The Reality Shift
*Alarm goes off*
I wake up to the sound of Van Halen and flutter my eyes open. It’s April 21st, 2020. I lay there, on my soft- fitted sheetless bed, the plethora of pillows, and unweighted gray comforter. Looking out the window I saw it was raining. God, look at this weather. It’s so depressing. It’s storming out. Great, another day of shitty weather. A huge bang of thunder and lightning rang out through the house. Funny, there was lightning and thunder in my dreams too.
“Kami! Get down here now, it’s time for breakfast.” My birthgiver screamed at me.
“Okay mom, coming.” I get up out of my bed to survey my room for a pair of pants to wear, since I was only in an oversized tee-shirt and underwear. My room was a mess. All my art supplies and school tools were scattered around the room and just thrown everywhere. Dirty laundry was everywhere, so it was hard to find pants. Literally, just need any form of pants. I turned on the lights because of the mixture of gray walls and with the lack of sun, it was difficult to see my room. I finally found a pair of leggings. I throw those one and slowly make my way down stairs, just to hear the end of their conversation.
“...if you try that, I’ll be proud of you!” Ah, yes the son she’s always wanted.
“He’s a good kid, Linda. You should be proud.” That was my stepdad Jay. “Speaking of kids, hey Kamie.” he said with no enthusiasm whatsoever. Doesn’t this guy know I’m 17? I’m hardly a kid.
“Hey Kam Kam, how’d ya sleep?” My spawner asked using an old nickname as if she really cares. I told her good and went to sit down on the far end of the table. Far away from the rest of my “family.”
In short, my "mom" divorced my sperm donor and won full custody of me. Which was easy because he didn’t really try to win the case. But, by court orders he has to call me at least once a week and the last time we talked was about a month ago and he told me he gained Canadian citizenship and moved to Canada. About a year or so later she met Jay at some bar in New Orleans during Mardigra and then got married about 6 months later.
I ate my soggy waffles and burnt bacon in silence while the rest of the family talks. My mom was feeding my half-sister, Kalie when Jay stated he needed to head to work. He grabbed his mask, kissed Linda, his son (Evan) and daughter, then nodded to me while he headed out the door. The rest of breakfast was eaten in silence.
“Kami, you better get ready. You have school starting soon and you know it takes a while to load up Zoom with your computer.” She tells me and I shuffle my feet to the stairs and head back up to my disaster cave.
Before getting ready for Zoom School, I took a moment to survey my room. It’s truly a mess, but I have no motivation to clean it. I’m shocked that I had the energy to get out of bed and eat this morning. I don’t want to do school today. I grabbed my laptop from my clust-fuck of a desk and threw my sticker filled Dell Laptop. I decided against school and thought Netflix was more important. It’s not like my birthgiver cares what I do. Sometimes I wish my life was different.
I continued watching Criminal Minds until I started drifting to what I thought was sleeping and I expected myself to start dreaming. You know, what most people do. But the next thing I know, my alarm is going off again. I thought I shut that off this morning.
When my eyes opened I was immediately blinded by the sun. It stopped raining? What time is it? When I sat up, I almost screamed. Why was my room clean? Did Linda clean it while I was asleep? No, she would have yelled at me for sleeping during school. What time is it anyways? I looked at the clock. 8:00 AM?! It’s tomorrow?! I jumped out of bed expecting to hurt my foot on an old soda can or an open container of paint, but my feet touched the floor. What the fuck? I looked down and saw a nearly spotless floor. Then I looked all around my room and it was clean for the first time in forever. What’s going on? Did I-? No that’s just dumb, I haven’t been able to do that for weeks. Or have I?
There was a knock at my door. I jumped at the sound. It’s rare when someone respects my privacy.
“Um, come in” I stuttered.
“Hey Kam Kam! How’d my beautiful daughter sleep,” my mom asked. Omg she sounds genuine.
“Good, mom. What day is it?” I asked, wondering if my suspicions were correct.
“It’s April 21st, 2020. Why dear, is something wrong?”
“No, just curious.”
“Alright, well come down for breakfast. I made your favorite!” She sang and basically floated down the hallway.
Okay, so I might have accidentally reality shifted. Whoops. But really, I’m still at my house? What a rip off.
Reality shifting is a complex process, but it’s like dreaming vividly. This was my desired reality. I throw on a pair of pants and run downstairs before anyone else comes up. Because if I’m right about this, Jay will actually see me as his daughter. I sprint down stairs to see everyone already eating. I stand there for a moment to actually take it all in. I can’t believe this is happening.
“Hey Kami, how’d you sleep? Are you okay? You look like you saw a ghost.” My step
dad asked. Jay actually asked me if I was okay? And it sounded like he actually cared.
