In parallel

Porter had a twin brother who became infatuated with me. He wouldn’t admit it but he loved me, and all I had to do, somehow, was be. It made things hard for us. Every time we were all together—dinner with the family or going to a movie—Brian would just go to pieces. He was a big man, distinguishable from his brother in that he had maintained his body well, yet he’d look faint and begin to jumble his words if we found ourselves together even for a moment. He’d construct opportunities for gallantry, offering to buy coffees we didn’t want or suggesting, at the first sign of a cool breeze that we should be ‘moving along’. Finally I confronted him—told him I took no offence but that he’d really have to find someone else on whom to focus his affections. He avoided us for the next month then moved away. And then, when Brian’s timid fondness for me was gone, I stopped loving Porter. I felt my feelings change as surely as the turn of the wind before the arrival of a storm-front.