I woke up this morning feeling a little younger, like I had just woken up from the longest sleep I ever had. The bedroom was strange. Unfamiliar. I didn't know where I was, nor did I know why I was here. There must have been a party, or a trip to a club or a bar. I must have been pretty drunk last night. Too drunk to remember it all.
I squinted my eyes as a result of the blinding lights escaping through the open window and looked around. The walls were covered with different posters of bands with names I have never heard of and women wearing bikinis who I have never seen in my life. At my left hung a uniform off the back of a closet door—a simple white shirt and a dark blue-coloured pants—with a yellow sticky note. It read: Wake up, sleepyhead with a smiley face at the end. Though, I could make out something else. The clothes were a little familiar, but I was not quite sure. Maybe I have seen it in the mall while I was picking up the groceries or I have seen someone wearing it somewhere. Somewhere I don't know.
I wonder where the owner of the room was. Do I need to worry about him? I imagined him standing at the other side of the room, with a mixture of shock, curiosity and fiery in his eyes, calling me profanities. I wonder how I would defend myself. I took a deep breath. I needed to get out of this room before he does.
I carefully slid out of the covers, trying not to screw it up—after all, sleeping on a stranger's bed is one thing, and the least that I could do is not to burn his room—and sat on the edge of the bed. My head was still heavy, but I tried to shake it off before stepping my bare feet onto the cold landing. The door was ajar, and I checked if someone was around before sliding out. As soon as the cold temperature wrapped my exposed skin, I shivered. It was then that I realized I was topless, and was only wearing red boxers I guessed was his. Not only have I slept in someone's room but I have also worn one of his belongings. I sighed. I ought to be ashamed.
The hallway was deserted. At my left was a room. The door was filled with warning signs and stickers like a normal kid would have. I guessed it must be to his younger brother's. At my right was another, but this time, the door was clean from any stickers, and it was dead silent. There was no sound of life, and the light was off.
I walked silently down the stairs, fearful of making a single noise. I was aware of the voices below, and the sweet aroma lingering in the air. Someone was cooking, and just thinking of it made my stomach growl. No, I stopped myself, that was too much. First, I slept in someone's bed. Second, I have worn his boxers and now, I am going to eat in his own house?
Just then, someone slapped me on the back. I didn't know if it was an attack of knowing a stranger was inside their house, and I waited for more, for a punch or a hard contact on my head. But nothing came.
"Mark, I'm so surprised you're so up this early!" a male voice greeted. At first, I didn't know who he was talking to but I realized he was talking to me. I looked back at him. His face was marked with age, but the glee in his face was evident. His hair was grey, flecked with white. In his hand was a steamy cup of coffee and he was wearing a white shirt, boxers and socks in his feet, probably going to work.
I stood there, staring at him with fear in my eyes. When he saw my expression, his face fell.
"What? Aren't you going to snap at me?" His tone was surprised, but the moment I saw it, it was gone. His face was now blank, expressionless.
I still didn't reply. My breathing was calm, but I could feel my heart pounding. I was shocked, confused. I stepped back, afraid of him. Afraid of what was happening. Afraid of everything.
"Who are you?" I finally found my voice, but turned into a silent whisper. The tears were on the verge of my eyes, threatening to spill. "Where am I? Who am I?"
He gave me a confused look. "What the heck are you talking about?" Then he paused, and mocked laugh. "You're kidding me, right? Nice one, kid, but it didn't work on me."
"Who are you?" I tried again, louder this time. "And who am I?"
"It's not working. Try that to your mother. Maybe she'll believe you."
"I said who are you?" I was growing impatient now. "And who am I?"
He studied me for a minute, and then called his wife.