For a serious chunk of my adult life, I have worked in newsrooms.
In early February, I was hired as an associate producer for a national media company. It also happens to be where my husband Mike worked before he died. I had visited him there many times. My son called it, and still calls it, ‘Daddy’s office.’
Since starting there, I have never questioned my decision. I love it for all the same reasons I loved my former newsroom at The Calgary Herald. I am at home.
My only trepidation? How would I cope with working in the same place as my beloved? How would it be working with Mike’s colleagues?
For the first few weeks, it felt odd. While walking the hallways solo, I’d get an odd feeling, a presence walking with me. OK, to be clear, I’m not talking Poltergeist here.
Instead, competing feelings of discomfort and comfort battled. I have fought back tears and then caught myself smiling, thinking of Mike walking these same hallways.
Turns out, Mike is still walking these hallways. Mike has a doppelgänger.
The first time I saw this man, his back was turned to me. He was standing 20 feet away, fiddling with a TV camera. He has the same body shape as Mike, tall and lean. He has the same curly black mess of hair that Mike once had. He wears black-framed glasses, like Mike once did. And he has the same, beautifully wrinkled face and fantastically bold nose that Mike had.
The first time I spotted The Twin, my heart leapt with joy. For a beat, my brain, heart and body forgot Mike was dead. And then, just as quickly, my heart hurt.
In the ensuing weeks since that first sighting, I now see this man everywhere. We have even exchanged a few words. He caught me raiding notebooks from the TV staff’s stash. I defended my filching and we had a chuckle.
Another time, we nearly ran into each other in the hallway as we cornered the same turn from opposite directions.
He’s everywhere. That’s not exactly surprising. The newsroom isn’t gigantic. I see everyone, everyday, I’m sure. But The Twin, jumps out at me from across the room, every time.
I know his name. (Someone mentioned his name one day in passing.)
Other than our notebook ‘drama,’ I have never spoken to him.
And that’s fine. He’s not Mike. And maybe he’s really a jerk. That would suck.
Somedays when I spot him, I think about running up to him and throwing my arms around him for a long, sweet hug. It’s a thought I would never act on.
Stalking and harassment aren’t my jam. Silently, staring at him from across a room is my jam.
The Twin does his thing, and I do mine. We live in the same world. And for whatever quirk of the universe, we work in the same space.
And, he’ll never ever know that his presence haunts me.