Jim quickly ran to try and comfort the hysterical little girl that was his wife.
’Quit crying Angie. You have to think! Remember? Remember who you are and your plan?’
’I WANT MY MOMMY!!!! Pleassssssssse’ she cried out and pulled away from Jim.
’I don’t understand. You should remember. It’s not been that long....Angie, please calm down. Try to remember being a grownup.’
’Where’s my mommy? Please get my mommy.’
Atleast she was calming down. Jim tried to remember everything that had happened and what could have gone wrong. Suddenly, a thought crossed his mind.... All the tossing and turning she had done ’Angie...honey.... Did you have a bad dream? Or any dreams?’
’Uh huh’ she she said still sobbing.
’I was in school and teacher was gone and we hadda stay and couldn’t leave and mommy couldn’t get me out or nothin’’
’Damn’ Jim whispered under his breath. The sleeping pill must have caused her to sleep right on through the nightmare to its conclusion. In her mind she was with other children for what must have seemed like much more time than what had really passed. Her mind regressed to match her dream state. Even though Jim figured he knew what must have happened he wasn’t sure if it was too late to reverse it. No one had ever unrecoverably mentally regressed in that short of a period of time unless they had used more of the regression medicine making the mind too young to comprehend. But Angie seemed totally regressed. Jim began to think about all his reservations. No one had ever tested the regression and how it related to dreams. No one had ever even considered it.
’Are ya gonna get my mommy?’ she asked ’Pleasssssse. Pretty please’
He took her hand ’C’mon, let’s get up and see what we can do.’ Jim was hoping that something in the house could unlock the memories before they were all gone....if they weren’t already.
Angie hopped down out of the bed. She was still wearing the T-shirt which was huge on her. Jim saw the clothes that Angie had purchased the previous day. They were neatly arranged on the dresser. ’Ummm maybe you should put these on?’ he said handing her a shirt and shorts. He wasn’t sure if dressing her in children’s clothes was a good idea but he couldn’t leave her swimming in the adult T-shirt. He stepped out of the room and allowed her to change.
’Are you dressed?’ he asked after a few moments.
’Uh huh’ she answered.
’Angie, I’m going to show you some stuff and I want you to try and remember yesterday. Do you remember living in this house?’ he asked as they walked down the hall.
’Do you remember those two people and that day?’ he asked pointing to their wedding picture.
’That looks like you and a pretty lady’ she replied ’And that kinda looks like gramma’ she said pointing to a recent picture of ~her~ mother.
’You don’t remember you wedding?’
’You’re silly’ she giggled.
’Angie, try to remember yesterday and last night...try for me please! Try to remember being a big girl!’
She looked puzzled.
As the two of them stood in the hall, Lara made her entrance. She looked surprised to see the other little girl.
’Oh...Uhhhh... Lara this is Angie....’ Jim stammered as he was taken by surprise.
Lara waved shyily ’hi’
Angie started to step behind Jim as if she was a bit bashful, but then she stopped.
’Lara?’ she asked.
’Uh huh’ Lara answered as the other little girl stared.
Finally, she tugged on Jim’s sleeve and motioned for him to bend over. ’I’m back...sort of. I remember Lara is my daughter. It’s all comin’ back.’ she whispered.
’Thank God’ Jim shouted ’ I thought I’d lost you!’
’This is gonna be harder than I thought.’ Angie replied.
’I warned you. You have to be careful. There’s a lot we don’t understand. I think we’ve just learned something about the unconscious mind and how ~that~ can affect the regression also.’
Lara wondered what they were talking about but was more interested in getting to her cartoons.
Satisfied that Angie was ’back’, Jim made a suggestion ’Lara, why don’t you take Angie in and watch TV while I cook breakfast. You’re stuck with my cooking until you mother gets back.’
’Yuck!’ Angie said making a face. Both girls laughed and then ran into the TV room. Lara picked her favorite Saturday morning cartoon show and Angie was surprised how enjoyable it was. Before it was over she was laughing as hard as Lara at the jokes. She was a little apprehensive when Lara wanted to start a Barney video but soon found that she could enjoy that also!
The girls made fast friends and seemed genuinely disappointed when Jim delivered breakfast.... Pop Tarts, burnt bacon, and something that resembled eggs. They seemed to want to keep on playing. Jim had to admit he hadn’t seen Lara interact with another child like she was now...ever!
Lara made a trip to the bathroom and that offered im a chance to talk with Angie in more depth about what had happened earlier.
