Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

I’ve never been a big fan of the Wizard of Oz. The only part I really do like is when Dorothy wakes up, looks around the room and realizes everyone there was also in Oz. I have run across many people in Denver, who are Doppelgangers, or twins, of loved ones back home. Sometimes a passerby will resemble someone I worked with, good friends, family members or just random people I’ve been acquainted with.
There’s Denver Julie D, Kirsten P, my old Landlord, my old mechanic, and my future self. Actually I’ve seen two possible future me’s, one pretty awesome, one not so awesome, so I make a conscious effort everyday to become the awesome one—the tiny little old lady, probably late 70’s, with her sensible shoes and backpack, speed-walking up 17th Avenue.
But a few of the doppelgangers are much more familiar, and occasionally I seek them out just to feel a little closer to home.
I can usually find my grandmother’s doppelganger loitering on Colfax, across from the capitol and just outside the subsidized housing complex for seniors. She’s panhandling for money, but I’m not altogether sure she needs cash as much as she needs the interaction she gets from greeting people on the sidewalk all day. Her hair is altering shades of red or purple, and she teases it high atop her head, sometimes in a tidy, elaborate hive, other times in a shakily, disheviled tangle of thinning strands.
As she sits in her wheelchair holding her sign, smiling as people pass her by, I can generally get a feel for what kind of day she’s having by her eyebrows. She draws them on thick and high, giving the appearance that she’s always delightfully surprised. Sometimes the brows have a perfect arch to them, other days they look more like caterpillars suffering from spasms. But regardless, the old doppelganger puts her best into her appearance, and compliments every outfit with matching jewelry.
My father’s likeness appears regularly on the mall shuttle, and I can’t help but smile every time I see him. His gray hair hangs half-way down his back, and his white beard hangs half-way down his chest. The doppelganger smokes, while my father does not, and his white beard is stained brown around his lips from years of tobacco use. He carries a large, dirty backpack, the mark of the homeless, but always has a half-crazy smile on his face. Much like the nutty professor, his brilliant blue eyes and demeanor give the immediate appearance of a smart, but perhaps hapless gentleman.
On two occasions I have watched him board the mall shuttle with confident hop up the step, then greet everyone with a smile and hello. Then, just before the doors are about to close, he turns around and realizes he left his backpack sitting on the sidewalk, so he makes a little “oops” noise, smiles at everyone and steps off the shuttle to retrieve it. Each time, as he bends down to pick up his pack, the shuttle doors close, leaving him standing on the street holding his pack, smiling at the world regardless.
My mother wanders the streets in the form of Carol, the mysterious woman whom I first met when I visited Denver and ventured downtown in my early search for an apartment. She’s shorter and has more weight on her body than my mother, but her impish, yet worldly essence immediately drew me to her. Her hairdo is similar to my mom’s, and their smile could have been made by the same dentist. When I first met Carol she asked me for a quarter. I asked her for directions. When she realized I was a tourist, she declined to take my quarter—apparently she only shakes down locals. She gave me directions and I insisted she take my quarter.
I ran into her a year later after I moved here, and she remembered me, asking me how the apartment hunting went, and if I’d moved to the area. I told her yes, and offered her two quarters I had in my pocket. She refused them, saying that she only panhandled when she needed a little extra cash, and apparently that day she did not. I ran into her on the mall one recent Sunday, and had it not been for her familiar saunter I wouldn’t have recognized her. She was dressed in a floral dress, with matching flats, and her hair was freshly styled. She was on her way to church. Where, she informed me, she was going to find a person in need and give him a dollar…

June 15, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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