I know the people reading this probably don't want to hear about Harmon and I having sex any more than my friends do, but we did it last night and when the weird stuff started happening I thought maybe it was because of what we'd done earlier, like everyone who ever said me being with Harmon was gross knew something but doesn't think to warn me.
I think it was around quarter part two in the morning when the changes started. Harmon had zonked out after finishing up and I was reading a mystery (he can kind of be a "there's no point to reading fiction" guy, so I tend to do that after he sleeps) when I started to feel really bloated, way more than I ever do before my period, and all at once. Usually, you sort of notice that feeling as you get up in the morning, or maybe when you know you've eaten too much and it would feel really good to burp or puke or something, but I felt like something was being pumped into me. I sat all the way up, groaning at how my back hurt and wondering if I had lain on the bed wrong or something. My legs felt kind of stiff as I walked to the bathroom, turned on the light and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror.
I don't know what order the changes happen for most people, but what I first saw in the mirror seemed to look like me, only old - or at least, middle-aged, and I thought maybe I was in some sort of weird nightmare where one of the women who flirted with Harmon cast some sort of spell on me when she found out I was his girlfriend rather than his daughter (kind of a recurring thing ever since a friend did a short comic along those lines to show as part of her portfolio). It was weird, but I kind of thought it was in my head and I knew what was going on, until I could see that my eyes were changing color from blue to brown, and my cheekbones were moving, and the top of my nose was climbing up a few millimeters. Soon, the face in the mirror wasn't mine at all, and I screamed.
It was loud enough to wake Harmon up, a whole bunch of kicking arms and legs as he tried to flip himself over and extricate himself from his covers (he tends to sleep on his stomach and pulls the sheets over his head if I'm going to read). When he finally go himself right-side up and seated, I could tell right away that something had happened to him too, because I doubt he's ever had hair long enough to have to pull it out of his eyes, and if it's ever been midnight-black, that was decades ago. It got out of the way when he pushed his sleep mask up above his forehead, though, and the face underneath was a woman about my (real) age, making me scream again.
He started to yell something about who I was and what I was doing in his bathroom, but about halfway through he noticed his hand didn't look right, looked down, and then started frantically unbottoning his pajama top because he must have noticed some weight on his chest, getting just far down enough to see that he had actual breasts before sticking his hand into his pants to find he was all girl. He slid of the side of the bed more gingerly than he probably had to - I guess I noticed the presence of a little stiffness quicker than he saw its absence - and shoved past me to get a look at himself in the mirror before turning and looking at me accusingly. "What did you do to me, bitch?"
"What did I... Harmon, it's me, Lindsey! Whatever happened to you happened to me, only, like, different! Maybe someone is--" I stopped talking for a second as I moved to stand beside him and the image in the mirror struck me. "Whoa, we could be sisters!"
I would definitely be the older sister in that case, but we kind of had the same sort of bone structure, although my face was rounder, the sharp angles his now sported not as distinct on mine. My hair was also brownish and streaked with grey. Heck, now that I looked below the neck, I could see that some of the "bloat" I was feeling had taken up residence in my chest, although it was riding a bit lower than it was for Harmon. Come to think of it, my panties felt kind of tight, so I twisted myself a bit to see that, yeah, I had a fuller backside than I had sported when I'd gotten into bed, and while it was hard to tell with his relatively loose pajamas, it seemed like we had that in common as well, though his was perkier. He snapped at me for checking out his butt like that was the most important thing going on, and I kind of wish I was fast enough with sarcastic remarks to say that if two seconds of my attention freaks you out, wait until you get outside.
But I didn't, instead I just noticed the card by my laptop which had the login for this blog and I remembered the line about knowing when it was okay to read it. I mentioned that to Harmon, opened the site up and didn't even have to start reading - all those subject headings with two names served as a pretty clear hint of what was to come when we started reading them. And while I soon enough understood the admonition not to read the site because we would have thought it was a hoax or, if we were the kind of people who believed in magic without it actually happening to us, run away, and that would potentially be bad for anyone who came hoping to get their old lives back, we were initially furious that people were just letting this happen.
It took a while for us to stumble on an entry that mentioned suitcases left in the rooms, leading to a frantic search through the closets before looking under the beds. I grunted a bit lifting the one under my bed, which was about twice the size of the one Harmon found. Opening it up, I saw a big purse crammed in there. I dumped it out and found my new driver's license.
"Magda Polawski", born November 3rd, 1970, lives in Oakland, California. Not quite twice my age, but, wow. Twenty years gone, just like that; it was no wonder that even in just a few minutes, if suddenly noticed a lot more wear and tear on my body. If I could still call it my body - I hadn't been yanked out our anything, but it had been changed pretty drastically for the worse.
