The last time she saw Morris, two fingers protruded from the back of his head, beckoning her to follow. Allison nearly did, too. Her knees locked tight as she stepped off the curb. For some reason she would not pretend to understand, Allison could never tolerate—let alone obey—the two-finger beckon.

Morris’s departing figure was perfectly lit by the stoplight, outlining his square body in green, then yellow, then red. Rain drizzled in a mist, forming glossy spots on his perfectly tailored coat, yet he held his umbrella closed firmly in his left hand; a briefcase clasped with a symmetrical, military precision in his right. Everything Allison knew he had was stored in that briefcase. Everything that was Morris was making its way across the intersection away from her, passing from her life. Yet, still, the fingers—so inviting, so intolerable.
. Rain drizzled in a mist, forming glossy spots on his perfectly tailored coat, yet he held his umbrella closed firmly in his left hand; a briefcase clasped with a symmetrical, military precision in his right. Everything Allison knew he had was stored in that briefcase. Everything that was Morris was making its way across the intersection away from her, passing from her life. Yet, still, the fingers—so inviting, so intolerable.

Either Morris took naturally small steps or he took deliberately small steps, as it seemed to Allison that he should have passed through the intersection whole minutes before he did. Yet all she could do was bear witness to every little step, her mouth agape, head cocked, eyes wide, brow furrowed, shoulders shivering.

Two things confused her, keeping her petrified: First, why this aversion to the two-finger beckon? Seriously, who has that hangup? Well, Allison, apparently. And for as long as she could remember, too. Second, Morris had two fingers extended, beckoning from the back of his skull. What was with that?

Finally, Morris accomplished the other side of the intersection. In two too-small steps, his feet passed over the white line of the crosswalk. Allison stood in the center of the street, suddenly secure again to breathe. She heaved a sigh which seemed to her to conjure the large truck that stole across the intent line of vision she held on Morris’s retreat. With its passing, Morris was gone.

In the hours Allison spends squinting at the windows in the office building across the street — the one where she believes her doppelganger works (as a travel agent, she presumes) — she ponders that night, that September. What would have happened had she been able to overcome her repulsion to the two-finger beckon? Had she too achieved the other side of the intersection? Had she offered to carry Morris’s umbrella or his briefcase? Had she stroked the two fingers she had refused? Would her brother have left his wife? Would she have discovered her doppelganger? Would that blouse still have been stained with ketchup? Would her name still be Allison? Would her 10-key skills have slacked off so poorly?

Of course, such thoughts are all for naught. The thought of overcoming her aversion to the two-finger beckon was too fanciful to occupy her mind even in the time spent squinting at the building.

Written in ten minutes. Revised in twenty.

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About John D. Moore

Writer, cartoonist, filmmaker, and student of Japanese language, literature, and cinema at the University of Utah.

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