The Leaves Are Turning Brown – Chapter 9

The last week has gone so quickly, and I’ve been cheerful. I’ve felt engaged with the world and have taken each day as it comes.  My mind has been clear and I’ve made excellent progress on my project at the university.  Each day I’ve cleared a backlog of difficulties that have been holding me up, and I have a new found energy and zeal for the work.  The project fills my mind at every point, and it seems to have had an awesome effect on my nerves.  I’ve felt calm and bright, and the people and cameras watching me have almost completely disappeared from my consciousness.  I remember them, of course.  They’ve been in my mind for so long, they’ll never leave me.

One slightly disconcerting thing that has started happening, is that on several occasions I have seen the glimmer, and as I see it I can definitely make out the shape of another me.  The glimmer happens as I turn a corner, or come out of a door, and it only lasts a glance.  When the glimmer is most stable I see myself, clearly, well defined and sharp as if I was really there. Other times the glimmer is just an odd colour or spectra in the street or room.  I haven’t given it much thought, but at the times I see it, I feel the most calm I can remember. It’s like that shower last Sunday, a refreshing wave of hot water coming down over me.

I’m down in the lab and just finishing up for the day.  The work I’m doing needs to be setup for a weekend run, and I don’t want to find it failed 5 minutes after I leave when I come in on Monday morning.  I submit the jobs to the queue, check my code base and close the lid on my laptop.  As I turn to leave I see the glimmer, so clear and sharp.  I see myself walking out the door, rucksack over my shoulder, and them I’m gone.  In a moment I grab my bag and walk out, just as I saw happen a moment ago.  I walk down the corridor to the stairs and up to street level, but the glimmer is gone. This is the first time I’ve tried to follow it, and just like all the other times, it is gone before I can catch it.

I worry on the way home, my anxiety is gone but in its place there is this new effect.  It must be an illusion, or delusion.  I haven’t been able to interact with it, but I feel like I should be able to. When it happens I feel it. When I see myself walking I can almost feel the breeze past my face, even though I am standing still.  It’s an odd feeling, but different to an out of body experience.  I am connected to both me’s at once.

I shake off the feeling as I walk down the street, and pass it off internally as a byproduct of the happiness I’ve felt all week.  We haven’t seen each other again, but Jules has been on my mind all week.  We’ve been texting intermittently, mainly making plans for tonight, but also piecing together more parts of last Saturday, our mutual amnesia bringing more hilarity.  My credit card bore most of the damage, but I also have an amazing bruise on my left buttock.  Jules has a bruise on both elbows, and the consensus is that I lifted her and fell backwards. I just hope we weren’t trying anything from the Dirty Dancing playbook, but my suspicions tell me otherwise.  Either way, tonight should be slightly less adventurous.  We are starting with dinner in town, and then heading to a pub near her house.

I’m on time, but walking fast, as I usually do.  If only there was a fast lane on the pavements around universities, I could move at my pace freely, without stomping and veering around the general undergraduate sloths.

The restaurant looks good from the outside, just the right balance of plenty of space and good medium-level lighting.  I can see Jules sitting at a table looking over the menu so I start to walk over.  She looks up and sees me, smiles, and I do a silly little half-hearted wave, which probably looks more like a twitch than a greeting. I sit down opposite and we start talking.