I don’t even know what I look like.
I stand abruptly, shoving the desk a few loud inches forward in the process. Everyone in the class turns to face me other than Charlie, because she hasn’t stopped staring at me since I sat down. Her eyes aren’t inquisitive or kind.
Her eyes are accusing.
The teacher glares at me, but doesn’t seem at all surprised by the loss of everyone’s attention to me. She just stands, complacent, waiting for me to announce my reason for the sudden disruption.
I swallow. “Bathroom.” My lips are sticky. My mouth is dry. My mind is wrecked. I don’t wait for permission before I begin to head in that direction. I can feel everyone’s stares as I push through the door.
I go right and make it to the end of the hall without finding a restroom. I backtrack and pass by my classroom door, continuing until I round the corner and find the restroom. I push open the door, hoping for solitude, but someone is standing at the urinal with his back to me. I turn to the sink, but don’t look into the mirror. I stare down at the sink, placing my hands on either side of it, gripping tightly. I inhale.
If I would just look at myself, my reflection could trigger a memory, or maybe just give me a small sense of recognition. Something. Anything.
The guy who was standing at the urinal seconds before is now standing next to me, leaning against a sink with his arms folded. When I glance over at him, he’s glaring at me. His hair is so blond, it’s almost white. His skin is so pale, it reminds me of a jellyfish. Translucent, almost.
I can remember what jellyfish look like, but I have no idea what I’ll find when I look at myself in the mirror?
“You look like shit, Nash,” he says with a smirk.
Everyone else has been calling me Silas. Nash must be my last name. I would check my wallet, but there isn’t one in my pocket. Just a wad of cash. A wallet is one of the first things I looked for after…well, after it happened.
“Not feeling too hot,” I grumble in response.
For a few seconds, the guy doesn’t respond. He just continues to stare at me the same way Charlie was staring at me in class, but with less concern and way more contentment. The guy smirks and pushes off the sink. He stands up straight, but is still about an inch shy of reaching my height. He takes a step forward, and I gather by the look in his eye that he isn’t closing in on me out of concern for my health.
“We still haven’t settled Friday night,” the guy says to me. “Is that why you’re here now?” His nostrils flare when he speaks and his hands drop to his sides, clenching and unclenching twice.
I have a two-second silent debate with myself, aware that if I step away from him, it’ll make me look like a coward. However, I’m also aware that if I step forward, I’ll be challenging him to something I don’t want to deal with right now. He obviously has issues with me and whatever it was that I chose to do Friday night that pissed him off.
I compromise by giving him no reaction whatsoever. Look unaffected.
I lazily move my attention to the sink and turn one of the knobs until a stream of water begins to pour from the faucet. “Save it for the field,” I say. I immediately want to take back those words. I hadn’t considered he might not even play football. I assumed he did based on his size, but if he doesn’t, my comment will have not made a damn bit of sense. I hold my breath and wait for him to correct me, or call me out.
Neither of those things happens.
He stares for a few more seconds, and then he shoulders past me, purposefully bumping me on his way out the door. I cup my hands under the stream of water and take a sip. I wipe my mouth with the back of my hand and glance up. At myself.
At Silas Nash.
What the hell kind of name is that, anyway?
I’m staring, emotionless, into a pair of unfamiliar, dark eyes. I feel as though I’m staring at two eyes I’ve never seen before, despite the fact that I’ve more than likely looked at these eyes on a daily basis since I was old enough to reach a mirror.
I’m as familiar with this person in the reflection as I am with the girl who is—according to some guy named Andrew—the girl I’ve been “banging” for two years now.
I’m as familiar with this person in the reflection as I am with every single aspect of my life right now.
Which is not familiar at all.
“Who are you?” I whisper to him.
The bathroom door begins to open slowly, and my eyes move from my reflection to the reflection of the door. A hand appears, gripping the door. I recognize the sleek, red polish on the tips of her fingers. The girl I’ve been “banging” for more than two years.
I stand up straight and turn to face the door full-on as she peeks around it. When her eyes meet mine, it’s only for two seconds. She glances away, scanning the rest of the bathroom.
“It’s just me,” I say. She nods and makes it the rest of the way through the door, albeit extremely hesitant. I wish I knew how to reassure her that everything is okay so she won’t grow suspicious. I also wish I remembered her, or anything about our relationship, because I want to tell her. I need to tell her. I need for someone else to know, so that I can ask questions.
But how does a guy tell his girlfriend he has no idea who she is? Who he, himself is?
He doesn’t tell her. He pretends, just like he’s been pretending with everyone else.
One hundred silent questions fill her eyes at once, and I immediately want to dodge them all. “I’m fine, Charlie.” I smile at her, because it feels like something I should do. “Just not feeling so hot. Go back to class.”
She doesn’t move.
She doesn’t smile.
She stays where she is, unaffected by my instruction. She reminds me of one of those animals on springs you’d ride on a playground. The kind you push, but they just bounce right back up. I feel like if someone were to shove her shoulders, she’d lean straight back, feet in place, and then bounce right back up again.
I don’t remember what those things are called, but I do make a mental note that I somehow remember them. I’ve made a lot of mental notes in the last three hours.
I’m a senior.
My name is Silas.
Nash might be my last name.
My girlfriend’s name is Charlie.
I play football.
I know what jellyfish look like.
Charlie tilts her head and the corner of her mouth twitches slightly. Her lips part, and for a moment, all I hear are nervous breaths. When she finally forms words, I want to hide from them. I want to tell her to close her eyes and count to twenty until I’m too far away to hear her question.
“What’s my last name, Silas?”
Her voice is like smoke. Soft and wispy and then gone.
I can’t tell if she’s extremely intuitive or if I’m doing a horrible job of covering up the fact that I know nothing. For a moment, I debate whether or not I should tell her. If I tell her and she believes me, she might be able to answer a lot of questions I have. But if I tell her and she doesn’t believe me…
“Babe,” I say with a dismissive laugh. Do I call her babe? “What kind of question is that?”
She lifts the foot I was positive was stuck to the floor, and she takes a step forward. She takes another. She continues toward me until she’s about a foot away; close enough that I can smell her.