“Oh, I’m fine and good. I slept well. Thanks for asking.” I sat down and started eating before anyone asked me any more questions. We talked. Like all five of us talked. They included me in the conversation. We talked about weekend plans and how Evan wanted to start baseball.
“So Kami, how’s your art projects going?” Linda asked and I almost choked on the bacon. They all stared at me like I just escaped an insane asylum and I just stared back with wide eyes. Did she really just ask me about my art projects? I regain some composure and answer.
“They’re going great. I’m almost done with the Queens one.” I told them.
“What’s that one like?” Evan asked. I’m still shocked.
“That’s where I paint Historical women, particularly queens from history, and I place them in big cities like Chicago or Toronto” I explained and he actually seemed interested. They all did.
“Wow that's so cool Kami” Evan said.
“Yeah Kam Kam, we can’t wait to see it!” Linda exclaimed. So this is what it’s like to have a supportive family. We kept talking and eating until Jay had to leave for work. He went around and gave everyone a kiss, including me. At this point I was still shocked, but my face didn’t say it. I don’t want to keep being questioned.
“Kam, you better get ready. School starts soon and you have to be logged on already” my mom said. I scripted that I still had to go to school? I’m such an idiot.
“Okay mom.” Calling her "mom" sounded weird coming out of mouth. I ran upstairs to my clean room to get my school stuff ready. I grabbed my books and stickered folders, but I realized that I didn’t have my laptop. School is still online right? The pandemic is still happening right?
“Mom!” I shouted.
“What’s wrong honey.”
“The pandemic is still going on right?”
“Yes, honey. Are you sure you’re okay? You've been acting weird all morning. Maybe you should go back to bed and I’ll make you some soup.”
“No, mom I swear I’m fine. I just slept weird last night. Where is my laptop?”
“It’s in my office, remember? You’ve been doing your school work there.” She let me into her office?
She went to put the back of her hand on my forehead. “Are you sure you don’t have a fever?”
“Yeah, mom I promise. I got to go, can’t be late for school.” I grabbed my things and ran to the office. So weird, she never lets anyone into her office. My mom owns a small business that sells custom wine glasses. The ones with the overused sayings like, “Mommy’s Juice” and Wine about this.”
The office alone was clean and neat, just like in my normal reality. The only thing that changed was my “family’s” actions towards me. I sat down in the light brown spinny chair and opened my laptop to log into my first class of the day; math. Even in my desired reality, I still have to deal with school shit and I’m still experiencing a pandemic? I really need to learn more about scripting.
School lasted forever for the first half. I swear, the next time I shift I better not be doing school. It wasn't until my step brother, Evan, came into the office to tell me that lunch was ready. I told him I have one more class before break, and that was my art class. This class was my best and in my normal reality, that doesn’t sit well with my family.
Although that class is my best and favorite, I was still happy for it to be over. It doesn’t matter what reality I'm in, school still sucks. I walk out of mom’s office and downstairs into the kitchen to see pizza on the table.
“Hey Kam Kam, how was school so far?”
“It was good. Math was hard and I don’t understand why I still have to do gym if I’m home” I told her.
“I don’t have to have a gym class. Ha. Ha.” Evan told me.
“Evan be nice to Kami, this online school is just as hard for her.” Did Linda just stand up for me? I looked at her in disbelief.
“Kam, are you sure you’re okay?” I snapped out of it real quick.
“Yeah mom, just hungry.” I took a piece of pizza and started eating. We didn’t really talk that much because Evan was talking about wanting to make tie-dye shirts that he saw off Tik Tok.
“Maybe Kami can help! She’s really good at art!” Evan exclaimed. While I’m still shocked, I’ve learned to keep my faces neutral.
“Yeah, I would love to help you Evan.” I told him and he cheered. Wow, this is a weird feeling.
“Speaking of art, Kami. I saw on Facebook that Columbia College in Chicago is doing virtual tours. I thought you might like to sign up for one since you’re going to be a senior next year. Oh and I found some last minute ACT prep books. I know this year is weird, but you still have to take the ACTs for colleges.”
“T-that would be amazing mom! Thanks! And I’ll take a look at those ACT things.” I love this reality. I never want to leave. She just smiled at me and we continued eating. I must have lost track of time, because the next thing I knew mom was telling me to get back to class.
I ran back to the office for the rest of my classes. My last few classes were English, gym, and sadly math. Even in my desired reality, math still sucks. That class dragged on and on. The more I stared at this computer, the more I could feel myself going blind.
