THE OTHER ME
THIRTEEN HAUNTS OF HALLOWEEN
dr. jekyl & mr. hyde: Dr. Henry Jekyll and his alternative personality, Mr. Edward Hyde, is a fictional character in Robert Louis Stevenson's 1886 novella Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. He is the title character, but the main protagonist is Gabriel John Utterson; Jekyll feels he is battling between the good and bad within himself, thus leading to the struggle with his alter ego, Hyde. He spends his life trying to repress evil urges that are not fitting for a man of his stature. He develops a serum in an attempt to mask this hidden evil. However, in doing so, Jekyll transforms into Hyde, a hideous creature without compassion or remorse.
There is a picture in the morning paper that I think might be me. It sits above the fold, blurred with motion in the center of its focus, but I think it looks like me. Not the me that awoke stiff-boned and yawning from the folds of fresh white sheets, not the me that poured hot coffee and sat on the front porch waiting for the paperboy in his rickety bike with the squeaky wheels to fling a bundle onto the drive. If it were that me I would not be on my porch because I would be in a cell because I would have been recognized by the corner store clerk who sold me cigarettes last night or by the pubescent boy that flung the morning news behind the back tires of my Buick.
The other me is still at large. A wanted man.
The charge is murder. Actually, the charges - as in, multiple counts, as in, multiple murders, as in, more than one person was killed. I found a spot of red on my gray shirt collar and I think the charges are for me. Not the me sitting at the breakfast nook over half a leftover buttered croissant, but the other me. The wanted me.
I’ve never talked to the other me. I don’t how to ask him what he’s done. But I don’t have to, because I can read about it, because the morning paper is urging citizens to look out for the other me.
The other me is taller. The other me is broader. The other me has a deeper voice and stronger hands and calluses on all his fingers. The other me likes the dark. The other me is short tempered. He lingers at the edges of my consciousness and waits for little grievances to pile up, and when he has to wait too long, he tips the scales himself.
The other me knows that I hate him. I do not need to speak to him to know that he knows this. We understand these things about each other because we live on opposite hemispheres of the same brain and sometimes our wires get crossed. Sometimes he taps into me, or I tap into him, but I have more to hide from him - because I can read about him in the morning paper, but there are no headlines about me.
We can hear each other sometimes, too. I linger at the edge of his mind when he rages and sometimes I catch glimpses of his thoughts. Because I do this, I know that he can, too. And I have talked a great deal lately about how I wish to extract him.
He does not want this. He wants to live.
I cannot blame him. I want to live too. This is why I want to erase him.
Not erase, I suppose. Erasure is permanent, and he exists in print. I will never truly get rid of him., and perhaps this is exactly what he wanted. Perhaps this is why he swells and breaks my bones and tears my skin. Perhaps it’s why he storms into the straights and lets people see him.
Because if he exists to them, he will always exist. And if he always exists, I can never escape.