Sunday and Monday

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I have begun appearing in other places again. On Monday, some children from school said they saw me the day before at the little lower-level bookstore on Montague. They told me I was wearing my puffy orange down jacket and that I was with Nouel, the French teacher who never speaks to me. They said I looked happy. After they told me that I remembered that when I came down my steps on Sunday, I saw a flash of orange as someone rounded the corner and went over toward Montague. I didn’t recognize myself.

I have begun appearing in other places again. On Monday, some children from school said they had seen me the day before walking west toward the promenade wearing a red and black lumberjack shirt. I didn’t notice them and I looked like I was in a hurry, they said. Then I remembered that on Sunday, before I turned the corner toward Montague, heading toward the bookstore, I looked back and saw someone coming down the steps of my building wearing a lumberjack shirt. He turned away, walking in the other direction. I didn’t recognize myself.

Appearing in other places usually happens when I’m feeling depressed or when I’m in the throes of indecision. I imagine my bifurcation is a kind of diffraction, like through a doorway as a slit. Of course, the wavelength of a body is too short, but what is the wavelength of a thought? And who’s observing?

Appearing in other places usually occurs when I’m feeling elated or have had some minor epiphany. I imagine my bifurcation is a kind of diffraction like through a doorway as a slit. Of course, the wavelength of a body is too short, but what is the wavelength of a soul? And who’s observing?

On Sunday, I was feeling tense and gloomy and went for a walk on the promenade, hoping the outdoor walk would clear my thinking. I expected it would be chilly and wore my heavy wool shirt. I brooded about Nouel. I don’t know whether I have offended her in some way or whether she’s just not interested. It was windy on the promenade and the walkers and runners were fewer than usual. It began to rain, and I thought I saw Nouel in the distance, hurrying away while struggling with her umbrella. I headed back toward my apartment on Hicks Street. I tried not to think about the coming week.

On Sunday, I walked down Montague toward the lower-level bookstore, and I was excited to run into Nouel. After we browsed through the table of owner-recommended books, she invited me to join her for coffee. We sat outdoors in the bright sunshine at a little iron table. The down jacket was too warm, so I hung it on the back of my chair. Later I asked Nouel if she would like to go out to dinner sometime and she said she would and suggested Friday. I walked back to my apartment looking forward to the coming week.

When I got into my apartment, I hung my wet wool jacket next to my old orange down jacket and made some coffee. I sorted out the mail from Saturday.

When I got into my apartment, I hung up my old orange down jacket next to my wool lumberjack shirt and was surprised that it seemed damp. Coffee had been made, and It looked like the mail from Saturday had already been sorted.

We looked in the hall mirror and saw two of us—thoughtful, alert, happy, sad, indistinct, and overlapping.

Simultaneously we said, “There are only two possibilities: yes or no. Copenhagen yes, multiverse no? Multiverse yes, Copenhagen no? “

About the Author: 
Mark Schlawin is a middle-school science and math teacher at Princeton Charter School with an undergraduate degree in physics and a masters in operations research. This is his seventh career. Mark does oral storytelling, plays piano, plays tennis, and bicycles.