I wrote this story during Couchsurfing Writers' Club Bandung meeting on Thursday, October 26th, 2017. The host, Abi, chose quarter-life crisis as the theme. Here is what I managed to jot down in 30 or so minutes:
When I open my eyes this morning, I find myself staring at an unfamiliar ceiling.
I blink and I blink, but I still don't recognize the white plafond.
I get up, and scan the entire room: it's not mine.
It's not the room I grew up in with yellow walls and pictures of my favorite cartoon characters decorating it, keeping me company on nights of thunderstorms or afternoons after school.
This room has white walls instead, and a single clock in the middle of one. Under that clock is a mirror. I walk towards it.
I look in the mirror, and the woman inside stares back at me.
Who are you? I ask her.
She doesn't answer.
"Kaaak!" I hear my mom calling me. Finally! Something I recognize!
I get out of the room, finding my legs lightly jogging downstairs, excited at the thought of being with someone I actually know. Someone who actually knows me.
"Have you just woken up? You're going to be late to work!"
I stop dead. I look at her, and I see my mom. But something is different about her. Something that I can't quite point out...
"Yes," I hear a voice from inside my head. "I'm gonna get ready for work now."
And I see her. The woman from the mirror walks right past me from behind, gives my mother a hug, and goes to take a shower.
I look down at my hands. They're there, but it feels almost as if I can look through them.
"Mom?" I call her out, but she doesn't respond. Her eyes are still glued at the little device she is holding.
"Mom, I'm right here." Still no response. She is still watching a video of someone dressed in all white, spewing out contradictory words that she's listening to so intently.
I don't know how much time has passed with me just trying to figure out what's happening. The next thing I know is the woman from earlier emerges from another room, dressed in professional clothes with her face made up.
She kisses my mom on her cheek, and brings her sling bag out. I chase her. "Wait! Who are you? Why do you live in my house?"
She turns around and looks at me. "Stop living in the past. Wake up."
"What do you mean?"
"Wake up," she just says. "Wake up."
And then I open my eyes.
The white plafond I stare at is quiet as usual. I get up, scanning the room with white walls and the clock and the mirror.
I go towards the mirror, and stare at the reflection.
"Good, you've woken up," she says. "You can't be late for your first day of work."