My husband and I have this weird habit – wait, come back! Not that kind of weird. It’s the doesn’t-make-sense-but-you-do-it-anyway kind of weird habit. Ever since we moved into our house a little over three years ago, we’ve had this compulsion to look out the windows in our bedroom before going to bed at night. And when we get up during the night. And when we get up in the morning.
I suppose in the beginning, it was just a natural curiosity to check out the neighborhood, but now, more than three years later, we should know what’s generally out there. Still, for some reason, the compulsion remains.
A few weeks ago, while getting ready for bed, I paid tribute to our obsession and peeked out the window on my way into the bathroom for a final potty break for the night. The moon was full and bright, brighter than I’ve seen in a long time. I gawked at it, fascinated, before continuing with my business. I flipped on the bathroom light, and when my gaze caught the person in the mirror, I jerked.
It was me—of course!—but it ... wasn’t. I don’t know how to explain it, but it was like I was looking at someone else in the mirror. Like I recognized the face—the bone structure, the coloring—but the person, the soul inside, was a stranger. Very odd. It gave me the creeps, big time. But I shook it off and continued on with my nightly rituals.
When I crawled into bed a few minutes later, my hubby flipped over to give me a good-night kiss. I looked at him, and I jerked.
It was him—of course!—but it wasn’t. Just like with my image in the mirror, I recognized his face, but I felt a terrible void when I tried to connect that picture with the person inside. Rationally, I knew it was my husband, the man I’d married when I was barely legal, the man who’d fathered my two sons and who’d stood with me through all the storms over the years. Our lips met. I recognized the touch, the texture, the same way I recognized his unique scent, and told myself to snap out of it.
Still, after I lay my head on the pillow, I couldn’t stop staring at him as he drifted off to sleep. No matter how hard I squinted, no matter how many memories I dredged up, from our first meeting to dinner that night, the sensation remained that I was sleeping with a stranger.
For a long while I lay awake, my heart slamming against my ribs. Was I losing my mind? Had some cosmic shift in the space-time continuum transported me to an alternate universe? Finally, I convinced myself that the woman in the mirror must know the man in the bed, so I turned over and cuddled next to him, and I fell asleep.
In the morning, all was well. I was me, and he was him, but the terror of the night remained, shadowed in the recesses of my mind. Had I myself fallen victim to Full Moon Madness? Was the whole thing a dream? I’ll never know. I only know that the brain is a powerful organ—more powerful than we know, I’m sure—and if nothing else, mine was playing games that night.
Sweet dreams, everyone!
Leah writes stories of romance and suspense, and the enduring power of love. Watch for her latest story, Christmas Dance, this holiday season.
Visit Leah at www.leahstjames.com.