Written by: roseyn
Roger’s utterance is small but enough to alert me that he isn’t bona-fide.
And I wonder… why are they interested in a girl that isn’t their daughter? Who are they really?
Shoes shuffle. Sighs, impatient ones, drip with deception. And I maintain my pretence of someone still asleep.
When enough time passes, when intimate silence rules, I slowly feign waking up, hoping my performance is a level above amateurish. I stretch my arms; refrain from the immediate urge to look to my right… in their direction. When I eventually do, the space is vacant. I don’t know whether to feel relief or disappointment.
Perhaps, an uneasy medley of the two.
I spin to my left.
I quickly apologise. For what, I’m not sure. Roger hovers over me; his stretched smile a little too knowing for comfort. Next to him is the pink-dressed woman staring wide-eyed.
Call it paranoia.
But none of it feels right.
Roger’s overly concerned expression is mildly comforting. Not so his rhythmical, controlled finger, now tapping my shoulder.
A fresh round of shivers works down my spine.
Roger returns to the photo “So, still no memory of this girl?”
I stare at it; remember her well.
Karen Malloy. Right hand assistant to Jean-Pierre.
“I wish I could,” I say.
Roger scrutinises me with cool, unblinking eyes.
Moisture prickles my armpits.
“Very well,” he says, slowly pocketing the photo.
And without another word, they both leave.
I suck in air, hard and sharp, climb out of bed and stride to the bathroom. It is small and smells strongly of pine, the type you associate with rigorous sterility. I clutch onto the hand-basin’s edge as if it were my lifeline and stare into the smudge free mirror. What stares back is six months of lazy hair growth, a beard neither necessary nor wanted.
Am I really Jean-Pierre?
This revelation, true or otherwise, obviously knocks me. I review what small amounts I remember, the nameless construction company, the Manila envelope, the black BMW, the Asian gunman. I picture Karen frantically snapping photos of the folder’s contents; I see Jean-Pierre jump back into the BMW and drive off, the harsh screech of wheels still resonating vividly in my head.
If I am Jean-Pierre, why has no one looked for me?
I return to my bed, try to watch some ridiculous soapie. It fails in distracting me from the real world.
I close my eyes instead. My first thought is to search the internet; find out more about Jean-Pierre. But without a surname, it would be no easy feat. Maybe check out old newspapers….
My eyes fly open. Looking down at me is a pretty, petite woman with strawberry blonde hair and blue-green eyes. I immediately gasp.
She nods. Confusion strikes me dumb. I follow her finger pointing to a set of clothes piled neatly at the foot of the bed.
“Get dressed, John,” she says. “We need to get you out of here… now.”