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Reflect

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I haven't mustered the strength to look into the bedside mirror. Into any mirror. It's not that I don't know what I'll see; it's that I don't think I'll be able to cope once I see it with my own eyes.

I catch glimpses though.

My wife took the car today. I suppose she's at some sort of party. I had to walk to work, it's not too far though. I guess I need the exercise anyway.

My boss actually called me up on the way there too. There's some sort of meeting with the higher ups going on this week… something about the holiday season and sales and the like. I'm not sure why they invited me along. I'm not really involved in that, I don't think...It might be fun though. I've never been in the presentation room before so that's a bit of a novelty. Up until this point, any "meetings" I've been to were just phone calls or skype meetings.

My daughter gave me another book today. I'm not sure where she's getting them from, I haven't bothered to ask. It's called "Being and Time." I guess it's a science book? It's very long though, how thoughtful of her. Maybe it'll be an interesting read. I keep catching her in my room looking through my papers. I guess she's trying to figure out what my interests are.

...

I don't know who these people are.

I can't even figure out where I am.

What state I'm in, what city I'm in... I don't even know what these people's names are, and this girl that sleeps beside me is not my wife.

I still remember my wife.

I still remember her brown hair, her blue eyes. Her face was plain but elegant, she never wore pounds of makeup like this. Who does this woman think I am? She pretends to be my wife, she talks to me in these loving ways and doesn't drop the act.

To Hell if it's not an act.

And my job?? I've never worked in insurance a day in my life! I was a teacher, I taught a class of third graders back in Redmond. This isn't Redmond; the air here is too dry, the trees here are all maple and apple trees. I can't find maps anywhere; nobody here knows what a GPS is. I haven't asked anybody where I am yet. How can you ask that? Who are these people? Why do they say they recognize me when I don't know any of their names?

But I just keep on going to work every day. I type nonsense into my computer and answer phone calls. I file reports and forward emails to other people. I'm not sure what all these files are about or where they go. I never bothered reading them. They just need signatures and dates, and sometimes they need some names in some places. My boss has been very considerate; I've even gotten some raises. I'm not entirely sure what to with the money though. It's my wife who handles all that.

It's so hard not to feel overwhelmed by it all... but what is panicking going to get me? I just need to get enough money to take a flight to Redmond. Maybe I'll tell them it's a business trip or a personal getaway. Lord knows I need a break.

My wife keeps saying she wants to have another child. She brings it up incessantly; at dinner, when we're in bed. I don't want a child with this woman. She's not my wife, she's too vacant and her eyes are too glossy. But she thinks she's my wife.

She thinks that other girl is my daughter too.

This morning I had to walk to work again. My wife took the car to her sister's place...it's fine though. Work isn't too far away from the house.

I had to wake up a lot earlier to get to the meeting today. Nothing really interesting happened though, they sent me to get some coffee. When I got back they were in the middle of some topic that I didn't really understand. I just sort of sunk into my seat. Nobody ever addressed me after that.

The guy who works just next to me gave me a pencil mug today. I don't really know a single thing about him so it's weird that he went out of his way. It already had some pencils in it, and red bulky text saying "KEEP IT UP, JERRY!"

My name isn't Jerry. I'm sure that's just a mistake though. Maybe he meant to give it to someone else and was too ashamed to take it back from me.

My daughter gave me another book again. It's the Quran. I don't really have any interest in reading it. I guess it'll just stay on my shelf... She said it was a "belated birthday present." My birthday's in January. I'm not sure why she didn't just wait. I guess it was a nice gesture though.

I got home pretty late today. My wife was still at her sister's. I just made myself a sandwich and took “Being and Time” off the shelf. I wanted to read some of it, but it was all in German.

I caught another glimpse of my hands today, they looked even worse than before. Hairy and coarse. I don't know why my fingers are so thick, maybe they've been swollen? I don't feel confident enough in the doctors here to let them treat it.

I actually got to drive to work today. I got stuck in traffic, though. My boss didn't say anything about me being late, so I just didn't say anything either. I'm sure it'll come out of my salary anyway.

The mug on my desk doesn't say Jerry anymore. It just says "KEEP IT UP!" I guess he must have noticed his mistake.

My wife had to go to a dinner at her boss's house. I gave her a ride and also sold “Being and Time” at a bookstore. I didn't pick up any other books though. I just looked at a few.

I wonder who's been substituting my class. I probably don't have the job anymore…After this long of an unannounced leave? They definitely fired me. When I get back I'll have to move to a different district if they don't hire me back.

What the hell is going on here?

My daughter bought me another book today, she said it was just out of her love. It's some kind of joke book called "Laughing Together".

When my wife got back home she had a black eye. I asked her about it but she changed the subject. When she got out of the bathroom it was gone though, so it must have just been makeup. I also told her I wanted to go on a personal vacation. She told me she wanted a kid and the conversation ended.

My wife was already asleep when I went to bed tonight. She was still wearing makeup.

I had to walk again. I don't know where my wife took the car to this time. I wish she'd tell me these things in advance.

I was invited to another meeting. This one has a lot more higher-ups than the last, it's a lot bigger. I'm not sure how I feel about that.

I keep getting distracted at work rubbing my hands together. They're even drier.

I didn't get to read the joke book before my daughter returned it and got me a globe instead. I put it in my study, it looks nice but the continents are all in the wrong places. Where is she getting all this money from? Shouldn’t she be going to school? Where even is the school anyway?

I think my wife is having an affair. She keeps leaving and coming back with new fancy things like coats and makeup. So be it. She's not my real wife.

My wife wasn't at home when I woke up. The car was still here though. I made myself some bread and cheese for breakfast.

As I was driving to work I kept getting caught up staring at my arms. I think I've figured it out. They don’t look like my arms. I don't know what to make of that.

I went to the meeting today. But there weren't any seats for me to sit in. I didn't bother asking for one, I just left.

I guess I sort of faintly saw my reflection in one of the windows, before I finally went to the bathroom to look in the mirror.

My face was covered in cuts and bruises. Why did nobody ever say anything about this? My hair was combed and slicked back, my chin clean-shaven and I stared back at me with intense and vacant eyes. I covered my face and ran into the stall.

That man in the mirror was not me. His eyes were green, and mine are brown. I have freckles and a short thick brown mustache. What happened to my face? Am I insane?

Am I dreaming?

I banged my arms against the sides of the stall and felt nothing.

...No.

I slapped my wrists, I started dunking my hands in the toilet, I ran to the sink and poured water over my face, washing my arms and chest. But every time I looked back up, that face stared back at me.

I started to scream.

The door on one of the stalls started banging loudly and I fell backwards into the stall behind me. I felt like I was going to be sick. This can't be happening.

The other stall door kept banging and banging. I sat down on the floor and closed my eyes, plunging myself into darkness.

---------

A voice from the other stall asked if I was alright.

I looked under the stall walls and saw somebody's feet. Some guy in there started buckling up his pants and flushed the toilet under him. He walked over to my stall at a brisk pace and opened the door.

I stared down at his shoes as I stood up on my knees. When I looked up at his eyes, he grinned at me and asked what had happened.

I bolted out of the bathroom and rushed into an elevator. The man's face looked exactly the same as that in the mirror.

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