“Bye, mommy!” Jack waved from the curb as the woman drove away in a candy-red two-seat Porsche. She sighed with relief when she pulled out of the drop-off.
“That was close,” Elsa thought when she stopped at the light. “Jack was almost late for school,” she looked down at her clothes; she was wearing her work-out gear, then she glanced at the clock. “7:30?!” SHIT!” she cursed when she realized she wouldn’t have time to change for work. A loud honk behind her alerted her to the light change and she quickly hit the gas. She noticed the time on the bank clock as she drove by; “Wednesday, July 10 . 7:31 a.m.”
“What the hell?” she said aloud. She made a quick decision and turned into the parking lot. Elsa parked and pulled out her phone. It had the same date and time. “I’m off today…,” she tried to sigh with relief, but somehow that realization only confused her more. Her mind felt foggy and she tried to reason it out.
“I’m off all week,” she clarified for herself and looked down at her clothes. “That’s why I took Jack to school…,” she said. “I don’t get the chance often…,” Elsa closed her eyes. “…because…,” the obvious thought crystallized in her mind. “YOU DON’T HAVE A SON!” Her eyes shot open. “What the hell…?” she whispered.
“I have to find out,” she decided. She drove back to the school, parked by the playground and waited. Elsa spotted Jack at lunch time. He seemed like a normal, happy child. He was surrounded by smiling friends.
Elsa didn’t know what she expected, but she felt relieved when 3 o’clock rolled around without anything exciting happening. She spotted Jack come out of the school; his head swiveled this way and that like all the other kids looking for their rides. Elsa watched him until his gazed settled on someone. She followed his stare and saw an older woman with grey hair walking by the school. She carried a white plastic bag from the nearby convenience store and looked to be on her way home.
Jack ran up to the woman; Elsa watched from her car. The boy stopped in front of the woman and looked up at her. For the first minute the woman shook her head and looked confused, then she opened her arms wide and bent down to hug Jack. An image flashed in Elsa’s mind; she saw herself hugging him the exact same way this morning. No matter how hard she tried Elsa could not remember anything before that. Her first memory of the day was standing up from hugging Jack in the gym parking lot. Getting him to school seemed so natural from that point. The woman and Jack walked away hand in hand. Elsa started to follow them but her stomach growled. She had been guarding the school all day without giving food a single thought. She decided Jack’s mystery could wait until the next day; weird happenings aside, he seemed like a normal kid.
The next day Elsa showed up at the gym earlier than usual. She parked at the grocery store next door and watched the parking lot. After about 20 minutes she spotted Jack loitering by the door. A teenage girl walked up to the gym but Jack stepped in front of her. After a moment she knelt and hugged him; then, led him back to her car. Elsa followed them to school and watched Jack get out of the car.
“Bye, mommy!” Jack yelled as the girl drove away. Then the boy turned around and ran into the school.
“Well, I know I don’t have to sit here all day,” Elsa said to herself. After the uneventful day before she felt comfortable leaving the school; she got the impression this has been going on since before her. Jack seemed to like school. She went back to the gym to do the workout she wasn’t sure she did yesterday.
At 3 o’clock Elsa was standing at the school. She wanted to know what was going on and decided to ask him directly. Jack exited the school and began searching for his newest mommy. Elsa took a deep breath to help her relax, then she called out to him.
“Ready to go home, honey?” she asked aloud. Jack whirled his head around to see Elsa and his eyes grew wide. He quickly looked to his left and right to see if she could be talking to anyone else. Elsa walked to him. “C’mon, Jack, I’m hungry,” she said as she placed a hand on his shoulder. It was true. She skipped lunch because she planned to treat him to a meal. She tried to pull him along with her but he didn’t budge.
“Who are you?” he asked. Elsa glanced around but no one was nearby.
“I guess we’re doing this here,” she thought. “I’m not your mother,” she said plainly. “But yesterday I thought I was. Why?” she asked, then repeated his question to him. “Who are YOU?” He looked like he was about to bolt; his eyes darted around trying to find the most optimal path away from her. “I don’t mean any harm,” Elsa said and took a deliberate step back. “I just want to know what’s going on. Are you okay?” She asked. She hadn’t realized how concerned she was for him. It seemed to surprise him too; he looked up at her.
“Why? What do you care? You’re not my mom.” Elsa shook her head.
“No, I’m not. But it doesn’t mean I can’t care about you just the same.”
“How do you remember me? They all forget me…,” he broke eye contact and looked down at the ground. “My real mom forgot me…”