“And that completes the lesson for today. Please complete the five assignments for class tomorrow and I mean complete them fully, Bryce, not just the first few questions.” Bryce rolled his eyes and made it clear that he didn’t care. My math teacher mumbled something under her breath and took a swig of what looked like red wine. We all logged off and I was going to start my homework, but then Jay walked in the office. He tried to ask if I was done with school by using hand gestures, but I told him I was done with school work.
“Hey Kami, how was school?” Jay asked.
“It was good. Math was a struggle.”
“Math isn’t easy for you and that’s understandable. And now with classes on zoom, it can be any easier. But if you need help, just ask and I’ll be happy to help.” Jay’s actually offering me help? Normally he just tells me to do better. Jay normally isn’t this nice to me when it comes to school. He typically tells me that my classes are not hard and that I don’t need help. During my freshman year I almost failed pre-algebra because I didn’t understand it fully. I had to convince them to get me a tutor and the selling point was that it was free.
“Thanks Jay. Is there anything else? I need to get back to my homework.”
“Did you forget?”
“Your video call with your dad. You have every week, remember?” I am completely shocked. I have a video call with my sperm donor and he actually wants to talk to me?
“I do?” I asked, not really believing in it.
“Yeah Kam. Are you sure you’re okay? Your mom’s been telling me you’ve been acting weird since I left” he touched the back of his hand to my forehead. “You don’t have a fever. I hope a symptom of Covid isn’t being delirious.” For the first time since him marrying Linda, he actually looked concerned for me. Well that’s a first.
“I’m 100% sure Jay. I think I’m still getting used to school online.” I needed to make up some bullshit excuse.
“Okay, if you’re sure. Just let me know.”
“Oh looks like your dad is online. I’ll leave you alone to talk.” He walked out and I just stared at the answer button. He really wants to talk to me? What does he want to talk about? What do I call him? I guess I’m about to find out. It felt like the whole world was spinning. The closer my hand moved to the answer, the more my nerves grew. I clicked the answer button and waited a few minutes for the laptop to load.
“Hey Kami! Long time no talk, how are ya kid?” He sounded so happy to talk to me. He looked great too. His beard came in, it looked so patchy when I would see him in my real reality. It also looked like he was working out. He looked better healthy. Kami! Stop fangirling over your father, that’s weird. Right? Quick say something dumbass!
“Uh, h-hey dad. How are you?” I asked while stuttering
“I’m good, but I asked you first. How are you?” I laughed.
“Oh, I’m good. School is stressful, but I’m managing.”
“That's good Kam. I’m sorry your junior year, got cut short. But let’s hope you’ll have your senior year.”
We talked about how school is going, this pandemic, the election coming up and just basic things. We laughed at his stupid dad jokes and how he’s slowly becoming more Canadian since moving there. I saw that I have been talking to him for almost 2 hours, the longest I have ever talked to him.
“Hey dad, I should go. I have homework to finish.” I told him. It felt weird calling him dad.
“Okay Kami, good luck with your homework. After this pandemic, we’re gonna schedule a trip for you to come up and spend some time with me.” I’m shocked. He wants me to visit him?
“You want me to come visit you?”
“Yeah kid, we plan a trip almost every year. You know this Kam.” We do?
“Oh yeah, I must have forgotten. I think this pandemic is getting to my head.”
“If you’re sure, then okay. I’ll talk to you next week okay. I’m so proud of you Kami!”
“Thanks dad, I love you.” That felt so weird coming out of my mouth.
“I love you too Kami. Have fun with your homework.”
“Oh, I’ll try.” We both laughed and he hung up the phone. I sat back and stared at the ceiling.
That was a nice conversation I had with him. I know this is my desired reality, but it feels so real. I wish I could stay here forever. I don’t think I could ever be this happy again even with the pandemic going on, not being able to see friends, and school being online. I don’t think I’ll be able to feel this amount of serotonin again or until I decide to come back. I closed my eyes to try and take it all in while I can. A supportive mom, a nice step-dad, and a dad who actually wants to see me. This is truly a reality shift for me. As I’m about to doze off, my mom opens the door.
“Kam? Dinner is ready. Be careful, don’t fall off the chair. Come downstairs to eat and tell us about your talk with your dad.” I get up out of the chair and head downstairs with her.
“There’s the next Picasso! Ready to eat?” Jay asked. I nodded my head and sat down. Tonight we were having stakes with other sides.
“I had a great talk with dad. We talked about school and this year in general. Oh and he talked about me visiting him in Canada after the pandemic is over.” I told them while handing Jay the corn.
“That’s great dear. You dad told me how you’ll love the Art Gallery of Ontario. Great pieces of art that you’ll just adore.” My mom told me. I stopped my fork halfway to mouth with the salad dressing dripping down from it. When I looked up, they all looked at me like I was the crazy one.
