasp the reality of this impossible encounter, but there I was trying to figure out more unanswered questions. What did I do wrong? Who the hell is this guy? Why does he look like me? And why is he beating me up?

It’s funny how I was still able to think something along the lines of Wow, I know how to fight. So was this person some version of me from an alternate reality? A brawler type me, born and raised in some rough environment? Or was he from a future where I learned how to fight like a raving wolverine? I had no answer to all these questions. All I could register at that time was the ringing sensation in my ears, the splitting sensation in my brain, and the droplets of what seemed like blood which I knew could only belong to me. And the rage. There was no doubt that whoever this version of me was, he was very, very angry, and he was directing all of it towards me. Between the punches and the kicks, and the shouts of carefully worded expletives, I asked myself, What could have I done that would merit this much.. hate?

I find myself desperately gasping for oxygen, as his shoe hits me across the stomach with so much force.

When he was finished, he just muttered these three words to me, before walking away:

“Skinny, spineless punk.”

Upon hearing those words, it was as if I knew the answer. Not just to my last question, but to all of them. It had been staring at me in the face all this time.

I curled myself up, and silently wept.

-Ed. E.


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