Jessie woke up to two small feet on her face. Her body was pushed to the very edge of her mattress and she really had to pee.
The room was hangover bright but she didn’t recall drinking at all last night. Also, this was not her room.
Also, WHY WERE THERE TWO SMALL FEET ON HER FACE?
And while Jessie would really appreciate the answer to that mystery, she felt as if she were about to wet herself so she made a game time decision to first void her bladder THEN determine the why about the feet.
She slowly nudged the feet off her face and then tried to sit up. Unfortunately, she couldn’t because there was an enormous stomach in her way.
Her enormous stomach.
She stared at her swollen belly for a good long while, mind blank. Finally, Jessie pat her hands all over her body. First, her face. Then her arms, thighs, and at last, the offending mound of flesh. It was hard and taut and definitely hers.
As if in response to her unasked question, something from INSIDE her pushed and pressed OUT and Jessie saw her belly move. And then, that something smashed into her bladder as well as her ribs at the same time and she somehow rolled off the edge of the mattress and
chose a logical direction to find a toilet.
Thankfully, there were only so many layouts a living space could have and thanks to her seventeen years of life experience, she had lurched in the correct general direction of a bathroom.
She peed. For a long time. So long, in fact, that Jessie wondered if she was dreaming because those were the dreams that caused an immediate panic upon awakening and surely she must be dreaming because she seemed hugely pregnant and apparently, also had a small child attached to the two small feet she had found on her face not five minutes ago and —
Oh. She was done peeing.
Pee dreams never ended with being done peeing.
This did not bode well.
As Jessie waddled (OMG SHE WAS WADDLING) back to examine the small human in bed, she took note of her surroundings. This was clearly the master bedroom of a house. And if she were not mistaken, there would likely be a mirror in this said house. She waddled back to the bathroom and looked in the mirror.
It was not her face that stared back.
Well, that was not entirely true. The face certainly looked like her – but in a tired, OLD sort of way. And her body. Her body looked as if she swallowed a basketball.
This could not be real.
She heard the rapid pattering of feet and the door to her room opening. The knot in her gut told her what was happening but still, she was not prepared. Two additional small humans – a taller boy and a shorter girl – came into view complaining in Chinglish that there were no more bars left and whining about something called an eye pad and if they could watch English videos because they had already watched Chinese videos and —
Jessie did some quick math. One kid in the bed who sounded as if he was no longer sleeping.
Two progressively larger kids in her bathroom and apparently, ANOTHER kid inside her.
She swallowed. Oh, God. The children were still yapping away and she had not been paying any sort of attention.
She needed to sit down.
She staggered past the children back towards the bed, flopped gracelessly onto the mattress, and shut her eyes. She counted slowly to ten. Then to twenty.
Jessie decided to count all the way to one hundred but when she opened her eyes, she was still in the room that was not hers, surrounded by children that were not hers, impregnated with a baby that was not hers.
She closed her eyes again.
Jessie did not want to acknowledge those words. If she ignored them long enough then perhaps she wouldn’t really be their mother doing whatever mothers do.
What time was it? Shouldn’t she be at work? Shouldn’t these children be at school? Who was going to keep these children alive? Who was she married to? How was she going to figure out what to do without making everyone think she was crazy? And most importantly, how was she going to get back to her timeline and start her second quarter at UCLA?
She summoned the internal strength to look around for an alarm clock. And there it was.
She didn’t even know their names.
Virginia Duan is an author/writer and incapable of writing in brief. She swears. A lot. She also finds it almost impossible to refrain from commenting online for the sole purpose of making people admit they are idiots. Fatal flaw is fatal.