I dreamt that you came back. In the morning, I woke up in your body.
This is your hair across my face. These are your eyes, set inches below the level of mine. These are your breasts, sitting heavy on my chest. This is your house, a place I haven’t been for months since I packed up the few boxes of my things you still had. This is you looking back at me in the mirror, concerned.
I try to recall any of her recent thoughts that I may have received in this unintentional body snatching. All I remember are my own memories, looking at porn before going to bed at four in the morning. A disappointed expression flashes across her face, my face. Our face?
This is your phone in my hand. This is my own number I’m calling.
This is my voice I hear on the other end of the phone.
This is your voice coming out of my mouth, which is also yours. Your teeth taste funny.
“How are you? We haven’t talked in months. I thought you hated talking on the phone.”
“I do. I mean, she does. We do. I do. I am her now, but I was you.” I’m getting frustrated. “I don’t know what’s going on.”
“What are you talking about?”
I think about what I’d want to hear. What I’d want her to say to me. I guess now that I am her, I can do what I’d want her to do.
“I want you back.” I cough a little.
“I’m coming to see you. I’ll be there in 20 minutes.”
“O-okay. I’ll see you soon!”
I can hear the joy in his voice. My voice. The voice that used to be mine. Now hers is mine.
I urinate sitting down. I wipe after, for the first time. I hit the flusher, which is at a much more convenient height. I consider the idea of tampons.
I get in her car. My car. The seat is pulled up close to the wheel. My legs aren’t as long as they were last night. I guess they never will be again.
I am pulling out of her driveway, slowly, as if watching from a distance. I can’t help but feel guilty. But for what?
I am pulling into my driveway, which is not my driveway anymore. I am walking up to my door, which is not my door anymore, and ringing the doorbell, something I’ve never actually done before. Something she’s done before. Something I’ve done.
I- he answers the door. He looks as I expected myself to. Like usual. He looks so happy. I guess I’m happy for him too, as myself. If she were in my body, would she do the same thing? I briefly wonder if that’s what has happened, that she is in my body as I am in hers, but my doubts are dashed quickly; he says I’m walking funny. I’m not used to this body yet. He walks like he always does, like I always did. It’s not her. It’s just me under those clothes and bones.
This is me holding hands with myself. This is me making a selfish, vile sacrifice to ensure myself, as the original me, happiness.
This is me having sex with myself, realizing now how ugly I look when I cum, what horrible grunts I make.
This is me cleaning myself in the bathroom, remembering I am on birth control and he doesn’t like to use condoms, grimacing.
This is me answering calls from her work, asking why I haven’t been in for so long. This is me telling them I quit; I don’t know how to pick up the profession she was in; I have retained none of her memories or skills. This is me getting a job at a bookstore, part time, for the 30% discount.
This is me selling my house, her house, for the cheapest and fastest price offered. There is nothing there for her anymore. Nothing there for me.
This is me five weeks later, doing the laundry and watching movies, brushing against my old hand as I reach for more popcorn.
This is me looking at him every morning, breathing softly, wondering if he knows. Wondering if I can keep this up forever. No longer wondering why she left me in the first place. He passed out, drunk, while clownishly complaining about ‘corporate America’ again, something of which he has no real knowledge. I’m a ridiculous mess.
This is me realizing I can never walk away from myself, to lead another life wholly separate from the one I once had. This is me six months later, engaged to myself.
This is me at my wedding, pretending I know her family intimately, trying not to shoot yearning glances at my own parents, knowing I will never be able to tell them I love them and have it mean what it used to, ever again. He tells me I look ‘absolutely gorgeous’, as I knew he would. It’s something I used to tell her a lot. He used to tell me. He smiles genuinely and I smile back as convincingly as I can. I’m truly happy for me.
This is me three years later, spitting up blowjobs in the sink and smiling in an unspoken exchange for dinner at my favorite restaurant, with desert, trying to keep the romance alive.
This is my child, cradled in my arms in the hospital bed. He looks like me. Both of me. He looks like God. He looks like the holocaust of my souls. His life will be a one sided argument, two parents of like mind and spirit. No good cop, bad cop. No ‘ask your mother.’ No woman’s perspective on life. Just a confused youth under the rule of identical fathers.
This is me, resigning to a life of myself twice over, living out a “what if” theory nightmare. I am the maiden, he is my star youth suitor, fool as he may be, and I have chosen the leaden casket. It’s a shame I never had a preference for more precious metals.