My eyelids are heavy as I try to adjust to the dark. Even before the room comes into focus, I know I don’t remember ending up here. I don’t actually recall much of anything. I try to open my mouth. Roof and tongue are sticky, like two pieces of paper with roll on glue between them. It hasn’t been used in a while. Where am I?
Finally, I’m able to focus and have a look around. The walls have vertical-striped wallpaper, and there are little statues on shelves. Cherubs, maybe? Whatever they are, they just add to the confusion and realization of being in a strange place. There are no windows in this room, which seems strange for a bedroom. There are no lights in the ceiling fan; they seem to have been removed. The only light is coming from a lamp on the bedside table. I struggle to make a sound. Coming out as a mixture of moan and grunt, the noise surprisingly didn’t sound familiar either. Seconds later, the door opens, and an older woman enters. She looks about sixty, and the smile on her face genuinely happy, though I don’t know who she is.
“You’re awake. Excellent,” she says. “How are you feeling?” She sits on my left, on the edge of the bed, and puts her palm on my forehead. I have to clear my throat, but I can finally muster words.
“Confused. Where am I?”
“You’re at home, silly. Do you not remember?” She’s still smiling. Why is she still smiling?
“I… can I have something to drink?” I need a moment. She nods, and stands up to leave, her hand grazing my arm in a kind manner. Home? How is this my home if I’ve never been here before? I try desperately to remember any detail at all. Minutes go by, and I find myself staring at every intricacy of the room. The dresser, the bed, the nightstand. All white. I would never own all white furniture. I think.
The happy woman re-enters, with the smile still on her face. She sets a mug and saucer down on the bedside table, and helps me sit up against the headboard. She hands me the mug. Coffee. I hate coffee. I know this for sure. “What’s my name?” I ask. “What’s your name?”
“Your name is Stephen. I’m your wife, Elena. You don’t remember?” The smile…
This all seems out of place. I don’t remember much, but my emotional reactions to the things in the room are developing into disdain. This is not how I would want my house to look. This woman thinks she’s my wife, so why would she decorate a bedroom in this manner? I explain to her how tired I am, and that I believe sleep is the best thing for me right now. She kisses my forehead, and leaves the room.
I have been moving my fingers and toes this whole time. I think I can stand. I can. I move around the room, looking for anything familiar. There’s dust on everything. It’s so dark, even with the lamplight. I try the door handle. It’s unlocked. Why wouldn’t it be unlocked? The door creeps open, and I slowly peek out. There are people. So many people. What is this? I barely get my silent question to register when I hear “Cut!”
The audience claps. Everyone is staring at me. A man comes up to me with a clipboard and headset, and asks for me to follow him. I’m so confused. He’s leading me up to a man with glasses and red Converse shoes. He also has a huge smile on his face. He speaks. “Wow. Great job, Eddie. You were solid gold, man!” Everyone seems to understand the situation but me.
“My name is Eddie? What is going on here?”
The man with the red shoes transitions from pure elation, to confusion. “Jeff, can you get Eddie over to medical? Something’s not right.” Confusion goes to dread. “You’re gonna be fine, okay?”
Over the next three hours, I get the information that answers some questions, but mostly just causes me more anxiety. Apparently, I’m an actor. Even worse, I’m a character actor, willing to do anything for a part. Even sign a waiver which allows some sort of Dr. Jekyll experimental medication to give me temporary amnesia. The director was told this state would only last a few minutes. Someone lied. I am now a blank canvas, hoping my brain will repaint my memories.
My sit down with the director adds to my problems. Red shoes tells me that I’m contractually obligated to finish the movie. They will have to dose me again. And again. And again. The nightmare I’m experiencing. I have to stop this. “I can’t do this again. You don’t know what you guys have done to me. I’m a sixty year old man who can’t remember his grandchildren. If I even have grandchildren.” He has to understand. This mid thirties boy in front of me has seemingly ruined my life. Or rather, I ruined my life by signing a piece of paper. Can I be responsible for signing something I don’t remember?
“Eddie, I need you to relax. Everyone is assuring me you will be fine. The medicine just seems to be affecting you more this time.”