Sunday, May 22, 2011

Urban Fantasy Confession: "8 Hours Are Missing From My Life."


     I’m a normal American mom, with a great husband and 8-year-old twin boys; not exactly a person who strays from the straight and narrow.  I don’t drink, except for a beer or two, and I’ve never had any kind of drugs, at all.  But, I’ve had an experience that doesn’t make sense and sounds like it happened to someone who was stoned.  I assure you that is not the case.
     Okay, because I’m a stay-at-home mom, my usual routine is to get my husband off to work and the kids off to school, and then I run errands before coming home to clean the house and start thinking about what to make for dinner.  As I say, I’m just an ordinary, everyday person.
     Last year, just before Christmas, I decided to mail a couple of gifts to my in-laws before I went grocery shopping.  I thought if I got there just when the post office opened, I’d have a good chance to get in and get out in just a few minutes. So as soon as my family took off for work and school, I jumped in the car and drove to my local post office, about three miles away.  It was a cold morning, with sun breaking through the dark rain clouds once in a while. 
     It was a couple of minutes before when I arrived and parked the car in the near-empty lot.  The building was locked, but I could see a worker hurrying to unlock the heavy front door as I stood there.  He opened the door and smiled at me, saying something like, “You’re the first.”  Then he disappeared.  I remember thinking that he had a strange smell, but I couldn’t exactly place it.
     He was right—I was the first customer.  Nobody else was around!  So I went up to an open spot at the counter, and a postal worker came out.  She took my packages, weighed them, stamped them and put them in the bin for shipment.  She was pleasant, but said very little.  After I paid the tab, I turned to leave the counter.  I couldn’t have been there for more than 10 minutes.
     Suddenly, it seemed that people were everywhere.  The place was just jammed with customers, with long lines of impatient people holding packages of all sizes.  In fact, four counter spots were now open, handling the flow.  I was glad to be going.
     As I walked towards the front door, I glanced out the huge picture windows and noticed how dark it seemed.  More like sunset than early morning.  Something was very wrong.  I glanced at my watch and instantly started to tremble with fear:  it was 4 in the afternoon!  I had been in the post office for more than 8 hours!  Or had I? 
     When I got home, my husband was furious.  He thought I had been carjacked or something.  I tried to explain that I didn’t exactly know what had happened, that I really couldn’t understand it.  He just gave me his “look.” 
     That night, I couldn’t sleep.  All night long, I wondered where 8 hours had gone and what had really happened to me.  I felt okay.  My clothes were still clean.  I had no unusual marks on me.  But to this day, I can’t explain it.
     How can I figure out why 8 hours are missing from my life? And what happened to me during that time?

Mary-Anne in Omaha, Nebraska