Long Exposure

Among the people you’ve known for a long time, who is the person who’s changed the most over the years? Was the change for the better?

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A late high school chum came visiting a few years ago. We were best buds back then. However, during the thirty years since our last visit he had changed. It was as though he was an imposter, someone else occupying his body.

During their four-day visit I tried to shuck the uneasy feeling, ignore the aura that seemed to radiate from him. We took he and his wife to dinner several times. I watched him closely – studied the way he cut his food, how he held his fork, how he chewed, the words he used, his smile. He was the same person, yet he was definitely an imposter.

But I said nothing.

I was still struggling with his identity on the morning of their departure. For some reason he paused at our fish aquarium. As he peered into the water he shoved his fingers into his trouser pockets, stopping at the second knuckle. Like the marble on a roulette wheel dropping into the winning slot, it clicked. Everything was okay.

He was the person I remembered.

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