"Hello, may I help you?" the little old woman asked me as I wondered slowly around the shop of second hand clothes, accessories and other interestingly dated things. I didn't notice her initially since her slacks and blouse matched the items in what seemed to be well, the entire store, so she kinda camouflaged for a moment there. Old and shabby, used and reused, hand-me-downs that looked to have gone through about nine siblings before ending up here, at Seccy, the shop where things go for another life when someone doesn't want them anymore. It's good because half the money they make from selling things here goes to those in need.
"Yes actually" I responded in my rather polite and cheery tone, "I'm looking for a coat, would you happen to have any in my size?" I asked this with great hope, since it was mid-winter, my other coat had just been unintentionally died an off orange-green by accidentally putting in the wash with a rather new nice green dress shirt, and I most certainly couldn't afford a proper new coat right now.
"Were you after a particular kind of coat?" she asked in a sweet but scratchy little voice. Now, if I had the money, I'd be after a triple layered, silk lined, heavy woolen trench-looking coat with a zip and button, and a hood that comes off with those snappy buttons. But I don't have the money, so that cannot be the answer I say out loud.
Now as I stand here in my black straight pants, off white and slightly muddy runners, light blue button up dress shirt that I swear was tucked in when I left the house, orange and black striped tie which I can't seem to keep well-centered, and a well-knitted grey scarf I think I borrowed from my brother at least five years ago and never gave it back, I answered this... "something with character, something not brown, and something that fits...please", then I smiled awkwardly and hoped she'd have something for me.
She looked me up and down, judging curiously as her eyes pieced my outfit together, presumably wondering if I looked in the mirror before walking out of the house this morning - and yes by the way, I did, it's just windy and incredibly cold. Finally, I got an interestingly high-pitched "hmmm, ooo, ummmmmmmmmm, ahhh yes!" I stood patiently hoping for a clearer response and maybe me being directed to and shown a coat of some sort. After another moment or, I don't know, ten, I got a "young man, how do you feel about purple?"
I thought about this...I mean I don't hate purple, but I don't exactly own any purple clothing either, simply because it's just not what I prefer, I suppose. But I was eager to try, and too cold to care, I just wanted a coat that wasn't a grossly off green. "Sure, why not, colour is good" I said, hoping to sound enthused by the idea of a purple coat.
"Perrrfect, follow me" she said ecstatic, and I followed her quickly to a corner at the back of the store where all the coats and shoes seemed to live. She got on her toes and reached up high to grab the hanger off the rack. "How about this?" she asked with such a sweet, excitable attitude. I was shown this purple coat, this deep satin-looking purple coat. It was a v-neck, it had four buttons that appear to go from nipple line to crotch, the sleeves were rolled with the fluffy inner lining poking out the ends, and two pockets.
"May I try it on?" I asked, unsure of how I was going to feel in this coat. She nodded and helped me put it on. I turned to the left to observe myself in the slightly tilted floor-length mirror. Well, I was right about the positioning of the buttons. It reached almost to my knees, and fitted my arms and torso perfectly. Turns out the satin appearance wasn't actually satin, it was kind of like plastic, soft looking, but not soft feeling, at least it would be water-proof though right? I sure hope so in this weather. In fluffy inner lining was to die for, I was so comfy and warm in this coat, it felt delightful. I tucked my thumbs into the pockets leaving my fingers out and turned slightly to each side, observing myself some more.
"I'll take it" I said, with what was probably way to much cheer in my tone. She had the biggest smile on her face as she tried to somewhat run to the counter so I could purchase it from her. I caught up to her in good time, gave her my $13.11 via my bank card, an odd price but a low price so I didn't question it, and walked out of the store wearing my new-ish coat.
I wore this coat for like a week, and then, while making my way home from a trip to the grocery store, I put my hand in the left pocket. I felt it for a moment, it was hard, but light in weight, cold. I couldn't put my finger on what it might be. So, I took it out of my pocket to look at.
It was a glass bottle, smaller than my hand.
I observed it for a moment, moving it around in my hand. It reminded me of those bottles you see in movies that wash up on the shore, containing a note from somewhere across the seas. Except it was smaller than the ones in the movies. Though, it too had a little note inside.
I went home, and took photos of the bottle from different angles. It had a cork in it, so I opened it with my corkscrew. I got some tweezers and reached into the bottle and took out the little, light brown, aged, rolled up paper. I put it on the bench, put down the tweezers, and picked it up. I unfolded it carefully, to this A3 sized page. It had a picture, a drawing, it looked like it had been done in pencil.
A coffin, it was a drawing of a coffin. A really detailed drawing of a coffin, with a skull and cross bones on the top center of the lid. They's even drawn on the hinges.
Below the coffin was written:
Find my twin, so we may die together