I walked through the door and everything was different. “Hi honey,” it sounded like my wife, but it it’s my wife. Everything is different, including her. Her hair is falling in a way not like it usually does, like, maybe more to the left? I don’t know, I can’t really articulate it, but this is all just slightly off, I’m looking at her, and it’s not right.
And her shirt, I’ve definitely seen that t-shirt before, it’s one of mine, or a pretty close facsimile of a shirt that I’d received like ten years ago at college, at some club, or one of the club fairs, one of the student groups was giving out free t-shirts to people that signed up for their email list. I’d never worn it, I think it was an XL, but my wife always wears these old oversized t-shirts around the house. Not this one though, it was … was the lettering off? I couldn’t tell if my shirt, like my real shirt, if there wasn’t maybe a hole under the left arm.
But it was definitely different. “What’s wrong?” this lady asks me, and I didn’t want to act not natural, in case whoever set this whole thing up was maybe looking for me to act all convinced. But I didn’t know what to say, it was like trying to smile a natural smile for a photograph, but you can’t fake it, you’re really trying but it looks crooked, I felt like any words that would have come out of my mouth right now would have been the same, it would have been a crooked giveaway. And this dog came up to me, again, it couldn’t have been my dog. They’re about the same size, yes, but the way my dog moves his feet when he comes over to say hi to me when I get home, it’s just, it’s not the same way, the pitter-patter pattern is … could this be like a robot?
No, just different. Is that clock on the wall, wasn’t it like five minutes behind? It’s also … it had to be. I knew that I could only look at it like a guide to the time, not as an actual indicator the current minute, but I’m looking at my watch, could this lady have fixed the clock? Or is this a completely different house? Should I walk back outside?
Or would that be too much? “I’m doing great,” I tell her, I think that sounded close enough, “You’re hungry?” I ask, hoping to draw something out of her, anything, maybe if she talks a little more I’ll be able to put my finger on exactly what’s different here. I mean, she obviously knows me. And I’m supposed to know her, right? What am I missing?
“Are you OK? You’re acting different,” she tells me. I’m acting different? Maybe that’s part of her trap. Is it too late to get out of here? “Listen, I think I dropped my wallet back at the corner, I’m going to go to check real quick,” I finish the sentence as I’m already out the door, she says something to my back but I’m gone, walking down the block, not running, I don’t want to give myself away, but definitely out.
I take out my phone to call, I don’t know who, maybe there’s an email, maybe a text message or something, some clue. But this looks different too, my phone, like the operating system got one of those really minor updates, sometimes when you wake up in the morning, you’re phone tells you that it enhanced this or tweaked that and, you can kind of tell but not really, and that’s what this was like, only I couldn’t for certain be sure as to what changes were made.
Was this my phone? Could whoever have switched around my house and my wife and my dog somehow have gotten into my pocket while I was at work? I didn’t leave this thing on my desk, had I? I don’t think so, but was I positive, was I absolutely sure? I wasn’t really sure about anything, like this block, or where I was, everything should have been the same, but nothing looked like it was supposed to look, the stores, the cars on the street, the money in my pocket, everything looked kind of off, just a little not right, everything was just different.