“What’s wrong with Kami, dad?” Evan asked.
“I don’t know bud. Kami are sure you’re okay?”
“Yeah Kam Kam, you’ve been acting weird all day.” My mom asked.
“Oh, uh no. I mean yes! Yes, I’m fine. Just a little shocked. Mom, you talk to dad? Like had an actual conversion with him?”
“Of-of course dear. Sure, our divoirce was messy in the beginning and we fought a lot in the beginning. But our one priority was always making sure you came first. So we made it a mission to be as civil as possible for you. Simple as that.” I’m completely shocked. I never thought I would see the day that those two would be civil with each other.
“I’m just a little shocked that you two talk. In my real reality, you and dad aren’t even friends on Facebook.” Before we can get back to eating, I realized what I just said.
“In your reality? Honey what are you talking about?” My mom asked. Oh shit. Do they not know what reality shifting is?
“Um, never mind. Jay, how was work today?” I tried to divert the conversion onto someone else.
“Um, it was good. But I won’t be going in tomorrow or for the rest of April. They want us to try and work from home until this calms down or until there’s a vaccine. So I’ll be taking that room in the basement as my office space.”
“Well, it will be nice that you’ll be home more but I hope you don’t get totally fired.”
“I don’t think that will happen Linda and if it did, we’ll be okay.” We talked some more about Jay’s job and if my mom was making orders.
“They’re coming in slowly, but they’re coming in. Maybe I should hop on the social media trend and try to get customers that way. What’s that new app? Tikky Tokky or something. The one you like Evan.”
“It’s called Tik Tok mom.”
“I can help you set it up mom. I can help you get on Instagram too if you want, it’s super easy.” I told her.
“That would be great sweety, thank you so much.” We continued on with dinner and talking. Thanks to some higher power that they forgot about what I said.
Evan kept going on and on about how his teacher had a surprise for them and they should expect something tomorrow.
“And, and, and I saw on Tik Tok about how to make a really cool tie-dye shirt with bleach! And then there’s families doing really cool family themed dinner. I think we should do things like dinosaur themes or superhero themes! It’s obvious I would win. And then…” Evan kept going on and on about when he wants to do during quarantine and how cool this is going to be. He’s just excited he doesn’t have to go to school anymore. After about 2 hours, we we’re all done with dinner and I was helping my mom clean the table.
“Thanks for helping out Kami, I really appreciate it.” She told me.
“No problem mom.”
“Kami, I know this year has been hard for you with the pandemic, but I just want you to know that if you ever need anyone to talk to I’m always here to listen.” I dropped the plate. Did she really mean that?
I turned to my mom and just stared at her in shock. Linda never said that to me. I felt tears forming in my eyes. I wiped them away before she could see. She pulled me into a hug and was telling me how happy she was that I was happy.
“I am so proud of you.” She said. I went in for another hug, but when I did that I was in an all white room. What the? Where am I?
The room was all white with a door. The door was glowing and something inside told me to open it and walk through it. I walked up, hesitantly but I still opened it and walked through. I began walking in this hallway where I could still hear voices from my mom, but it didn’t sound like my mom. It sounded like Linda.
“KAMI! KAMI! WAKE UP! You missed all your classes! I’m so disappointed in you. You’re younger step brother was able to complete all his classes…” I guess it’s time to wake up and come back to my current reality.
My eyes shoot open and I see Linda, standing over me ripping my blanket off my bed. I grabbed my laptop and shot right up. Ouch my head. What time is it? What day is it? In the middle of my mom’s rant, I look over outside and realize it’s pitch black outside.
“What day is it?”
“Seriously Kami? It’s April 21st and you slept all through your classes. It’s 6:30 PM and you completely slept the entire day away. I got a message from your teacher on the Facebook. She told me that you didn’t even bother going to your art class.” I’m still trying to process what happened.
“I don’t know what to do?”
“I know what you’re going to do. You’re going to complete all the assignments you didn’t do today. Right now. Even if it takes all night. Get up.” Jay says. I looked at both of them with wide eyes and didn’t say anything.
“And clean your room while you’re at it. It looks like a
I just nodded my head. Jay and Linda walked out of my room and slammed my door. I laid back down in bed and just stayed still for what felt like forever. I can’t believe I actually shifted. It didn’t feel real. I actually felt happy for the first time in a while. I smiled at the thought of actually having some form of family support.
I still don’t have the motivation. I turned over in my bed and pulled my laptop back. I’ll just do it tomorrow, maybe.
Maybe I’ll do something tomorrow.