I was leaving work and I noticed Elise standing under the large tree in the square in front of my shop.
I walked over to her and said hello and asked if she remembered me from the time she helped me at the Levi's store in the mall.
She said she did and that she had come specifically to see me.
Surprised by the seriousness of her tone, I asked her why she had come all the way from Rotterdam to see me.
She told me that she was in love with me, that it was love at first sight and that the moment I walked into the shop that day a few months ago, she knew I was the man she would spend the rest of her life with.
Shocked by her revelation---and remembering she had told me she had married an American serviceman the year before---I asked her about her marriage.
She told me that after many sleepless nights she knew that her marriage would never work out and that her chance meeting with me was an omen confirming her feelings. She said she had telephoned her husband in the U.S. prior to coming to see me telling him that their marriage was over.
Still in disbelief, she took my hand and reassured me that she had only come to talk, to let me know about her feelings and that she was prepared to wait as long as it took for me to process what she had said and, whatever I decided, she assured me she would respect my decision.
I confessed to also having had very strong feelings for her the day we met, though knowing she was married quickly abandoned them. The fact that I was thirty years older than she was made that decision all the more practical.
Not knowing what to say or do, she told me that she had taken a second job at a nearby café to earn enough money to re-pay her soon-to-be former husband for the loan he had made her so she could finish her studies.
She asked me if I would accompany her to the restaurant where we could talk over coffee before starting her shift.
We arrived at the café and Elise walked to the back of the counter telling me to find a table while she made our coffee and changed into her work clothes.
I turned around to look for an empty table and saw a man seated at the piano on the other side of the café. I was surprised to see the man was wearing the exact same shirt I was wearing.
I walked over to the piano to see if the man was going to play when he turned around revealing that it was me seated there.
I was completely aware that it was me and that I wasn't dreaming.
The man stood up and I confronted him---or myself---and he became slightly irritated that I would have the nerve to come and try and steal Elise away from him, that he had met her first and it was he who she was in love with and not me.
He grabbed me by the shirt and pulled me close in a threatening way, then smiled and released my shirt, patting me on the chest saying he was just kidding that he wasn't interested in Elise at all and that he had actually met a woman recently who he had started a relationship with.
I then playfully bit the man on the chin and he sat back down at the piano and began playing something reminiscent of Ennio Morricone.
Elise gestured for me to come back to the counter where she handed me a cup of coffee in a to-go container saying she didn't have time to sit down with me and asked if I would come back after her shift and return to Rotterdam with her that evening.
Having a few hours to kill, I decided to take the tram into the city center and browse the shops.
I boarded the tram and suddenly felt someone tapping me on the shoulder.
I turned around and it was a young woman I remembered seeing on an online dating site and quickly came to the conclusion it was the woman the "other me" was dating and she thought it was his shoulder she had tapped.
I explained that I was not her boyfriend but merely a "look alike," that I had just met her boyfriend and shared a laugh about the uncanny resemblance.
Turning serious, she said I didn't have to lie to her with made up stories, that she understood I had fallen in love with Elise and she wouldn't stand in our way.
Before I could assure her that she was mistaken, she got off the tram at the next stop.
Then I woke up.