| 03.21.2018

Identity complex


The light switched on and jolted me awake. I was shocked, scared and confused all at the same time. A million questions ran through my head: Where am I? Why am I here? What”s my name?

I sat up and started to study my surroundings. I was in a room, a small room with black walls all around me. There was a large door directly in front of me. I scrambled for it, but there was no doorknob or any way to open it. I was beginning to panic. Was I trapped here? Am I ever getting out? Who the hell am I?

I looked to my left and saw the mirror on the wall. Two things caught my attention. One was my face. I had no idea what I looked like. Seeing the face of a woman with brown hair staring back at me was startling. I would”ve studied my face longer if I hadn”t noticed something else.

David Black | Rawr

There was a piece of paper stuck to the glass. I tore it off the mirror and scanned the writing on it: “Clue No. 1: Your name begins with T.”

Frantically, I flipped the paper over, hoping for more. Nothing. I started to run through all the names I could think of that started with T. Most of them were men”s names. I”ll call myself T for now. I looked around the cramped room, looking for more. There was the bed I was lying on, a small desk next to the mirror and a wooden chair. Nothing else. My name is T and I am prisoner.

I tried banging on the door and crying for help. No answer, at first, but after a few minutes, I heard more banging and muffled voices I couldn”t make out. I wasn”t alone in here. Fear started to flood through me. I spent the next few minutes – or hours, I really don”t know – trying to find a way out. I tried prying the door open, but I ended up cutting my hand and bleeding. I tore off a piece of my bedspread and used it as a bandage. And that”s when I found it.

Tucked underneath the mattress was another piece of paper. This one was sealed, like an envelope. I tore it open carefully, not wanting to damage the message inside. When I got it open, I was sweating, hoping for something more substantial. I was disappointed when I saw it.

It was a photograph of a couple, standing in front of a beach. They were holding each other and smiling at whoever took the photo. The man was tall and well-built with some facial hair, and the woman looked so familiar. Written on the bottom of the photo was: “Clue No. 2.”

Again, I scanned the photo for more. Still nothing. I was frustrated and scared, wondering if I would ever find out anything about who I was. As I started to put the photo on the desk, I glanced at one more time out of the corner of my eye. And then, it hit me.

I raced to the mirror and sure enough, the girl looking back at me was the same girl smiling with a mystery man in the photo. My name is T and I have a boyfriend.

I couldn”t tear my eyes away from the photo. I studied it from every angle and distance I could think of, trying to see if something was hidden. Clue No. 3, maybe? Nope, it was just me and Mystery Man, looking very happy and very much in love. At least, I thought. I don”t know what love is like, although Clue   No. 2 suggested otherwise. I kept looking at Mystery Man. Clearly, I knew him, but my mind could not place him.

More hours passed as I contemplated the meaning of this. I was lying on the bed, staring at the ceiling, trying to piece things together. Was this some big mystery I was supposed to solve? And if so, what happens if I do?

Then a sound startled me. It was the sound of wind. I looked up and saw an air vent in the ceiling that I had somehow overlooked. I stood on the bed to reach it and placed a hand over the vent. I tried to pry open the vent to no avail, but something else caught my eye. Inside the vent was a small box. I couldn”t reach it thanks to the grate. Whether this was Clue No. 3, or my key out of here, I was very anxious to find out.

I grabbed the chair and hoisted it up onto the bed. I pounded on the grate with the chair, hoping it would break. After a few minutes of effort, it did, and I reached the box. I opened it up. It was Clue   No. 3.

I removed a diamond ring from the box, looking at it very carefully. There was no inscription on the band, but the diamond was so beautiful, I could stare at it forever. I placed it on my ring finger. Fit like a glove.

And then, it all made sense. I picked up the photo, staring at Mystery Man. My name is T and I am married. The door opened at that exact moment.

Bradley Burgess can be reached at  arg-arts@uidaho.edu

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