Anna sat up in the bed and yawned. She hadn’t meant to fall asleep, but lying there sleep had taken hold. It was dark out now, the afternoon sun fading into darkness. She felt groggy, and disoriented from her unexpected slumber.
She staggered over to her desk and sat down across from her laptop, still coaxing the sleep out of her eyes and trying to focus on the screen. She opened her email and found it overflowing with items. It had been empty a few hours before, and in frustration, Anna closed the program. She’d answer emails tomorrow. She turned her chair to face her television and flipped it on. One of her favorite sitcoms was on, replaying last week’s episode. She watched and got up to use the bathroom as the show ended. When she returned, she found another episode on. It was the same show, but she’d never seen this episode before. It wasn’t the show’s regular night, so she sat watching the episode and wondering how she could have missed it when it first aired. Oh well, at least she’d seen it now.
When the show ended, she got up and wandered out of her bedroom into the kitchen. She was hungry, but found that the leftovers from yesterday she craved had been eaten, no doubt by her parents who were not home now to yell at. She glanced at the clock and saw it was 8:30 PM. She was surprised her parents would go out without leaving a note, but shrugged it off. She was sitting on the couch in the living room when her mother and father walked through the door. They saw her in the living room, but quickly walked the opposite direction.
“Hey – who ate my salad?!?”, she called out as they passed. She wasn’t going to let them sneak away.
They both walked toward her with the strangest looks on their faces. Half astonished, half scared. Why were they acting like this? It wasn’t the first time she’d called them out on stealing their food, and it wasn’t like she was overly angry – it was more a playful thing than serious.
“What? Neither of you wants to admit it?”, she said with a slight chuckle.
“Anna…. how do you feel?”, her mom asked nervously as her father walked around her, eyeing her as if he hadn’t seen her in months.
“I feel fine Mom… what’s up with you two?”, she said.
“Julie, it might be her – really her”, Anna’s dad said to her mother. Her mother nodded, as tears flowed down her face.
“What’s going on?”, Anna said as her dad sat down next to her.
“Honey, you’ve been… sick… for months now”, he said slowly.
“What do you mean? I woke up from a nap, I feel fine!”, she said.
“What month is it Anna?”, her father asked.
“September”, Anna replied confidently.
“No dear… it’s March”, her dad said in reply.
Anna stared at him in disbelief. It wasn’t until she realized that some of the odd things she’d noticed earlier made sense, and she didn’t remember putting on these particular clothes that morning either.
“What happened?”, she asked quietly.
Her parents explained that she’d been in a sort of shell-shocked existence for months. She’d wake in the morning, go through a regular routine of preparing for her day, eating breakfast, and then simply return to her room and fall asleep again. She’d occasionally be up at night, but wouldn’t say anything, or do anything, except sit for a few moments and then head back to bed. Tonight when they walked in, they assumed she’d do the same, and were shocked when she called out. Her doctors were baffled, but her parents were happy to have her back.
To Anna, however, it was all just a groggy afternoon’s nap.