Haeleigh Bayle, Editor

The year was 1987.

I don’t know what day, but I know the year. I remember hearing the crunching of leaves under my feet as I walked up the stairs to my house. My over-sized, multi-colored sweater with my pastel pink leggings blocked some of the harsh winds on the fall afternoon. I do not remember much else, but I try without success each day to recall what happened that day in 1987. It’s odd, the way you can be trapped inside your own body, tormenting yourself each day.

I know my name of course, Jessica Lewis, but I don’t know who I am. I’ve been living and breathing for the past 32 years, but I have simply been going through the motions. I see all these young girls walking down the streets of New York City, and I can’t help but be slightly jealous. They know who they are and what they want in life, I’ve spent the past 32 years trying to catch up. I had two beautiful kids with my husband and now have four grandchildren, however I simply cannot help but think: What if that day in 1987 never happened?

I guess I should go back and explain a bit more so that you aren’t left completely clueless. This is the recount I had been told many times by my parents, whom I lived with at the time:

I walked wearily up the stairs to the front door after I had come home from a date. My mom asked how it went and all I said was, “It was okay I guess. The guy was a little strange though. Another failed date is all.” I shuffled up the stairs and to my room, and plopped down onto my bed. Eventually my mother called me down for dinner, to which she had made my favorite food, chicken and rice, in hopes to lift my spirits. While eating dinner, my mom and dad noticed I broke out into a cold sweat.

“Is everything okay Jessica?” he asked.

“No. I’m sick of being labeled as ‘that kid’ who still lives with her parents at 27 without a job and no husband. What exactly is wrong with me?”

According to my mother, my dad went into a whole long discussion with me about how I needed to just relax and maybe move into my own place to really “get out into the world.” In the middle of his discussion, however, my eyes rolled to the back of my head and I dropped hard to the floor. My mom recounted sprinting to the home phone and dialing 911 as fast as she possibly could. She gave our address and hung up, begging the medics to drive as fast as possible. Meanwhile, my dad was trying to prop me up and feel for a pulse. To save many details I’ll just hurry and summarize it by saying I flatlined for a good minute before the doctors got my heart beating again.

I remained in a deep coma for five years. The doctors said there was no way I would ever wake up, but my parents were determined to keep me going. They paid every last penny they had to keep me going. The day I woke up was the day my parents filed for bankruptcy. I awoke with no warning, my mom said. It was a warm spring day, and the frost had just melted off of the grass when I awoke. When I awoke I did not know who I was, where I was, or who my parents were. After regaining some recollection of my parents and the ability to move around and pass cognitive tests, I was taken home. And now here I am 32 years later, old and wishing that I could just remember why I went on the date, who was there, and why I thought the man was so strange. More importantly, however, did the man on the date have something to do with my long coma?

I awoke one morning to a faint scratching sound. I thought nothing of it until the scratching grew louder. I quickly sat up in bed and looked around. My heart started to race. I was back in my bedroom at my parents’ house…

I felt as if I was floating on air and soon realized I must have been having an “out-of-body” experience because I in fact was moving around without using my legs. I watched as my younger self sat up in bed to the sound of my alarm and trudged out of bed. It was then that I felt myself fast-forwarding in time and moving to a new location to see myself sitting in a small diner and what looks to be like waiting for someone. “I wonder who I was waiting for?” I thought.

Moments later a tall man wearing rather dark clothing approached the table and asked to sit down. My younger and much more lively self warily smiled and gave a curt nod. He reached across the table and held out his hand for a handshake. In that moment, I was snapped into my younger self’s body and found myself shaking this man’s hand. He looked old…yet young at the same time. I cocked an eyebrow. To that, he gave a wide smile. “You must be very confused.”

“Very…” I replied shortly.

“Thankfully, I can explain.” He paused for a brief moment before continuing. “You see, I met you here in this exact spot about 37 years ago. You don’t remember this conversation because I didn’t want you to remember it.” He let that sink in and my mind reeled with questions and anger.

“You what?” I sneered.

“I simply did not want you to remember this conversation for this sole reason. I told you the day you would die in hopes that you would live life and instill purpose. Unfortunately, that did not happen.”

“What…” I gulped. “What day will I die?”

“September 15, 1987.”

My stomach dropped to my feet, and I could hardly breathe. “1987…? So you mean, I’ve been dead for 37 years?”

“A shame, but yes.”

“Then what have I been doing for the past 37 years?”


“Waiting? For what?”


My eyes grew watery and my heart heavy. I didn’t know who I was all of this time because I wasn’t me. My husband, my kids, and my grandkids were all some sick joke. I looked with fear at this strange man, but all he could offer me was a gentle hand on my frozen, outstretched arm. Suddenly, everything went dark and the only thing I heard were soft chimes in the distance.