For Children

Felicity Strauss

The Duplicate

3rd & 4th Grade Prose Honorable Mention

I was walking home from school. It was a rainy afternoon, and I was hoping for a surprise hot chocolate at home. When I came to the front door of my building, I noticed that there was already someone there. She was wearing the same coat as me, she had the same color hair, and she had my same yellow dress with a tear where I had torn it on the swings at the park. Then, she turned around, and I nearly screamed in surprise!

She looked exactly like me! It felt like l was looking in a mirror. It still felt like this peculiar girl was a guest, and I should be kind to guests.

“C’mon in,” I said, beckoning her through the door.

She followed me in. I slipped past the doorman with her, thinking he would be confused if I walked up to him with a twin. When we finally got through the door to my apartment (“I’m going to my room, Mom!” I called out) and slammed the door to my bedroom, I got some private time with my duplicate.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“Lacy.” That was my name!

“I’m Lacy, too,” I said.

“So!” she exclaimed. “I’m your duplicate!” Then she told me all about how I had a duplicate. “We only come for people who don’t have many friends,” she explained.

“Nada friends over here,” I said.

She nodded. “Exactly. So, I come to your school and then leave when you have friends.”

“Good,” I said. “I don’t have to go to school!”

“You’ll hear from me on what friends you now have,” she informed me.
Then I heard my mom’s voice drift up the stairs. “Honey, why are you talking to yourself? I’m coming up!”

“Quick, into the closet!” My duplicate hid just as my mom came into the room.

“What is this habit, talking to yourself? Have you been doing your homework?”

“No, Mom.” I thought about telling her, but decided against it. My duplicate was a secret that I would never, never tell. Then, my mom left me in peace.

“You will do your own homework but I will check it,” my duplicate said as she emerged from the depths of the closet.

Then, I realized: “How are you going to get food?” I asked.

As if she already knew what I was going to ask, she said: “You’re going to bring me some,” she responded.

“Honey, your dinner is getting cold,” my mom called out.

“Coming!” I said as I ran down the stairs to the table. Thinking quickly I told my mom: “I think I will bring some food up to my room to work on some homework.”

As my mom sat down to eat, I grabbed my plate and raced up to my room with it.

“You’re back!” my duplicate exclaimed as I entered the bedroom. I put the food on my desk piled with homework and said, “Help yourself!”

“Thank you!” she said, and helped herself. Something stirred in the back of my mind, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

“So, where do all of the duplicates live? Where do they go when they’re not dealing with people’s problems?” I asked her.

“I live on a beautiful island with all of the duplicates in the universe on it.” she told me. “It is big and lush with lots of flowering trees and plants of every kind. All kinds of duplicates live on the island; there is no China, France, or Denmark. Everyone lives together as one big community.”

Then, it dawned on me. “I live in a neighborhood with lots of people crammed into each apartment building, and you live on an island packed with duplicates! The places aren’t that different!”

I thought about the nice man who always lets me pet his dog, Pepper, and the lady who lets me stop by for tea. But those did not count as friends, did they?

Then I remembered a list of all my friends that I wrote when I was five years old.

This is what it said:

My babysitter
Nougat the dog
Emmy from apartment 5C
My Nana (grandmother)

As I thought about it, I realized that I could make friends on my own. I didn’t need my duplicate to make friends for me; I had them! And I had all the qualities to make more friends! I told my duplicate what I had been thinking about.

“Mission accomplished!” she cheered.