The Truth of the Situation I
Suddenly finding herself sitting on the couch, in the middle of the living room, Carol was mostly confused.
“Honey?” a familiar voice called out. “Breakfast is ready.”
She recognized the house, that was for sure. The wallpaper wasn’t the flowery pattern that she remembered, it was just flat beige, but the closets were situated in perfectly familiar locations. The television was the one she had bought a year ago during Black Friday, but the gaming console shouldn’t really be there. She hadn’t ever played video games. Not once in her life.
“Honey? C’mon, it’ll get cold.”
Most of all, she lived alone.
While the voice sounded familiar, or rather, felt that way, Carol was sure that she didn’t know the man standing in her kitchen, talking to her so casually.
He looked at her like a husband would a wife. “C’mon, Carol, it’s easier to talk over a nice pair of eggs. I made them just how you like ’em.”
Standing up, she approached, her weariness a bit dissipated by his familiarity. She looked down at the eggs. Indeed, Carol liked her eggs well done with a smidgen of oregano, and that wasn’t something that a lot of people should know.
Something must be wrong with me, Carol began thinking, looking up at the man with suspicion. Maybe… maybe my memory’s suffered some kind of accident. Amnesia or something?
The man was handsome, to be sure. With skin mildly tanned under slick blond hair, his shrewd green eyes peered at her with confidence and affection. They glistened behind spectacles that looked smart on his round face, and she couldn’t help but notice how he had touched up a bit with make-up. Nothing special, just moisturizing cream plus lip ointment. Outside of that, he was dressed in a neatly buttoned shirt and a pair of jeans that fit him perfectly.
While Carol might not remember being in a relationship with him, she could have definitely made worse choices.
“Sit down, Carol,” he kindly invited.
Still, she wasn’t that naïve. “Why? I don’t remember you.”
“Yeah, but you know me, right? Trust me, I’ll explain, but I think it’s easier if we’re sitting down.” With that said, he pulled up his chair and sat down.
Carol figured he had purposefully set their plates on opposite sides of the long table, which she also did not remember getting.
Sitting down, the smell of the breakfast soothed her nostrils, and a few her worries. It was very likely that Carol had suffered some memory issues. Her boyfriend was then filling her in every time she needed, the caring soul that he was. At least, that’s what the man looked like.
“I’m Kevin,” he said with a pleasant nod. “We’ve been living together for a while now.”
Carol realized that she should have guessed as much from the state of the bedroom, but the problem was that she hadn’t woken up there. Looking back at it even though it was around the corner of a hall, she wondered why that might be.
“What is it?” Kevin asked calmly.
“I… I just,” Carol mumbled, and looked around herself. She didn’t feel like anything was wrong, or that there was something that she couldn’t remember. She wondered if that was normal.
“It’s totally natural to be confused, Carol,” Kevin granted. “We go through these things sometimes, and it’s totally my fault. I just really want us to work out, but it’s very tricky to find out how.”
While his tone was perfectly friendly and genuine, there was something to what he said that creeped her out. Carol watched him with a frown, wondering what he meant.
He caught on to her expectation. “I’ll explain. See, I’ve got the power to manipulate other people’s memories.”
Carol flinched back. It was impossible information, but it resonated with her in a way she couldn’t explain. It felt like the truth connecting every mystery in her mind. Mysteries that she wasn’t even aware of, rationally.
“Did… did you do something to me?” Carol asked, afraid of the answer.
Kevin gave her a smile utterly absent of malice. “I did a lot. Just now, I cleaned out every memory you’ve made since we met, Carol, essentially bringing you back to… let’s call it, to your original state. When you were alone and without much going on. No great passions, no hobbies,” he said, leaning his head to the side.
Carol looked over to the end of the living room, which was connected to the kitchen, and saw a glass sculpture. She knew it at once. It was the tree next to her parent’s home where she had shared her first kiss with her first crush. They were both long in the past. It had leafs carved out pretty well, but she had even carved the little message that the child couple had carved into the tree trunk, all those years ago. It was remarkably well done, and it was something only she would have been able to do.
The terrifying thing about it was that Carol had never really gotten into glass sculpting.
“Or me,” Kevin said, calling her attention.
Looking, Carol found Kevin lifting up a framed picture for her to see. It was of Carol and Kevin standing in line for something, sharing a kiss. People were behind them cheering.
Carol’s skin crawled with a million bad feelings, none of which she would ever be able to describe.
She considered running, but that sweet voice cut into her will and robbed her legs of strength. “Erasing’s easy, but I can make memories too. It’s a lot more work, but you’re more than worth the trouble, Carol. To see you happy like this is worth everything.”
“You...” Carol swallowed a lump of anxiety. “That’s impossible. This is some kind of trick, right? You… you just drugged me or something. That’s -- that’s just an actress that looks like me.”
Kevin smiled happily, putting the framed picture down on the table. He pulled up his phone. He took only a few seconds to find what he wanted to show her, which all but gave her the impression that he had prepared everything beforehand. The framed picture, the seating position to look at the glass statue, and now the video on the phone.
“No tricks,” Kevin said, “this is real. We’re real.”