Stewart had multiple personalities, six of them. Normally, this is a bad thing. In Stewart’s case it wasn’t. All the personalities knew about the others and they all got along swimmingly. No personality dominated the others. Whenever something needed to be done, they all talked it out in civilized fashion, much like Parliament or Congress. Except in Stewart’s case it was better. They actually arrived at a decision.
When people have multiple personalities, their demeanor and their carriage changes as personalities switch. They look different, but it’s still the same person. Stewart took this one step further. His face could physically take on a different shape. If people didn’t know this was entirely harmless, it usually creeped them out.
The last detail of Stewart’s condition is perhaps the strangest.
Stewart cast six shadows.
His changing face disturbed people enough, though the personalities could agree not to shift in the presence of others. But six shadows? People commonly ran from him in terror.
You might think Stewart was lonely. Not true. His personalities were very friendly and kind. They enjoyed brilliant discussions throughout each day. This sufficed for many years. Trouble was, even with all that companionship Stewart felt incomplete. Puzzles start as many pieces, but in the end they make up just one thing. Stewart felt like an un-assembled puzzle.
Stewart wanted to be an assembled puzzle.
Finding his puzzle pieces wasn’t easy. Being a social pariah meant he rarely got to know people. He dated, though his secrets could not stay hidden for long. Prospective girlfriends always found out. He spent many years missing the touch of a woman.
Then one day, Stewart sat in the park reading, his shadows arrayed before him like a fan. He noticed something strange in the corner of his eye. Seven shadows, forming another fan, intermingled with his shadows. Beside him, sat just one girl. Zoe’s eyes sparkled above her excited smile. Her face shifted several times, each one as lovely as the last. Stewart’s face shifted too and she squealed with delight. They began chatting animatedly and so did their shadows.
As the sun slipped low and their shadows grew tall, Stewart realized that he already loved Zoe. It all happened so fast, yet it felt so right. Both leaned forward, and they kissed. It was soft and warm and happy as though the kiss alone built a cozy house above them. It felt right. It was right.
As they stood together in the afternoon sun, two people cast only one shadow.
At last, his puzzle was assembled.
Written for the weekly Sunday Photo Fiction writing challenge. This is my story, written with Al’s photo as inspiration. Look here to find the prompt page and a blue link to the wonderful stories other folks wrote: https://sundayphotofictioner.wordpress.com/2016/04/03/sunday-photo-fiction-april-3rd-2016/