His breathing, which had been slow and shallow increased as he took a long, slow, deep breath. He slowly opened his eyes. As his blurry vision cleared the sights that met his mind were familiar only in that he knew what the objects were. He didn’t recognize the objects as anything with which he was intimately familiar. They didn’t belong to him.
He looked around the bedroom from the bed, as much as he could lying down. The walls were a pale dusty rose, the two windows - one on either side of the headboard - were covered with red and gold tapestry drapes. The molding that bordered the walls, windows and doors was a dark, warm wood. A ceiling fan with rosewood blades and dusty rose globes gently stirred the air. Light filtered softly through the drapes.
The bed on which lied was a queen size sleigh bed of a dark rosewood, a gold comforter covering him. The tall chest of drawers, the long, low mirrored dresser and the bedside tables all matched the bed.
As full consciousness returned to him, he recognized the furniture but knew that it wasn’t his. He didn’t know where he was or remember how he came to be lying in this strange bed. Come to think of it, his recollection of just who he was exactly was a bit foggy.
He rolled over onto his right side, swung his legs off the side of the bed and sat up, all in one smooth motion, if slow, motion. The effort made him dizzy and he had to wait a moment before trying to stand. He slid off of the bed to the thick beige rug. As he shifted his weight from the bed to his feet his knees nearly buckled. He hobbled and wobbled a bit as walked around the bed toward the open bathroom door on the side of the room opposite him. He stopped at the foot of the bed to have a really good stretch.
Having tended his body’s needs, he stood at the bathroom sink. He splashed water onto his face and looked into the mirror. The eyes that looked back at him were not his. They were brown, as was the short cropped hair. The Roman nose, the arched eyebrows, the high cheek bones, the round chin. It was the face of a man in his mid to late twenties. It was not a face he had seen before. This remembrance jumped into his fully aware mind.
Before when, though? Who was he? What had happened? How did he get to this room? How long had he been here? As these thoughts raced through his mind, the door opposite the windows opened and a young girl entered the room. It was at that moment he realized he was standing only in a pair of cotton briefs.
The girl appeared to be somewhere between her late teens and early twenties and she had long curly red hair, clear blue eyes and pale, freckled-covered skin.
The young girl seemed dazed for a moment, surprised to see him. The look only lasted a second before her eyes went wide. She drew in a sharp breath and her hands flew to her mouth, as if to stifle a scream.
“Oh my god!” she whispered in breathless a voice, still looking directly at him.
The man grabbed a burgundy towel from its bar and wrapped it around his waist, thinking his near nudity had startled the girl. He didn’t recognize her, but he must know her. Otherwise why would he be in her room?
“Mom! He’s awake!” the girl shouted.
“What?!” came a muffled reply from somewhere else in the house. There was the soft tread of feet on carpet as a woman brushed passed the girl and into the bedroom.
The woman could only have been the girl’s mother. She looked like an older version of the girl. Same curly red hair, only not as long; same blue eyes, only not as clear. About the same height but not built quite as slight.
She went directly to the man standing with a towel wrapped around his waist, concern showing itself in her eyes and on her face.
“Should you be up?” she asked. Hers was the accent of an American from the South. Not a rural accent, more urban.
It took a moment for him to realize that a response was required. A question was asked and needed an answer. He thought about it. What should he say? How do you answer this question?
“Are you okay?” the woman asked when he didn’t answer.
He looked at her, looked into her eyes. Definitely concerned. But did he know her? Were they friends?
“Ah tink. . .” he studdered. He opened his mouth fully and moved his jaw around. Try that again, he thought to himself. Something wrong with his mouth. Oh, wait, not the same teeth, tongue, or lips as before.
“I think so,” he said in a wavering voice. Not the voice he remembered. Mellow, deep to mid range. Very slight English accent.
“Sit down, please,” the woman pled, worried.
He sat on the bed; she sat beside him.
“Do you know where you are?” she asked.
He looked around again to see if any of it was familiar.
“No. No I’m afraid I don’t. I’m not entirely sure just who I am. I know I’m not the same as I was, but I don’t remember what was exactly.”
He looked at the young girl who had now come fully into the room and at her mother, trying to place them.
“And if I’m supposed to know you I’m very sorry to say I don’t remember you. Do we know each other?”
The woman’s eyes frowned even as she tried to smile.
“We work together at the art museum. I’m Tracy Andrews. This is my daughter, Shelly.”
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