’I thought I was gonna have two little girls!’ he told her.
’Ya, you almost did. I thought you was crazy. I couldn’t ’member nothin’ ’bout bein’ big!’ Angie answered sounding just like the 6 year old she appeared to be.’’Cept when I saw Lara and ’membered I was her mommy!’
’Angie, are you OK now? You sound uhhhhh kinda you know...like a little girl!’
’Uhhhhh I ain’t tryin’ to. I guess it’th just cause my tounge don’t work as good now!’
’Maybe we should reverse this now?’ Jim offered.
’Noooooo. I ain’t finished. It’th just startin’ to work. I’ll be OK now. I just gotta be careful.’
Jim wasn’t so sure. ’Why don’t you try a little harder to not sound so much like a kid? Just talk slower and concentrate on what you are saying. You don’t want Lara saying ’ain’t’ all the time do you? .’
’Uh huh... I’ll try to do...better. But I gotta finish what we started. I ain’t ...errrr ~am not~ ready to reverse it yet.’
’Well, just to be safe, no more sleeping pills. Please!’
’’K’ she answered as Lara re-enetered the room.
The girls played all day long. Jim watched and had to smile as he saw how happy Lara was. Maybe Angie was right he thought. It sure looked like Lara was learning to be more social. It was apparent she totally accepted Angie has an equal. The girl’s playing was noisy enough to disturb his viewing a game on TV. Finally, he offered a solution ’Girls, how about you go outside for a while. I really want to see this game. OK?’
’K, daddy’ Lara said and then turned to Angie ’You wanna play on the swingset?’
’Ya.... OK!’ Angie answered.
Jim watched as Angie struggled to close the sliding door. Something the adult Angie could do easily but now it was a struggle for her to pull the sticking screen door shut.
’Need some help?’ he asked.
’Nuh uh... ~I~ can do it’ she grunted as she finally closed it.
She went running to join Lara. Jim could see them happily swinging and sliding for the rest of the afternoon.
When Lara’s bedtime arrived Angie got ready for bed herself figuring it was best if they both had the same routine. She also noticed that the day had really worn her out and she’d be ready for sleep soon herself. Angie had bought some Looney Tunes pajamas along with some fuzzy bunny slippers for herself which she happily changed into. Once Lara was asleep Angie slipped downstairs to talk to Jim.
’I told ya this was a good idea. You was all worried for nothin’. ’
’I have to admit she looked really happy today. I still worry about you though! We’ve already had a taste of how things can go wrong. And I’m still not sure about your speech patterns’
’Ya mean how I talk? Whatsa matter with how I talk?’
’Because you still have the speech patterns of a little girl!’
’DUH! Have ya looked at me? It ain’t...errr is not easy talkin’ like when I was big.’
’Yes, well it still bothers me. I wish you’d just talk slower or something. Think about your words. I’ll just be glad when this is all over with.’
’I’m pretty tired.... I’m gonna watch some news and then go to sleep’ Angie told him. ’There, was my speesh better?’
’Except for your lisp... but there’s probably not much we can do about unless you can grow a new tooth to replace that missing one.’
’Thorry about that’ she answered, exagerating the effect. ’I’m off to my room. Will you turn the TV off for me when you go to bed?’
’OK, I’ll see you in the morning. NO SURPRISES! Please!’ He told her. Actually he was relieved to hear that she planned on watching the news. This meant she would balance out the day’s child like activities with something more adult.
Angie entered her room and slipped off her bunny slippers. She padded over to the TV and turned on Geraldo. She wasn’t sure if that really qualified as news but it was better than the boring stuff on MSNBC. She hopped up on her bed and sat up against the headboard and began following the action. After a short while she started to tire of the endless ’spin doctoring’.
’Clinton, Clinton, Clinton.... It makes me long for OJ!’ she mumbled as she started flipping through the channels.
Before Jim turned in for the evening he stopped to check in on Angie. She was asleep and so he pulled her blanket up and kissed her on the forehead. He then took the remote from her small hand and aimed it at the TV. He was surprised to see that the TV was on the Disney channel rather than the news.
The next morning Angie awoke to Jim’s prodding. ’Get up...You better not sleep in! Get up!’
’What time is it?’ she grumbled.
’It is 6 AM..rise and shine!’
’No.... better not. Get up!’ he replied.
’Sheessh I ~do~ want my mommy’ she answered sarcastically ’She’d let me sleep!’
’~May be~, but I don’t want to risk a repeat performance of yesterday!’
