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I woke up this Friday morning like any other morning. I opened the window with a remote and the car took the kids to school, as usual. I completed my whole morning routine and all my chores.
That was earlier. I'm standing against the counter, its marbled design reflecting the bright sun coming through the window over the sink. Auryn is still sleeping. It's crazy to think about how long we've lived here together.
We tend to follow a strict and set schedule. We're really busy during the weekdays, and today is the only day where we don't have something going on every minute. Most days, I'd wake up and eat breakfast alone. Then, at around 11 am, I'd wake up Auryn. Even though we don't have plans today. I'll still wake her up to take some form of a schedule. It's 10:38 am.
As I stand against the counter, I get a glimpse into the living room, the wide and welcoming space that it is. The memories resurface when I look through the archway and they flood my mind. The mornings we used to spend sitting in that same room watching children's shows together, as a family. Today, I'm stopping for a moment to really take it all in.
As the clock slowly ticks, I decide to wake her up. I walk across the beige wood floors and go down the hallway. I pass by the two rooms of my children. I stop to admire the closed doors. One door has the name "Aster" in purple crayon with little pink foam flowers around it. The door following it has "Astra" in blue marker with little gem stars. The rooms were neighboring. One was floral and pink, the other was bluish-purple with a galaxy theme. I smile uncontrollably, thinking about how I watched them decorate their doors themselves so long ago.
Standing before the bedroom doorway, I notice a sight that I tend to overlook. I see my wife sleeping in the sunlight. All I can see is the massive comforter and her hair cascading slowly off of the bed. She is so beautiful. The way the sun hits her hair is just magical. I look around before I walk into the room to make sure that all my work is finished before I wake her up. Across from the bedroom, we have a little office. There are two black office chairs in front of a long, brown desk. Two large, bulky computers sit on top of the old desk. The walls are an empty white with two little windows next to each chair. I glimpse at it quickly, but something catches my eye.
One computer is off, showing nothing but a black screen. However, the second computer displays a large, dark blue message that reads "RESET YOUR PASSWORD" in bold letters.
I feel confused. I can't think of anything that would make the computer act up like that.
I walk into the room and sit in front of the computer. I click the mouse in hopes that it will do something. Anything. The screen turns navy blue. I feel my hand go numb. Fearful, I look down to discover that it is glitching and quickly traveling up my body. I turn around and get one last look at Auryn, who is still sleeping in the sunlight. Suddenly, my vision goes to the empty blue that was shown on the screen. I squint my eyes at the harsh blue light. Suddenly, a light blue glowing outline appears in front of me.
"Hello, Axel," It echoes. "I knew that bright display would get your attention. But I bet you don't remember me."
I stare at it, confused, and wonder. I'm not sure how it knows my name.
"Uh, no, I don't," I say, bewildered. "Do I know you?"
It looks at me as a faceless figure.
"You used to," It said, sounding defeated. "In fact, we were in love."
I was not just confused, I was questioning reality.
"What do you mean?" I asked, trying to make sense of the nonsensical. "I don't think I've seen you before."
She began to take a more human form. She looked into my eyes.
"Of course, you don't know now," She said. "But you used to. My name is Aura."
She handed me a picture of the two of us, hugging and smiling. Her appearance in the picture is human, while her figure now floats in front of me in a mysterious blue glow.
"I used to be yours, Axel," She said. "A long, long time ago, After we split, I got really sick, and I didn't make it. When I died, I was erased from your memory. There's a little bit more, too."
I went silent.
"You've been living in a simulation." She said in a monotone voice. "That's why your house is so futuristic, why your life is so perfect. Why you forgot me when I left."
I feel shocked.
"Oh," I said, stunned. "That's... a lot."
She changed from saddened to apologetic.
"I'm sorry," She whispered. "I understand that. I just need something from you."
I take a deep breath and pursue my curiosity.
"What is it?" I asked.
"When you go home later," She replied. "To your wife and kids... hug them tight for me, won't you? Even if it isn't real, live your best life. Alright?"
"I will," I said. "For you. Whoever you are. I don't know you, but you strike familiarity in me."
Then, she smiled.
"Thank you," She said. "I'll try to be in your presence as often as I can. Remember me."
My hand started to go numb again. Suddenly, I reappeared in my office.
I look behind me to find that the bed was empty. I stand up in confusion and a little bit of fear. I walk to the front door and look out the window. I saw Auryn's car pull into the driveway. Suddenly, the door swings open and both of my children jump into my arms with their backpacks swinging. My wife joins them in the embrace as we look into each other's eyes.
I felt my family. And I felt Aura there, too.