With a start, I woke up in the bedroom of my house. Sort of. I was in my bed. And it was my house... but different. My bedroom walls and rug were pale blue, as they had always been. My bed sheets were white, as always, but freshly washed. The comforter covering me, however, was a lovely new pastel in my favorite color. The curtains were different also, and the few childhood things I'd kept on shelves in my room were missing, as were the shelves.
Looking around my room, I noticed the rest of the furniture was the same but looked haphazardly refurbished. Although my bedroom furniture was old, my parents always said it was "good quality" so even though I didn't like it, I just had to live with it. I realized my parents had probably decided to surprise me by slapping a new coat of paint on the dressers while I slept. I'm an incredibly deep sleeper, so they could easily have moved the furniture out of the room and put it back without me hearing a thing. Typically, they put the stuff back in the wrong places, but oh well. Their hearts were in the right place, I guess.
Now that I was fully awake, I was surprised to notice there were a few new things: a trophy for gymnastics, a neatly pressed cheerleading outfit, and a new laptop. I'd never been athletic in the slightest (Clumsiness kind of ran in the family.), and my parents kept refusing to buy me a laptop until my old desktop computer completely died, which it refused to do. That thing seemed frustratingly immortal.
It was obvious, of course, that my parents had decided to surprise me by half-way remodeling my room during the night while I was sleeping. Why, though, had they added some items that didn't seem to belong at all? The cheerleading outfit, for instance. It must have been placed there as some sort of not-so-subtle hint. Cheerleading had been the only sport my mom had ever excelled at, and she had really enjoyed it when she was in high school. She (wrongly) thought I might like it too. It seemed like every other week she was saying, "Lisa, you should really try out for the team. You might really like it!" And I always said, "I'll think about it," you know the way you do when you know you're never going to think about it but it gets your mom off your back for little while.
The laptop computer, however, did make sense. My desktop had been moving at a snail's pace for quite some time, making it impossible to do school work on it effectively. I was always asking to borrow their computers, and it was probably starting to annoy them.
The big puzzler, though, was the gymnastics trophy. It was big and it was engraved with the words "1st PLACE" and MY name. Believe me, I'm no gymnast. I can't even do a somersault.
I went to my closet to get dressed so I could go downstairs to ask about the trophy and thank my parents for the other stuff. When I opened the closet door, I screamed, in delight! I had a whole new wardrobe, with some clothes I was almost sure I'd never seen anyone else at my school wearing. I never owned "the new spring line" when it came to fashion. I was used to having to make do with something more like the more affordable "five years ago" line. Had we won the lottery or something and no one had told me?
Now I was beyond excited, and ran to the door so I could hug my parents. Yes, I was THAT happy. When I opened my bedroom door, something caused me to pause. At first, I couldn't place the reason why I'd stopped, but then it hit me. My door didn't creak when it opened like usual. My parents had refused to oil the hinges, their reasoning being that they would be able to hear me open the door in the event I got it in my mind to sneak out at night. Optimism at its best, I guess; hardly anyone invited me to go anywhere during the day, let alone at night. It isn't that I'm unpopular, I'm just a normal plain girl, who's also pretty shy.
For some reason, the oiled door hinges unsettled me a little. I mean, they didn't smell like they had been recently oiled. But I decided I was being silly, and started to go downstairs. On the way down, I was thinking the whole place could probably use a paint job and some new carpeting. It just never seemed to be in my parents' budget.
When I got downstairs, I stopped dead in my tracks. All the wall colors and carpeting were the same, but things that could easily be changed, like furniture and curtains were different. I also noticed two pairs of "dressy" shoes, set neatly by the front door. They looked new and expensive. My parents never wore shoes like that, unless they were going to a funeral or something. My dad owns a construction business and I have a stay-at-home mom. No need to dress up for those jobs.
I was starting to get a funny feeling, but thankfully, I heard my parents' bedroom door open. However, they didn't come downstairs. One of them tapped lightly on my bedroom door and then went back into their own bedroom.
Now that I was sure they were awake, I went back upstairs to get some answers. How could we afford all this stuff, and how had they gotten it all placed overnight? My initial excitement was completely gone. Now I only felt extremely unsettled.
Before I got to my parents' room, I noticed my bedroom door was slightly ajar. When I went to close it, I noticed a note on my bed. It read, "Remember to wear your uniform. It's a game day! Love you!"
What in the hell was she talking about? Academia had always been my thing. I'd never cared about a sporting event in my life.
I went across the hall and tentatively knocked on my parents' door. A woman answered their door, but she was definitely NOT my mom. She was beautifully made up and dressed in a business suit, sans shoes. I couldn't believe it. On top of everything else, my dad was having an affair? The woman smiled and said, "Honey, it's late. You really need to get ready for school."
Who was this bitch to tell me what to do? And where was my mom? I entered the room to confront my dad, but he was in their master bathroom, finishing up his shower. I angrily pounded on the door. My dad yelled back, "Just a minute!"
While I waited I glowered at the "other woman" while she stupidly asked me what was wrong. I didn't even bother to answer her.
It took only a minute for the bathroom door to open. A man modestly wrapped in an oversized towel stepped out, but it was definitely not my dad. He looked at me kindly and said, "What's up, sweetheart?"
There are no words to describe the terror I felt at that moment. My body went cold and I froze in place, but just for a moment. I bolted for the door to go get help, not that I even knew where I was going to run. But the man moved too quickly. He grabbed me before I even reached the door and held me in his arms. In a panicky voice, he asked me over and over what was wrong.
In my struggle to break free, I caught a glimpse of myself in the oversized mirror through the now wide open bathroom door. The girl looking back was me, but not me. It was her eyes. They were looking almost through me, into my soul.
At this point, nothing could hold me. I ran downstairs and out the front door of my house and started to dash across the street, still not sure where I was going. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the school bus approaching, but not in time to get out of the way. And then, everything went black.
I woke up with a start in my bed, remembering my unsettling dream. I settled down in my familiar bed, in my familiar room lined with all the sports trophies I'd won over the years. I tried to get a few more minutes of shut eye but my mom walked in, looking so cute in the clothes she wore to the gym every morning. My dad was behind her, already in his policeman's uniform. They reminded me to hurry downstairs for breakfast. I had a soccer game after school and had to be well-fueled so our team could continue our winning streak. I stretched and got out of bed, trying to plan what I was going to wear to the big party after the game.
"Ya know," I thought to myself, "I really love my life."