Angie got up and Jim handed her the bunny slippers ’Here, let’s drive to the corner and pick up breakfast at McDonald’s’
’Let me get dressed’ Angie pleaded.
’Why? You’re 6 years old! It’s not like we are going inside. We’ll just go through the drive-thru. C’mon! Let’s go before Lara gets up so we can have her breakfast waiting on her. We’ll take your car, I’m low on gas.’
Angie reluctantly agreed and followed Jim to the car. McDonald’s was only a few blocks so she figured it wouldn’t be too bad. Unfortunately, it looked like everyone in town had decided to use the drive-thru. The line was long and the wait was longer!
’What’s that?’ Angie asked as they finally approached the window.
’What is what?’ Jim asked.
’THAT!’ Angie said pointing to the glowing ’check engine light’. ’I thought you said you’d fixed it?’
’Hmmmm I don’t know! I thought I did’
’~Great~ Maybe now you’ll take it to a mechanic!’ she told him.
Jim turned back around to see an elderly lady trying to hand him his sack of food from the drive-thru window.
’Sir, I really shouldn’t say anything... but children shouldn’t be allowed to speak to their parents like that’ she whispered to him.
Angie heard her and quickly crossed her arms and bit her lower lip.
Jim, sensing Angie’s anger, said to the server ’You’re right.... you really shouldn’t say anything!’ and then drove off.
Angie felt a little better. Atleast Jim had spoken up for her. Her anger was soon to return though. The car sputtered after a block or so and then died. Jim coasted into a parking lot and then tried to restart it. No luck!
’~Really great~’ Angie mumbled.
’Shit!’ was all Jim could initially think to say.
’C’mon’ he finally said.
’C’mon? What?’ Angie asked.
’We’re going to have to walk.’ He told her.
’Nuh uh...No way...not dressed like this...not in public on the sidewalk!’
’Angie... no one will think a thing. Look in the mirror. You look perfectly fine for someone your age for this time of the morning in their own neighborhood.’
Angie grumbled but had no choice. Jim locked the car and took her hand and they started walking.
’~Slow down~’ she whined as she tried to keep up with Jim’s longer strides.
No one would have guessed that the little girl with Jim was really a 26 year old young woman. She still had on her Looney Tunes pagamas. The shirt had a large picture of Bugs Bunny on the front while the shorts had Babs and Buster on each leg. The bunny slippers completed the ensemble. Even Jim finally had to laugh at the picture of the two of them. ’It kind of reminds me of a movie I once saw.... except THAT rabbit was 6 feet tall and invisible!’ he laughingly said.
A quick kick in the shin from one of the bunny slippers ended Jim’s laugh. ’I ain’t Harvey... But I wish I ~was~ invisible right now!’ Angie stated.
’You know tomorrow you’ll be in public don’t you?’ Jim asked.
’Ya, but not dressed like this!’
At that moment one of the neighbors looked up to see the two passing. It was an elderly couple that Angie and Jim knew vaguely. ’Morning Jim.... and how are you Lara?’
’Uhhhh Bob this is not Lara... It’s ummmm my niece Angie. We went to pick up breakfast and the darned car broke down. Lara’s waiting back at the house.’
’Ohhhhh sorry. Well she’s just about the spittin’ image of your daughter. I guess your family got all the pretty ones!’
’Well you certainly ~are~ a pretty little girl’ the elderly lady said to Angie ’I wish I had a grandaughter as pretty as you!’
Angie smiled. The old woman made her feel pretty. She almost forgot about how she was dressed.
’You’re just the cutest thing. Just gorgeous!’ the older woman added with a huge smile.
Angie’s mood brightened even more.
’Well, we better get along. Breakfast’ll get cold. We’ll see ya!’ Jim said as he walked away.
’They’re nice. I like them’ Angie said as she started skipping ahead of Jim. She continued skipping ahead until one of her bunny slippers flew off.
’ANGIE!, what are you doing?’ Jim yelled ahead as he saw taking the other off. She looked back at him with a puzzled look on her face. What WAS she doing she wondered? She slowly realized that she had just regressed again. The combination of the juvenile clothes and the elderly couple had made her feel like a child and her mind had slipped! She couldn’t tell Jim what had happened. He would end everything before it even got started. She had to be even more careful!
’Uhhhhhh nothin’...errr nothing.... they’re ummmmm kinda loose is all’
’Well, if you’d walk normal you wouldn’t have a problem’ he offered.
