Marvin stepped back from the purple-haired young woman as she rushed at him with open arms. He backed up against the alley wall where he approached her. He frequently spotted her bright purple hair over the past couple of years. After the last time, Marvin decided he would ask her why the next time he saw her. She ran into the alley when he did. He called after her and she turned around thinking he recognized her.
“Lady, I’m not Mark,” he said. She stopped in her tracks and looked up and down the alleyway. She stepped backward away from Marvin while nodding in understanding, but her eyes began to water.
“I’m sorry,” she whispered; just loud enough for Marvin to hear. She reached the other side of the narrow alley and fell to the floor with her back against the building. “I won’t bother you again, Sir,” she said with a defeated voice. Marvin’s heart went out to her; and, he still didn’t know why she was popping up. He sat down, leaning against his side of the alley, and looked across at her.
“I look that much like him?” he asked. Her eyes brightened a bit when she realized he wasn’t running away like everyone else had. She nodded.
“Exactly,” she said.
“What happened?” Marvin asked. She shrugged.
“I’m pretty sure I went crazy,” she said. “Two years ago… everyone forgot me. Work… even my dad…,” she sighed. “I started following you because I couldn’t take it if you forgot me too. I just had to show up and hope you would come up to me.”
“They forgot you?” Marvin asked in disbelief. She saw him raise an eyebrow but she nodded quickly.
“My dad says he never had a daughter…,” she said. She knew how it sounded. She’d cried herself to sleep many nights in the first year wondering if she completely broke from reality. Marvin smiled broadly and the woman sighed. “He thinks I’m making it up,” the thought only made her feel worse.
“What’s your name?” he asked through his smile.
“Victoria,” she said. Marvin jumped to his feet, still smiling. He pulled out a small notepad and pen from his back pocket. He seemed full of eager energy and curiosity encouraged Victoria to stand up. By the time she stood in front of him, he had scribbled something on the pad but kept it out of sight.
“Victoria, I think I can solve all your problems. But…,” he winked. “…it depends on your answer to a question.” She gave him a soft smile and nodded subtly. Victoria doubted he could fix anything, but she had nothing left. Her last hope vanished the moment he said he wasn’t Mark. But, if nothing else, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to have a friend that looked like her husband. He seemed friendly enough.
“Okay, clear your mind and close your eyes. When I ask you the question say your answer first; then, open your eyes. Okay?” Victoria shrugged.
“Sure,” she immediately closed her eyes. Marvin lifted the notepad in front of her so that it would be the first thing she saw.
“Victoria, what’s your favorite number?”
“35,” she said then opened her eyes. She saw he’d written “35” on the notepad. She stepped back.
“You know my favorite number!?” She sounded excited and confused. “Mark! It IS you!”
“Oh shit, no. no.” Marvin immediately shook his head. “Sorry! I didn’t think about that,” he sighed. “I wanted to be flashy about it, sorry. But I’m trying to tell you that you’re in an alternate universe.”
“Huh?” She asked. “How do know?”
“Because you said everyone forgot you,” he shrugged. “That doesn’t happen.”
“And alternate universes do happen?” Marvin nodded.
“Yeah.” Victoria tilted her head at him.
“What does that have to do with 35?” she asked.
“You’re a Unique Soul,” he said.
“Okay,” she said and crossed her arms. “I’m listening.”
“You’re.. uh..,” Marvin threw his hands up. “I actually don’t know how to explain it, but c’mon. I know a Mundo,” he said.
“What’s a Mundo?” Victoria asked. She followed Marvin as he started down the alley.
“Know-it-alls that enjoy explaining everything,” he said.