As I was flipping through one of my new Thai magazines that I received in the mail the other day, I came across a photo of myself, well, not really me but even I couldn’t tell that she wasn’t me. It’s like a déjà vu moment; I must have that generic look or something. This happened to me more than once.
One time, it was several years back, I was at work, went into a kitchenette to get my morning coffee, and saw someone smiling at me, a perfect stranger, but yet something about him that looked familiar. I quickly smiled back, said hi, got my coffee and left. What stuck in my mind was his familiar smile; it’s almost the image of me looking at myself in the mirror, strange but so true. I found out through one of my co-workers that he’s Malaysian, never knew his name, but he’s out there looking very much like me, could easily pass as my twin brother.
Another time was when I was living in NYC; I was in my early 20s. My third sister told me that she ran into a Chinese girl that looked just like me, same height, face, and didn’t realize that it wasn’t me until she started talking to her, which she thought was me. It must have been that look of “Do I know you?” that made her realized that it wasn’t me. She told me about it later, I thought nothing of it, and maybe I’d run into her one day.
Then that day came, I didn’t run into her, but ran into a group of people, more like gangster that knew her, and I can’t say that the encounter was a good one. It’s Thanksgiving one year, and I met one of my friends that went away to college for a late lunch, we ate at a Thai Restaurant in Chinatown, and were walking down one of the blocks to get to a subway station, might have been around 4 pm, then we’re surrounded by a group of Chinese teenagers, might have been a little over 10 of them. They started talking to me, as if they knew me, it was one of the strangest conversations, and I was confused. One of the girls pushed me, they were a lot shorter than I was, I stood in the middle toweling over them, there might have been about 5 or 6 girls, then my friend took off, left me there by myself. At that moment, I knew there’s no such thing as true friend, the kind that’s willing to stick by your side, Lao people called it Pien Thie, the kind that’s willing to die with you, at that moment, I only had myself, I’m not sure if my guardian angel also left me.
Needless to say, I got beat up pretty bad, I was confused, luckily the guys didn’t gang up on me as well, I’m not sure how long time lapsed, but I heard the siren, then they all took off. My friend came back, blaming me for talking back to them, if I had kept my mouth shut, this wouldn’t have happened, I’m putting her life on the line. I didn’t say a word; I was upset, I’m not sure of what.
The cops addressed me by a strange name, a female name that I wasn’t familiar with, asking me questions that I’m not sure what they’re talking about. I told them I didn’t know these people, never seen them before in my life, and I’m not that person that they’re calling me by; I had to show them my student ID to prove that I’m not that person. After they realized that it’s a misunderstanding, that they must have thought I was someone else, just like the cops thought I was someone else, who could it be that would look so much like me, or me like her?
Came to find out, she was one of the gangster’s leader girlfriends, must have been that same girl that my third sister saw. I never have the opportunity to meet her, I stayed away from Chinatown for about 3 months, but realized that it’s useless for me to hide, just the thought of running into her, or her enemy was a bit eerie at times, maybe one day I’ll get to meet her, she’s also out there somewhere, if she’s still alive that is.
Then I thought it’s a bit strange that I’d look like these people, especially when we’re not related in anyway. When I saw this photo, I swear she looks just like me; maybe my face is too generic, I guess I’m just another face out there, if you’ve a unique face, be thankful, even if you think it looks icky.