Who am I?
Seeing as I’m delving into the whole identity crisis, I feel as though this question is relevant. Who am I? And when you ask yourself this question you might answer with the following information: name, age, job, where you live etc. And though these things describe you in some aspect, they don’t really answer the question. I refer to myself as a writer, despite the fact that I don’t get paid to write. I am a writer because it is the thing I love the most, I’m a writer because I can hardly go two hours without thinking of a line for a poem I haven’t written yet. Just because it isn’t my job title doesn’t mean it’s not who I am. Maybe it’s the question that’s not accurate, instead of “Who am I?” maybe the question should be “What do I love?” because a person’s passions reveal more about them than their name and age.
So instead of answering the question “Who am I?” I’m going to answer the question “What do I love?”
I love my family, my boyfriend, my friends. I love to write, to create, to make things. I love travelling the world, experiencing new cultures and trying the local food. I love curling up on the sofa with a good book or movie and a cup of tea.
So that’s me.
Now onto my challenge, I hope you enjoy:
Birdsong floated into my dreary mind, I rolled over and wrapped the blanket tight around my shoulders. Crisp winter air seemed to have snuck in through cracks in the window. The musky scent of a man’s aftershave disrupted my thoughts. I slowly opened my sleep heavy eyes, the harsh morning light hurt my head, once they’d adjusted I could see a clean room, with white-washed oak furniture. What I had thought was birdsong was in reality the caw of seagulls, as they tunelessly sang to the shushing of the ocean. Why was I near the ocean? The longer I looked around the room the more unfamiliar it became. I stood slowly, taking care not to make the floorboards creak. I was wearing knickers and a large men’s t-shirt. My heart rate increased, what was I doing here? I needed to get out of here as soon as I could, but first I’d need clothes. I pulled draws open until I found a pair of jeans and a woolly jumper, I put them on in quick succession and was surprised at how well this woman’s clothes fitted me. Whoever she was, did I sleep with her husband? Was I roofied? Why could I not remember anything? Shoes were my next challenge, she didn’t seem to keep any in her room, I assumed she was a clean freak with the lack of colour and white everything. So shoes would be downstairs, I pressed my ear to the floorboards, I could hear someone rustling, humming as though they weren’t holding someone against their will upstairs!
“Honey, are you coming down? I’ve made breakfast! I hope pancakes are okay? I was going to make you a bacon sarnie but we’ve run out of bread.” a deep melodic voice called up. Oh God! I thought, Him and his wife are in this together, the sickos! I listened for longer but didn’t hear a reply.
“Honey? Emma? You awake?” he shouted again, this time with a touch of concern. A knot formed in my stomach, a loop playing in my head, repeating the name, Emma, Emma. Emma was my name. Surely it was just a coincidence, I pressed my ear forcefully into the wood, waiting, praying, to hear a woman’s reply. But it never came. What did follow was the soft thud on slippers on stairs. Instinct told me to run, I looked out the windows but there was no way I’d get down without breaking something. The wardrobe was my best bet, I opened the doors and thanked god this couple was not ones for clutter. I got in and swiftly closed the doors with as much stealth as I could. A couple of seconds later I heard the bedroom door open,
“Em?” his voice was louder now, he was so close I could hear his breathing. He walked out and checked other rooms shouting “Emma, where are you?” I could hear his footsteps traipsing back and forth. He came back into the room, his footsteps got louder and I could hear him directly on the other side of the door. My chest constricted and I held my breath so as not to give myself away. But it was too late, the doors opened and the darkness around me evaporated. I curled up in a ball and screamed, not knowing what else to do with myself.
“Emma, what’s wrong, shhh, shh, hey, what happened?” his voice was warm and soothing, I couldn’t hear any malice, it was as though he was genuinely concerned. He crouched down and wrapped his arms around me, his embrace was strong, reassuring but not overpowering. I could feel the muscles in his chest and could smell that same musky scent that woke me.
“Please,” I whimpered, “don’t hurt me” I started crying, because, despite imagining myself as invincible, in reality, I am a coward.
“Hurt you?” he chuckled slightly, “what are you going on about? I’d never hurt you.”
His embrace loosened and he stood up, taking me with him. I looked at him properly now, he had short brown hair, the sides shaved closer to his scalp than the top of his head which was slightly shaggy. His eyes shone like tempered chocolate, they weren’t the eyes of a creep who kept people hostage. He smiled when our eyes met, but then his smile disappeared and a cloud swept across his face. “Why do you look so afraid of me?” he asked. “Emma, what’s wrong?”
“How do you know my name?” I said, my voice croaky. I narrowed my eyes at him.
“What?” he replied.
“How do you know my name? I don’t know you, but you know my name, how?”
“What do you mean you don’t know me? Stop playing Em, this isn’t funny now!”
“HOW DO YOU KNOW MY NAME?” I pushed him away from me, his eyes widened in shock.
“You’re my wife.” he said, his voice softer this time and laced with sadness. “You’re my wife.”
My body slumped to the floor, for some reason I knew he was telling the truth, but I had no recollection of any of this. A photo frame caught my eye, in it was a happy couple with beaming smiles, they looked like they were somewhere in Italy. The woman had blonde hair, blue eyes and a slightly crooked nose from when she fell off the climbing frame at primary school. I ran my finger over the bridge of my nose to feel the scar. This man was telling the truth, he was my husband, but I didn’t even know his name.
“Why can’t I remember?” I asked, not expecting an answer.
Thank you, as always, for reading! I liked writing this piece, it was a tad rushed but fun to write. Let me know if you try any of my writing challenges!