He woke up that morning to warmth

He woke up that morning to warmth

He woke up that morning to warmth.

Why was it so warm? It was December. He shouldn’t have sweat rolling down his temple when it was snowing outside. His feet should be frozen. Was it the heater? Maybe the thermostat was broken again.

When he shifted on his mattress and looked out the window with blurry eyes, he realized it was not December. And this was not his house.

The sun was blazing down on the grass outside, not a hint of frost visible. If it weren’t for the beige curtains blocking the rays of sunlight, his face might’ve melted off in the hours the sun was up. It had to have been the middle of summer with that kind of heat. He didn’t own curtains, though. He’d always had blinds covering his window, but not curtains. The walls of his room were certainly not white, either. He’d painted them blue in middle school.

Whose house was this?

He should’ve felt more panic than he did. It must’ve been the grogginess plaguing his brain that caused him to sit up and scratch his head in bewilderment. The blinking alarm clock on the bedside table told him it was nine o’clock in the morning, and his phone sat beside it. At least he had that. He grabbed the phone and slid to unlock it. There was no password. The first thing he saw was a note opened in the Notes app, and on it read three words.

Check the mirror.

Although he was skeptical, he had nothing better to do in this situation. So, he took the obvious course of action and walked over to the full-length mirror on the opposite wall. There were two post-it notes stuck to the glass, but that wasn’t what caught his attention. It was his face.

It was his face, but it wasn’t. It was an older version of him. It was as if he’d arrived in the future, which was ridiculous to even think about. His eyes fell to the post-it notes under his face’s reflection, hoping for some kind of explanation to put him at ease. Instead, it did the opposite.

You are 21 years old. This is your apartment. You were in a fatal car accident four years ago in December, and you were fortunate to walk away with only a moderate head injury that caused anterograde amnesia. When you go to sleep tonight, you will forget everything you did today. 

On the closet’s bottom shelf is a photo album with pictures and descriptions of all the people you’ve met after 2016. There’s also moments I wish I could remember. Don’t spend too much time looking through it. You’ll just forget it by tomorrow.

There was so much information for him to take in, but the only thing he could focus on was the word “fortunate.” He wasn’t fortunate by any means. He’d rather have lost a limb in that accident, anything but this.

The inability to retain memories past a certain point of time. That’s the definition of misfortune.