I wake up just as the sunlight starts to pierce through my bedroom curtains, filtering the air with a soft glow. Gentle rays bounce off the walls and reflect onto my mirror, directing a faint beam right onto my bed.
I stifle a yawn and lazily blink my eyes open before I remember; today is no ordinary day.
All of us live with our past.
My mind struggling to recall yesterday’s events, I slip off the bed and shrug on a bedraggled robe, clothing my feet in a pair of slippers I don’t remember owning.
A dull throb spreading through my head, I make my way to the bedroom door. My fingers grasp the knob and gently twist it open. I step out of my room and give my eyes a moment to adjust to the blinding light I suddenly find myself in the midst of. Someone forgot to turn the bulbs in the living room off last night.
Speaking of someone…
“Ashton??” I call out, my hands tracing the unfamiliar, rough wooden banister rolling along the short staircase just outside my room. This banister… It was marble last night, was it??
“Ashton?? Are you there??”
All of us die with our past.
Silence. Deafening silence.
Cautiously, I place one foot on the top step and inch myself forward. “Ash??” I repeat, a hint of panic dancing around every alphabet.
I try to suppress all the frenzied thoughts fighting for attention in my brain and pad down the stairs, firmly clutching the handrail for support.
“I don’t have time for this,” I think to myself and quicken my pace. “I don’t have time to waste.”
The moment I reach the bottom of the steps, I notice the little changes. Different cushion covers, a set of washed-out blue table cloths instead of the lavender ones I laid out, the space on the wall where I hung my French artwork now lay barren… Subtle and insignificant, but urgent and worrying.
All of us try hard to last.
With a sharp intake, the most drastic change of them all finally registers; this is not my floor. These are not my walls. They’re similar, but worn-out. And tired-looking. And everything’s much, much smaller.
Scanning the room, I find the telephone strung up on the kitchenette’s wall, just where I’d left it. Relieved that some things were just the same, I stride over, pick it up and dial my sister’s number.
In three and a half rings, I am comforted to hear her voice on the other end. “Fletcher residence. Emma speaking,” She chirps.
“Em, it’s me,” I whisper into the receiver.
“Juno!! What’s up, love??” She says confidently, but I can hear her falter.
“Emma… Something’s wrong,” I tell her.
“Tell you what, I’ll be right there,” She briskly states and before I can say anything else she cuts the call.
But life whirls by us too fast.
I hang up the phone and walk to the kitchen. The granite of my kitchen counter has somehow changed to a stained plastic and the little ledge where I usually keep my framed Harvard degree is empty.
Reeling and thoroughly perplexed, I convince myself that a glass of cocoa may be just the thing I need to stop my head from nervously buzzing.
Grabbing a large mug and a packet of chocolate powder from a cabinet, I set about heating some water.
“Today was important, for some reason,” I ponder to myself, settling a kettle onto the battered stove. “I can’t seem to remember why…”
My thought whizzing, I close my eyes and breathe in deeply, the sound of the water boiling doing wonders to calm my frazzled nerves.
“What on earth is going on??” I wonder. “What on bloody earth??”