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Wake Me

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Yewon stirred in bed, head foggy due to sleep, and licked her lips to get that dry feeling off. Her right arm stretched and fell on an empty space. Lowly groaning, Yewon sat up on the bed and rubbed her eyes. She looked to the other side of the bed, neatly done, and frowned. Even the pillow was perfectly fluffed, no depression or wrinkles whatsoever.

Heart picking up a pace in her chest, Yewon threw the covers off her body and winced as her feet hit the cold floor. Her eyes scoundred the tiles, searching for her slippers under the dim light of what she thought was early morning. The white and fluffy pair was carefully placed at the end of the bed and Yewon was a hundred percent sure she didn’t leave it like that the night before.

Her steps were slow and as she slipped her feet in, she felt her heart sink.

Finally looking around, she realized that her room was still hers, but there were a couple of key differences. The curtains were pink and not white, her desk had a mountain of books that she had given away years ago, and, most importantly, there were no pictures on the wall.

No smiley faces of her wife, no photos of their son playing in the mud, no pictures of the three of them holding hands at the aquarium.

Yewon inhaled sharply, a bone-crushing pressure on her heart as she realized that there was no trace of Yuna and Jisung. But that was impossible, it was impossible. Yewon tried to take a deep breath, she tried to make sense of the situation when there was a noise coming from outside. She feverishly laughed. It was a prank! Of course, it was. Her wife and her son were right outside, waiting for her to tell the punch line.

Yewon busted the door open and ran to the living room. “Yuna-yah! Jisung-ah! Come out from wherever you are! You got me--”

And Yewon’s voice died in her throat as she saw the person standing on the kitchen, just a few meters away. It wasn’t Yuna.

“Morning, Yewon, why are you screaming at this hour in the morning?”

Eunbi. Hwang Eunbi, with her blonde hair tied in a bun, wearing pajamas that Yewon never thought she’d see again, was stirring something in the stove.

Impossible.

“You know, I’m just awake ‘cause I got to retake that exam. You didn’t have to wake up,” her friend licked her finger after dipping it in the sauce beside the pan. Eunbi nodded, approving of the taste and, finally, looked at Yewon. She stopped moving. “Uh… you okay?”

“What are you doing here?” Yewon asked, voice no higher than a whimper. “Why are you here?”

Eunbi awkwardly laughed. “What? I live here, you crazy girl. We’re roommates, remember? What is this? Are you trying to pull a prank on me? Look, it’s not my fault that Yerin-eonni got you good last week--”

“We’re not roommates,” Yewon interrupted, “we haven’t been roommates since college.”

Slowly, the mocking expression in Eunbi’s face morphed into a worried one. “Yewon-ah, what are you talking about? I am your roommate. Are you okay?”

Yewon shook her head. “Where’s--where’s Yuna? Are you guys in this together? I don’t know how you did this overnight, but undo it. I’m not having fun. Where’s Jisungie?”

“Again, what are you talking about?” Eunbi turned off the stove, she looked confused and very, very worried. “Who is Yuna? Who is Jisung? What in the hell did you take last night?”

“Who’s--?” Yewon laughed, a crazy-sounding laughter, filled with such despair that made Eunbi take a step back. “My wife and my son! Where are they?!”

“What are you talking about? You don’t have a wife and--a son?” Eunbi had her forehead frowned and, before she could make anymore questions, Yewon cried out.

“My wife Choi Yuna! And my son! How can you be asking me this! You are his fucking godmother!”

Eunbi’s eyes went wide and she contoured the counter with very slow steps. “Yewon-ah, I don’t… I don’t know what you are talking about. Me, a godmother? This… wait, did you have a dream?”

“It wasn’t a dream, it was my fucking life!” Yewon screamed and, grabbing the closest thing she saw, a glass was shattered against a wall. 

“Woah,” Eunbi raised her hands and stopped in her tracks. “Okay, alright, calm down. Take, take a deep breath, will you?”

Yewon was about to bite something back when her eyes finally took in her surroundings. Like her room, there were no pictures on the wall, there wasn’t a TV and there wasn’t a white rug covered in the toys that they were too lazy to pick up before going to sleep. The furniture disposition was wrong , the colors were wrong . On the wooden center table that Eunbi had carried with her when she moved out were the remainings of take-out boxes and pens and pencils and scattered exercise sheets.

There was no way they could’ve changed all that while she slept.

The sinking feeling in her chest grew into a black hole, sucking all of thought and reason of her, along with the little strength on her knees.

Yewon fell to the floor and felt a faint pain on her legs. Eunbi screamed something about glass shards, but she didn’t listen to it.

Where was her wife?

Where was their son?

“Yewon-ah!”

Eunbi took hold of her shoulders and shook her, making her look into Eunbi’s eyes. “You’re scaring me, what’s wrong?!”

Yewon looked to her right, on the wall right next to the door. There was a calendar with her college’s logo. And the year. The year was wrong.

This can’t be, Yewon dryly sobbed. It couldn’t be a dream. Yewon was thirty-eight, she was married to Choi Yuna for ten years and they had adopted Jisung when they celebrated their seventh-year of marriage. Yewon worked in the same company for years, Yuna was a musical producer and she sang for Yewon. Jisung was six, he had trouble talking to others, but he was doing great in school. He liked a lot to play in the mud and with lego blocks. Yuna said he was going to be great, that they were doing great.

Yewon could not be twenty again.

With lethargic movements, she tried to see Eunbi through her blurry vision. 

Was it real?

Eunbi’s touch felt real, the pain in her body felt real.

But Yuna also felt real.

It couldn’t be just a dream.

Could it?