* 18 *

My former girlfriend was walking, arms linked, with a man I didn’t know.
And if it were only that, perhaps I would have been able to handle it.

I mean, we had been apart for three years. And other guys certainly wouldn't leave such a charming girl alone.
I didn't really want to think about that reality, but I thought I was prepared for it.
Tsugumi would have gotten lonely. So even if she had found someone to replace me, I couldn't rightly blame her.

But when the man walking alongside Tsugumi looked for all intents and purposes the spitting image of myself from my first life - well, that was a different story.

That man who walked with Tsugumi, his height, his actions, his voice, his speech, his expressions, everything was identical to my first self.
As I've said before, my memories of my first life weren't concrete, but he perfectly matched characteristics like "friendly smile" and "melodic voice."

"Doppelganger" came to mind.

But there were some problems in considering the man to be my doppelganger. That is to say, my first and second selves had become quite distinct in every sense.
So oddly enough, if you compared me with the man walking with Tsugumi who appeared to imitate my first life... it felt more like I was the fake.
If there was a doppelganger here, it felt more reasonable to assume it was me, not him.

I knew then that I had failed. Had been I able to exactly recreate my first life, I would have surely become the man before my eyes.

It was now no wonder why I hadn’t been able to date Tsugumi.
Because the second time, I had a replacement.

Chapter 19

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