By: Gianna G. Maniego
Doppelganger is a German word meaning “double walker.” In the realm of the supernatural , doppelganger refers to the ghostly double, or “shadow-self” that accompanies every human being throughout his life, providing sympathetic company and giving advice by either implanting ideas or through some sort of osmosis. They are invisible, usually standing behind the person, and never casting a reflection. It is said to be bad luck to see your doppelganger. Through mischievous and sometimes malicious, they never show themselves to friends or relatives of the person because this causes great confusion to them.
Well, almost never,
Anita Rodriguez (not her real name) used to be a skeptic. Even growing up in one of the notoriously haunted spots in New Manila-Balete Drive-she paid little attention to the various ghost stories and urban legends surrounding the place. These things were a waste of time, she’d often tell her friends whenever they indulged in a round of ghost story- telling. Now that she was a successful graphic artist in her 20s, she had even less time for such flights of fancy.
Pooh, she thought, when it comes to ghosts, Anita had one policy: Don’t know, don’t see, don’t care. She didn’t believe in ghosts. Not even the one that supposedly haunted her own home. The one that supposedly looked, talked and acted like her.
“Hey Annie, did you bring it?” her cousin Jessica accosted her at the buffet table, during a family gathering . It was the birthday of her Lolo Jaime and all her relatives were in attendance at the Big House in West Triangle. Anita looked at her with a blank expression: “Wha..?”
“Don’t you remember? Jessica insisted, more than a little peeved. ” I called you up yesterday to remind you about the album of Eliza, the one with the debut pics. I wanted to show Mom the gown she wore so that we can have a similar one made for Trisha. I told you I’d drop by for it, but you said you’d bring it along when you came to the house this afternoon,” Jessica patiently explained to her cousin. “So where is it?”
“You called up the house yesterday? What time was this?” Annie repeated, not quite comprehending the question.
“YESSSS!!!! You answered I don’t remember exactly what time, but I’m pretty sure it was around lunchtime. I know because you even got mad at me for interrupting what you were doing . I think you were cooking carbonara for lunch” Jessica answered, somewhere exasperated already.
“Jess… there was NO ONE in the house yesterday. My mom and dad are still in Cebu, and the maid is on vacation. I spent the night at Toni’s (her best friend) and came straight here today,” she informed her cousin, before turning her attention to the lechon in front of her.
Her cousin was left speechless, mouth hanging open in disbelief.
Another time, she and Toni were at another friend’s party. When they arrived, Toni zeroed in on the desserts at the buffet table in the dining room. Annie lagged behind to say hi to a group of friends she hadn’t seen in quite some time. After a while, Toni felt a hand tapping her on the shoulder. “What’re you eating? Pahinge (Give me some),”Annie said, opening her mouth so that her friend can spoonfeed her some of the ice cream Toni was eating. ” Uy sarap ( Wow, delicious) ! Ube’s my favorite!” And said in between mouthfuls.
“O, you changed?” Toni asked, noticing that Annie was wearing a different shirt.”Yeah, the other shirt was too tight,” her friend replied before wandering off to join the crowd on the patio.
Toni got another scoop of ice cream ( Annie finished her share) and just as she was about to spoon it into her mouth, felt another tap on her shoulder. “Hoy! Takaw. Ang daya mo, inuubos mo yung ice cream. Enge naman. kaya pala hindi kita mahanap diyan, nandito ka pala sa buffet table ( Hey You’re such a glutton, you’re not sharing the ice cream. Give me some! no wonder I couldn’t find you, you’re hiding here at the buffet table,)” Annie jokingly scolded her friend.
“Ano ka, inubos mo na nga yung sa akin kanina ah (You must be joking you already finished my share a while ago)!” Toni retorted, also in jest. “O, you changed again!! Akala ko ba masikip ang skirt na yan ( I thought that shirt was too tight for you )?”
“What are you talking about? This is the shirt I wore when we arrived, don’t you remember, I haven’t changed my shirt. Why would change my shirt? And for your information, I got this buffet table just now. Isn’t there any other ice cream flavor? I hate ube.” Annie wondered aloud as she surveyed the other desserts. “Hmmm… I’ll just get leche flan.”
“But you WERE here, 10 minutes ago! You finished all my ice cream because you said ube is your favorite! Ano ka ba ( What are you saying)?” Toni answered, starting to get spooked by what her friend was saying
“Hello? I’ve been with Chino and Mark in the sala since we arrived. They were asking about you, so I decided to go and look for you. Ask them pa,” Annie said rather indignantly.
“Then who finished my ice cream?!?” Toni shrieked, totally freaked out. Annie shrugged. She and Toni ran out of the dining room.
The turning point for Annie, the incident that finally convinced her there are some things that cannot be explained came one early morning, as she was coming home from a night on the town.
It was around 4 a.m. and Annie and her cousins Eliza and Jessica were tiptoeing home to Annie’s home after a “gimmick” in Makati.
All three had drunk quite a bit but were still fairly sober. “Shhhh!!!” Annie shushed her two cousins, who were trying to stifle their giggles. “You’ll wake Mama. Lagot tayo pag nalaman nyang 4 na tayo umuwi. Ang alam lang nya hanggang 2 lang tayo (We’re dead if Mama finds out we came home at 4 a.m. I told her we’d be home by 2).
As the three groped their way around the garden to the front door. Annie searched her bag for her key to the front door.
“Oh no !” she hissed. “I forgot my key! We’ll have to ring the doorbell! Sana si Manang ang magbukas (Let’s hope it’s Manang who opens it).”
Just as Eliza was about to ring the doorbell however, the door opened. “Ay Salamat (Thank goodness )! I’m so sleepy. What are you waiting for?” Annie, who was directly behind Eliza nudged her cousin.
When Eliza wouldn’t budge, she shoved her harder. Grabbing her cousin’s arm, she noticed how cold it was. She peered into her cousin’s face, which was half-illuminated by moonlight. What she saw made her blood cold.
Eliza stood frozen, all color drained from her face, her expression one of shock and horror. She pointed mutely at the door, which stood ajar. A moment later, she slumped in a dead faint.
When she came to, she realized she was now in the sala of Annie’s house, and all the light were on. “What happened? Are you okey?” both Annie and Jessica asked, alarmed. Their cousin no longer looked pale. More like grey around the edges. And she looked like she was about to throw up.
Stuttering, she related what happened when the door opened. “I was about to ring the doorbell…. like you said, Annie… When suddenly the door opened on its own. Thinking it was Manang waiting up for us… I stepped up to it. I was about… to greet… whoever opened the door…but when I looked up.. when I looked up.. IT WAS YOUR FACE I SAW RIGHT IN FRONT OF ME! I don’t remember much after that.”
The three girls looked at each other for a split second before fleeing to the bedroom to hide under the covers.
Annie stopped being a skeptic after that.