Mistaken Identity

And then, as I stood there, the door behind me opened. A black, Arabic, pock-marked, elderly gentleman came into the room, and I knew instantly that this was the man I had been mistaken for. He had the quiet and unmistakable authority of being who he was, in real in-law. And my first shock was that I looked nothing like him at all.

I was younger, fresher, better looking. I had vigor and freedom. I wasn’t trapped by tradition. I was lithe. I could go any which way. I had many futures open to me. This man seemed weighed down. There was an air about him of one whose roles were fixed. He was, in the worst sense of the word, middle-aged; with no freedom, even to think independent thoughts. All this I sensed in a flash but realized only afterward. I was profoundly shocked to have been mistaken for this man.

Belonging, Ben Okri

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