Have you ever seen the movie, Freaky Friday? There’s the one from 1976, with Jodie Foster. There’s also the one from 2003, with a young, sweet Lindsay Lohan. Where did the time go? The premise for both movies is the same: mom and daughter trade bodies, trade places. They have to live with it, until they are “ready” to switch back. (Kirk Cameron and Dudley Moore did this, too, in Like Father, Like Son.)
So, when Melissa chose the topic for this week: We’re going to pair up and talk about how it would be to wake up in the other person’s body and have to adjust to their life, it immediately conjured up images of Freaky Friday, which I totally loved as a kid. I hope you enjoy the body switching stylings of Melissa, and myself. After talking with her all week, I truly feel as though we’ve stepped into each other’s shoes!
In Freaky Friday, there’s always some horrendous jolt of realization. I’m not me. There’s screaming. Running around, arms flailing. The two people involved run into one another, staring slack-jawed. This wasn’t what happened to me, when I discovered I was in Melissa’s body. I was fast asleep, my eyes felt like they were sewn shut, and I could hear the distant sounds of babbling. High-pitched, and squeaky. For a moment, I felt like I was in my own bed.
The moment passed.
My eyes open. I’m on the wrong side of a foreign bed. I usually sleep on the right-side. The covers feel different. The room looks different. Where the hell am I? As I sit up, I glance over to the other side of the bed. I’m all alone in this room, a room I’ve never seen before. I rub my hands along my face, trying to wake myself up. I must be dreaming, I must be imagining all of this, but I’m not. I can still hear the sounds of babbling, only now it’s a gaggle of children, all muffled, just outside the closed bedroom door.
My cell phone begins to vibrate on the bedside table, only it’s not my cell phone. I’ve never seen this cell phone before. It’s one of those Smart phones, the kind my husband always encourages me to buy. I still have an old-fashioned standard sliding phone with the tiny little keyboard. After fumbling a bit with the case, I check the screen.
and my phone number is listed. Am I calling myself? “Hello?” I answer, in a voice I don’t recognize.
“Sara?” A voice I totally recognize.
“Yeah?” I glance down at myself in the bed. This isn’t my body. I reach a hand up and feel soft curls, curls which have never belonged to me. I feel panic.
“It’s me. Melissa.”
“Um. Hi. Why do you have my phone? What is going on?” It’s not like my friend Melissa to ever call me. We communicate via e-mail. Messaging. Phones, though? I’ve never heard her voice before. The noises outside the bedroom door are getting louder. Someone asks about breakfast.
“It’s Sunday. Remember the plan?”
The plan? No, I don’t remember the plan. “What plan?”
“It was my turn to pick the blog topic for this week, and I wanted us to switch bodies. And, well…. ” her voice trails off.
“We were going to hypothesize, Melissa. Not actually trade places!” My voice is loud, so I lower it. “So, you mean to tell me I’m here. In your house. In your bed.“
“Well, in the guest bed. But, yes. I hope you’re not entirely freaked out, or anything. I already talked to my husband, J. He knows everything.”
“He knows everything… what?!? How did this even happen? And where are you? Are you at my house?” She’s so cool. So calm. Why is she so calm?
“Of course I’m at your house! And I don’t know how this happened. I mean, I thought about it. And you thought about it. I wonder if we thought about it at the same time, you know? We shared brain waves or something.”
“What?” Is she for real?
“Talk to J. Let him know you know.” Melissa tells me. “And you need to get up. The kids are probably starving, and want breakfast. I’ll text later.” The phone line goes dead.
This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever been a part of. How could an ordinary blog post turn into an actual body snatching? Melissa’s husband has been very kind and understanding about this whole situation. You know, the fact that I look and sound like his wife, but I’m not at all his wife. When I finally manage to emerge from the guest room, he’s got a cup of tea ready for me. “Melissa said you’d need this.” While I sip gratefully on the herbal concoction, I wonder how it’s going over at my house. I’m sure my husband has handled the news just fine. He and Melissa are old friends from years back. They’re probably shooting the shit and laughing about the situation.
Melissa has three kids. Her oldest, Ethan, sees right through my charade. He knows I’m not who I claim to be, and eyes me wearily while I attempt to make breakfast. I search in vain within cabinets for boxes of cereal. Other than the vanilla Special K stuff that Melissa religiously eats every morning, I can’t seem to find anything else.
“Who are you, and what have you done with my Eema?” Ethan asks.
The middle child, Michael, shrugs his shoulders. And the youngest? Maeve? Cute as a button. They are all adorable kids, but Maeve is one to watch out for. Melissa’s told me stories. Don’t let the cuteness fool you.