I don't mean to demean the real Ms. Polawski by saying that. I've been kind of insecure enough about my body at times - I was kind of a stick, and though I guess I had kind of a pretty face, I had a persistent bit of acne on one cheek that it took a cursed Inn to get rid of and hair that died out like you couldn't believe - that I'll probably be doing okay if I become myself again next spring and then wind up aging as well as Magda has. It's just hard to appreciate that when it suddenly feels like you've got to stretch to cross the room.
I almost certainly won't have such nice penmanship at her age, though - as much as Harmon occasionally teases me about never using cursive and needing to take a moment or or two when someone else does, Magda's letter to me didn't slow me down much:
To whomever receives my shape:
I apologize for any aches and pains you may feel; though I seldom noticed them myself, I now find myself a younger person and am surprised just how many managed to sneak up on me without my being fully aware until they were gone.
I told my daughter Alicia that this free vacation was too good to be true, but I certainly made my share of questionable decisions when I was younger. I hope that you will find that I have outgrown most of them - my ex-husband has returned to Poland, I have not left you with much in the way of debt, and I believe that I am well-liked at my work and in my community. Our home is modest, but we need little and Alicia's job, obviously, has her traveling many days, while her boyfriends keep her busy at many other times.
Still, she is the light of my life, and I am looking forward to how what we have become should give us the chance to know each other even better. I hope that spending some time in our lives will allow you and whomever shared the room with you to grow closer, or, if you stayed alone, to make a new friend.
If you have any questions about my life, please do not hesitate to call me.
...and then there was some contact information.
It was three in the morning by then, and when I looked up from my letter, I saw Harmon holding a fairly generous bra with two fingers, and the look of disgust on his new face was just... See, I don't know what sort of woman Alicia is, but I've seen that look of disgust on girls who can't believe that some scrawny loser (from their perspective) has tried to talk to them like he stands any sort of chance. It just seemed so out of context knowing that Harmon was in there, probably wearing that look because he was grossed out by the assets that basics use to justify giving that look to people. Anyway, I laughed, because the adrenaline was starting to wear off and I knew I was going to have to teach him how to put that on like I was his actual mother. He wasn't ready to see there was humor in it yet, acting like he'd received the rawer deal.
He turned to look away when I took off my night-shirt and started pulling things out of the "clean" layer of the luggage (at least, it looks like Magda puts the dirty clothes in, marks the spot with a towel, and then press the clean ones in when packing her suitcase to go home) to get dressed with. I wasn't in the sort of bad shape that I feared - I was a little soft, but didn't have a muffin top when I pulled on some jeans - although looking at myself in the mirror, now lacking even my own clothes to serve as a link to my real self, was terrifying.
It was still early, so I didn't actually go around knocking on doors to see if this had happened to everyone else at the time, but I couldn't actually sleep, so Harmon and I spent the next few hours online, trying to find out as much about Magda and Alicia Polawski as I could. It wasn't a lot - a mention in a news article about a group of people taking their citizenship oath in 1989, Alicia graduating from high school in 2011, that sort of thing. Maybe it will be different once we actually get down into the neighborhood where these women live (lived?), but I, at least, seem to have dropped into a relatively quiet situation, at least so long as nobody worries too much about my suddenly talking like someone who grew up in Oregon.
(As for Harmon/Alicia, well, he can talk about that himself if he wants to!)
The strange thing - this happened on our second-to-last last night at the Inn; one more day and we barely would have had time to write our own letters to leave in our luggage for the next folks to stay here before checking out and getting on a cross-country flight because "Magda and Alicia" have basically been in a state of limbo for two or three weeks. That whole process is really unsettling, and not just because the guys accepting the keys back don't really seem to think it's much of a thing when the people checking out more closely match the last people on the ledger than the current ones - I'm only half joking when I say that putting my wallet and my phone and a sheet of paper with a bunch of passwords on it into a suitcase and leaving it behind for some random person to find is almost as unnerving as seeing someone else's face in the mirror. But if I've got how this works right, two more days and we would missed this entirely, so we just would have gone home none the wiser, giving the Trading Post Inn a positive Yelp review and maybe inspiring someone we know to go and maybe thinking they were acting weird when someone else came back in their skin. But who was the 13th person that showed up with just two nights left in a two-week booking? Someone who got held up at work? A hookup staying somewhere else? Nobody we talked to seems to have been here before, so I doubt it was one of those cases where they went out and found someone to tie it deliberately.
I guess it doesn't really matter, though. I'm going to Oakland and my older boyfriend is my daughter and I can barely wrap my brain around it.