The woman who woke up on a different day -by Juan M.S

She was woken up by the alarm. 7 am; just enough time to have breakfast and drive to work. Her boyfriend wasn’t in bed anymore, which was strange because she always needed to wake him up. But more strangely still, there were covers on the bed. “Richard must have been cold last night, even though we’re in mid summer,” she thought; and indeed she felt it was too cold for summer. She opened the curtains and she was aghast by the sight. The street was covered in snow and the trees were bare; it was evidently winter. She cried “Richard!” but no one answered her. She ran to the kitchen shouting “Richard where are you?!” but when she entered the room, she saw everything changed. The furniture, the utensils and the appliances were changed, they looked more modern and expensive. What in hell! She said, and she ran back to her bedroom for her phone. There it was, on the bedside table, square and bigger than her hands. What in hell is this?! She cried in despair. She crouched down in front of it and stared at it listlessly, as if inventing a new kind of worship position. At last she touched it, grabbed it and eventually turned it on. It was a new iPhone model, like a miniature computer; the images were so neat and there were so many icons on the screen, so different from the minimalism of her old smartphone. She touched the calendar icon. It was what she expected, but she still gave a gasp of terror: January 2017. Last night, when she’d gone to sleep, it was June 2014. Just then, she went to the mirror and looked at her reflexion. Her haircut was different, and she looked slightly plumper, which actually suited her better; she might also look older, but she couldn’t tell for sure. She would’ve stayed paralyzed the whole morning, trying to elucidate this mystery, but she was a practical woman and she was late for work, for in the mental mess she was at the moment, she had a single cogito: No matter the year, she needed to work to live. So she got dressed and drove as fast as she could towards the place that she supposed was still her work, not giving second thoughts to the fact that her car looked slightly older. When she arrived there, she was relieved to see that, although their colleagues looked different, they still recognized her. There were many changes, though, the main of which was that she’d been promoted to executive assistant. “At least some good news,” she said, although she struggled to keep up with the pace of her newly discovered tasks.

When time was up, she tried to make conversation with her coworkers, but she found herself at a loss what to say, and their questions seemed also out of the blue to her. She just walked fast to her car and drove slowly home. She looked around to see any changes in the city, while her mind was clogged with theories of what might be happening to her. But she actually wanted to do the opposite of thinking and analyzing; she just wanted to get through the day without having to admit that she had a mental condition. Maybe when she woke up the next morning, she’d go back to the past. Looking at her new phone, she cherished the idea that maybe there was a reset button in her that was activated while she slept. She was looking forward to an evening of warm soup and movies, just to while away the hours till sleep came. But when she arrived to her driveway she saw another car parked in it. She thought of Richard and a spark of curiosity lit her spirit. “What would he look like? He had a handsome car; had he been promoted too? What would they talk about? Had they married?” She couldn’t contain her emotions any longer and she started crying hysterically. She managed to put the key in the keyhole and open the door and, almost blinded by her tears, she managed to get to the kitchen. She just wanted some tea to soothe her nerves. While the water was boiling in the kettle, she heard some steps. “Richard!” she exclaimed, but the step sounds suddenly stopped. “Richard, come here!” she shouted pitifully, but there was no response to her plea. “Richard, please; I’m so scared! Please! Please!” she cried with a heartrending voice. And she plummeted to the floor, strengthless. But at that moment she heard more steps coming towards her. Her Richard was coming to rescue her from the madness she’d fallen into. “Oh Richard, save me, save me!” she cried, but her voice was suddenly strangled by the image in front of her eyes. “I’m not Richard, what are you talking about?!” shouted an angry voice that came from someone who didn’t look at all like her boyfriend. “Where’s Richard? What have you done to him?!” she shouted, while the rush of adrenaline made her recover all the strength she’d lost. “I don’t know where he is. Why do you ask for him?!” shouted the voice in the same angry tone. She was too scared; that man might be a hypnotist who was playing mind tricks on her. “Get away from me, demon!” she shouted. “Luiza!” he exclaimed, but now his voice showed mere anguish. “Calm down. You must be having a nervous attack. Calm down.” But she sprang up when he tried to grab her arm. And she grabbed the kettle and hit him with it. The hot water splashed all over his lifted hand and hair, dripping down his face, some sprinkling her hand and clothes. He screamed of pain and she ran out of the house. She ran and ran until she couldn’t run anymore, and there, in the middle of the sidewalk, she fainted. She awoke at the hospital, and immediately cried for help. A doctor came in; outside she could glimpse two policemen guarding her door. “Miss Johnson,” he said, “are you aware of your identity?”

What?” she exclaimed.

What’s your full name?” he said.

I’m Luiza Johnson,” she said.

And what happened last evening?” he said.

Someone intruded into my house and I burnt him,” she said, feeling that the police outside the door had something to do with that question.

That someone is in intensive care at this hospital at the moment; he received third-degree burns and has lost vision in an eye. He’s also believed to be your boyfriend, Miss Johnson. According to some witnesses, you’ve been living together for over a year. Also he says you were calling for your ex-boyfriend, who apparently you split up with around two years ago.”

She gasped for air. It seemed as if oxygen was lacking in the air around her.

Miss Johnson,” the doctor went on. “We’ll put you under psychiatric treatment, but, inferring from your boyfriend’s words and what you’re saying now, I believe you have amnesia.”

That’s not my boyfriend!”she cried, and she got up the bed and ran to the door. The two policemen grabbed her by the writs and shoulders and forced her in, while the doctor fled outside.

Call to the psychiatric ward,” he shouted to a nurse “and tell them we have an urgent case!” While inside the room she shouted and banged the door. “I’m not crazy!” could be heard from outside. “Let me go! I didn’t know he was my boyfriend. Let me go!” But the policemen remained impassive outside and the hospital stuff went on with their routine.


I'm a writer born in Argentina, but currently living in Poland. I work as an English and French teacher, translator and copywriter.

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