This one came out of a short conversation I had with an airline seatmate last week. She’d slept most of the flight, and I only got to talk with her after the plane actually landed. She was in her late 20’s, probably, and she’d just come from visiting her sister, who was a couple of years older.
It was the first time she and her sister had ever met.
I had zillions of questions, and only a couple of minutes to ask them. Yes, they’d known about each other as children, ‘but we never got around to meeting each other.’ Yes, they looked alike. Yes, they felt like they’d known each other forever. They talked the same way, used the same gestures. ‘But our mothers were very, very different.’ Her father had been married a couple of times (at least).
This scenario opened the door for so many story ideas, and I thought I would use it as a prompt for this week’s Creativity Workshop short story, set in post-hurricane Ike Galveston. And what the hell, I’m throwing another airline encounter from last week into the story too. It’s the story of row 9C — and the two different guys who had boarding passes with the same seat number on them. Turns out they both had the same name, too.
Anyhow, here’s the flash:
Kirsten tossed book after mildewed picture book into the dumpster. All of Galveston was a disaster. Still, she was glad she’d come down from Houston to volunteer with the hurricane clean up.
“Hey, Jen – lunch is ready.” Weird – that was the second time today someone called her Jen.
Kirsten dumped one last stack of books before heading toward the school cafeteria.
She stopped abruptly as she turned the corner. Was she looking at herself in a mirror?
“Oh,” she said and held out her hand. “You must be Jen.”