I am here again with thousands of twins from all over the world, gathered at the annual festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, at this hilly expanse with open grass fields and clusters of ancient trees, blue sky and the lonely sun. The smell of corn dogs and funnel cakes. Live music. Look-alike contests. A section for carnival games. A shaded playground for the little ones. Bursts of laughter near and far.
This year’s theme is Video Game Characters. Sisters, perhaps in their sixties, walk by me dressed as Mario and Luigi, indistinguishable except for their costumes. Even their gray hair lifts from their shoulders the same way in the wind. Not far behind them, a man holds a baby in each arm, one resembling Batman and the other Robin. Their cries are unvaried. C’est bon, he keeps saying.
I am dressed as Silver Surfer. To perfect the costume, surfboard and all, I practically emptied the local Walmart of its tinfoil. There’s something about him, how he travels through the galaxy alone…
I have repeated a certain ritual at the end of each festival, ever since the wreck I felt from hundreds of miles away. The carnival area includes a hall of mirrors, for which I pay twice as much to spend double the time inside. I walk through the corridors until that glance, once so familiar, catches my eye and stops me cold. Now he reaches out to grab my hand. For an instant, yes, for an instant, it is just us.
Mason Binkley lives with his family in Tampa, Florida. He reads for Pithead Chapel and is the author of the flash fiction collection, Familial Disturbances (Ellipsis Zine, 2019). You can read more of his work at masonbinkley.com, or find him on Twitter: @Mason_Binkley.