or the entrance exam we have to match TV static to a daisy field. After years of practice (books & rocks, near & far), it’s a breeze. At orientation, those with fluctuating weight or braces are pulled aside. Not ready. We, who will eventually copy, have chosen one hairstyle & smile & stuck to it—we have the class photos to prove it. Still, we’re not allowed near the machines for weeks. The equals sign on the blackboard grows four-boxes-of-chalk thick. Pale sandwiches pile up in our lockers. Then one day we’re told to take a left at the water fountain instead of a right, and we’re in the copy room. I don’t fiddle with the dials; I make a copy. I like him immediately. He looks like me but with darker circles under his my-eyes, a more pronounced scar on his my-cheek. When I look up, I see that Sylvia has made herself three copies at 10%, 35% and 75%. A Sylvia crescendo. I feel a hand on my back & then I don’t look at anyone else anymore. For the first few nights, we stay up late. We are each other’s perfect hug. He’s thoughtful & helpful, my shadow with a shuffle—he plumps the sofa cushions, feeds the goldfish. I can tell from the way he studies Splash and Splish that he thinks Splash is the original and Splish is the copy. How sweet, I think. One day, via the hallway mirror, I watch as he transfers Splash into a jam jar, then lets a golden handful of fish flakes fall gently into the bowl holding Splish. I’m at a distance but I know which is which. The next night my red scarf is missing from the front hall & so is he. My phone rings. The soprano has the flu and the understudy is performing. He’s at the opera. We all are.