When Michelle woke up, she was lying in bed with her favorite old comforter pulled up to her chin. Early morning sunlight peeked through the blinds, casting amber squares across the wall. She could hear someone moving about in the kitchen, clinking utensils against pans, opening and closing cupboard doors. She rubbed her eyes and stretched, thinking about that peculiar dream. Then the bedroom door opened and Billy walked into the room with a plate balanced carefully upon a cup of coffee. He smiled at her as he walked slowly to her side of the bed, careful to keep the plate from tipping over. When he reached her, he removed the plate and set it on the nightstand. She glanced at the bagel and fresh fruit, arranged artistically on the plate. Billy always said, “Presentation is everything.”
Michelle realized she had been holding her breath since he entered the room. She took a deep breath, hoping words would come, but they refused. Her hands moved to her throat. Had Billy actually choked her or did she dream the entire thing?
“You okay, Meesh?” His expression showed nothing but love and concern. “Sore throat?”
“Billy?” Her voice was barely a whisper and she thought she sounded like someone else. Maybe she did have a sore throat after all. It was definitely scratchy. Outside the window, she heard a faint beeping sound. Billy didn’t seem to notice. “Maybe something softer?” He grinned. “Ice cream?”
“For breakfast?” Michelle croaked. She cleared her throat. “Ugh, sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong.”
“Don’t worry about a thing. Dr. Adams is on the case.” He winked and picked up the plate and left the bedroom.
Michelle got up and shuffled to the bathroom. When she caught her reflection in the mirror, she stopped abruptly. The woman looking back at her was several years younger with blonde hair that was at least 5 inches longer than it should have been. Her heart began to pound hard and she felt dizzy. She braced herself against the vanity and closed her eyes. She had short dark hair; she was sure of that! She remembered changing her hairstyle about a year after Billy…
Her legs failed to support her when reality began to sink in so she sat down on the edge of the tub. Billy had died several years ago. She looked back up at her reflection in the mirror. What she saw was the woman she had been before he died. That wasn’t half as weird as the fact that her dead husband was alive and well and in the kitchen.