J (who the kids refer to as “Abba”) recommends a trip to the store, after he’s had to pick up the slack on breakfast. The thing is, this family eats a kosher diet, and I don’t want to feed them anything that will interfere with that. I’m glad he stepped in for me. The boys go to Sunday school, and Maeve, her Abba, and the impostor mom (that would be me) head to Costco, where we pick up something for dinner. Melissa had suggested brisket, or a chicken dish. It was something we’d discussed when we were working out the logistics of this week’s blog topic. I never thought this would happen in real life. I decide to go with chicken, bearing in mind that meat and dairy won’t be coexisting together in the meal. It’s a kosher thing. Even though I’ve been warned about Maeve’s adorableness, she’s broken me down. Her superbly blond curly hair is to die for, and I can see where she gets it from. She gets it from me. Well, Melissa. Maeve is a little princess, but I saw her hold her own with her big brothers. When she puts her little hand in mine as we walk down each aisle, I wonder how my life would have been, had I been blessed with a daughter. My two boys back home mean the world to me, and they always will. Yet a little girl would have been kick-ass, too, I’d imagine.
“What are you making for dinner tonight, Eema?” Michael watches me, curiously.
“Is it pasta and cheese?” Ethan asks in anticipation.
Oh, man. I forgot about that. These kids love pasta and cheese. Way to lose out on some much-needed brownie points.
“Sorry guys. No pasta and cheese. I’m making apricot chicken.” Something my boys love, I wanted to add.
“What’s that?” Ethan gives me that look again. Nothing gets past him. I don’t think Melissa makes apricot chicken.
“Well, I wanted to try something new. It’s fun to try new things, right?” I chuckle in nervousness. I know Melissa had mentioned that there are specifics on how to cook a proper kosher meal in the kitchen, and I want to do this right. I’m sure the boys have watched her prepare a meal many, many times, and with no hesitancy. I used Melissa’s cell phone earlier to look at various websites online, trying to get an idea on how the process works. I don’t want to blow my cover. “How about I cook.” Her husband saves the day. Thanks J! I fill him in on the simple ingredients to apricot chicken (apricot preserves, onion soup mix, and ketchup, omitting the thousand island dressing due to it’s dairy properties). The sauce is poured over chicken, and baked at 350 degrees for an hour. While he tends to the meal, I find myself surrounded by three expectant faces.
“Can we go on the computer?”
“Can we watch tv?”
Sounds like my house.
I smile. “I’ve got something else in mind.”
The sweet smell of chicken wafts in, while we play a rousing game of hide and seek throughout the house. Although I still feel a little out of sorts being in someone else’s body (and loving the hair, I know, I can’t stop talking about the hair) and spending time with someone else’s family, there’s familiarity. Melissa and I are mothers. We both love our kids, and family is very important to us. While I stand silently, taking in shallow, quiet breaths so I’m not discovered behind the tall curtains in the living room, I realize a lot of time has passed since the morning conversation between Melissa and I. Deep down, I know that she’s doing just fine, and that my family is taking good care of her, just like her family has done for me. That fills me with warmth, and contentment.
After dinner, we play a board game or two, and I’m sure I don’t say the same words that Melissa would, or behave in the same manner, but no one seems to care. The kids (even Ethan) let it slide. Bedtime is fast approaching. The boys have school tomorrow. J tends to the bath time routine, and I have a moment to send Melissa a text.
So, how’s it going over there?
A few seconds, and then:
Really well! I am so glad I loaned you those books, Sara. I think I’m going to do some reading tonight. How’s it going for you?
That’s good. It’s going fine over here. J has been a big help. We’ve been playing games. Your kids hated my apricot chicken. I don’t blame them. LOL!
They aren’t big on trying new things. I should have warned you.
I think you did, and I didn’t listen. How did Kevin handle everything?
He didn’t believe me at first. I had to whip out some Rocky Horror trivia from back in the day. I knew he’d believe it was me, after that.
Looks like it’s time to tuck the kids in over here. What’s going on over there?
We’re finishing up with dinner, and taking a break. You didn’t tell me the kids would strip down to their underwear, and run around the house!
Yeah, sorry about that. It’s something they do after dinner. They want nakey time after dinner. I’m not sure why.
Well, I’m going to help clear the table. And Sara? Next time we switch bodies… try to remember to stock up on some vanilla Special K for me, okay? 🙂
The kids request that I assist in tucking them in, at bedtime. I don’t know Melissa’s routine, so I go with my own. They each choose a book, so I sit in the middle of the three of them, reading. Afterwards, Jeff says a special prayer with each one, and I lean in afterwards and give them hugs. “Even though you’re not my Eema, you’re still pretty cool.” Ethan whispers into my ear, and I smile in response.
When I wake up the next morning, the room is dark. I lean over and glance out the long window in my bedroom. My bedroom! I look at the covers on my bed, and I reach up to feel my hair, and frown a little. Long, straight hair. Looks like things are back to normal. I’ll miss the curls, but I enjoy the familiarity of being back in my own body, in my own home.
“Mommieeeeee…” I can hear the little guy screeching. He draws out the last part of the word, in an attempt to have me tend to him as quickly as I can. He’s a little turd, but boy, have I missed him! I pull back the covers, and hop out of bed. After opening the bedroom door, I can see my husband has already gone in the little guy’s room. He looks at me with a knowing grin, while the eight-year old sits in the rocking chair in the corner, smiling at me.
It’s good to be back.