’I’ll just carry ’em’ she told him.
That was close she thought! Her answers seemed to satisfy him and he didn’t question her any further.
As soon as she got back into their house she opened the newspaper and started reading. She even threw the comic section in the trash without even looking at it. Out of sight out of mind she figured. She realized just how easy it was to regress and knew Jim was right about her needing to work to maintain her adult perspective. She also noticed how much easier it was to regress outside of her comfortable adult surroundings. Playing with Lara in the house where she had spent most of her adult life was much easier for her to keep her perspective than being out on the street with people she barely knew. That is why the dream had affected her so much... in the dream she was in school with no adults. And that thought led her to the next thought which was school is where she would be the very next day! But now that she knew what to expect she figured she could avoid it if she just kept her concentration.
The rest of the day went by uneventfully. By evening Angie felt secure with her ability not to regress. She figured she was learning how to handle the situation much better. She still knew that Monday would be a real test!
After another session with Jim explaining how important for her to keep up some adult interaction was going to be, she was ready for bed. This time she left the TV on Geraldo, and even though Gerry Spence’s home-spun legal meanderings weren’t as interesting as usual to her, she didn’t reach for the remote.
’Rise and shine..... I hear a school bell!’ Jim sang ’Time for school! Get up!’
’It’s not time ~yet~’ Angie moaned.
’Yes it is. We need to go a little early so that we can sign you in as a temporary.’
’Get dressed Angie and I’ll wake Lara.’
Angie picked out a pair of pre-faded jeans with pink fringe, a T-shirt, and sneakers. She was actually a bit excited to have second chance at a ’first’ day of school.
Jim again stopped at McDonald’s for their breakfast. They were in his car now, leaving Angie’s broke down car from yesterday still in the parking lot where it had last coasted. It wasn’t exactly a priority right now.
Jim had very little problem getting the school to accept Angie. He filled out a few forms and made up a couple of things that he figured would pass first inspection. He lied and said her records were lost in the mail but that they were working on it. The only item that seemed to matter was that Jim’s check was good. They even checked with his bank to make sure it would clear before finally stamping Angie’s papers. That was the only part of the whole procedure that they actually checked on!
Angie sat quietly in the office with her legs dangling over her chair. She was nervous and excited at the same time. In only a few moments she would be introduced to her ~new~ kindergarten classmates. The adults went about the business of enrolling Angie with it all finally concluding when the secretary copied the top paper on the Xerox. She then spoke with Jim ’Mr. Fletcher, I think this will do it! I’ll take little Angie to meet her new class and you can pick the kids up this afternoon.’
Jim thanked her and left for the research center. He knew the plan was out of his hands now.
The secretary took Angie to the classroom door and then motioned for the teacher. The teacher came over and took the paper from the secretary.
’Angie?’ She said as she glanced over the paper ’Welcome to our class. I’m Ms Jones’
’Hi’ Angie said not sure how she should greet an adult now that she appeared to be a child. Her adult self would have extended a hand and said ’Nice to meet you’ but that didn’t seem right for this situation.
’Come on in dear’ Ms Jones said and led Angie into the room.
’Class, this is Angie. Angie is Lara’s cousin. Everyone say ’Hello Angie’’
’~Hello Angie~’ the class chorused.
That felt weird Angie thought. The teacher then seated her at the same table as Lara. ’Now you two don’t start talking until ’talk time’. Lara knows the rules already, but we have quiet times for studying and ’talk times’ where we can all talk. This is quiet time now. If you talk during quiet time then you have to sit in the corner’ Ms Jones then motioned toward an empty seat strategically placed in the corner.
Angie looked at the seat and said ’’K.’
’Ack Ack... Quiet time...shhhhh’ The teacher said and went back to her desk.
Angie looked on the table at what the kids were ’studying’. Mainly it was Flash Cards and coloring books. She shuffled through some of the Flash Cards and decided to read them. She even read the compyright information and instructions on the box. This wasn’t what she had pictured her first day of kindergarten being like.... atleast the first day the second time around!
She quickly tired of ’Quiet time’. ’Psst How long does quiet time last?’ she whispered to Lara.
’ANGIE!’ the teacher yelled out as she put a book down that she had been reading.
’I’m sorry’ Angie said suddenly feeling a like a child in trouble.
’I told you it was ’Quiet time’... and you don’t talk back to the teacher during Quiet time either!’ Ms Jones added.
’I....just...said ...I was s~sorry~’ Angie replied while trying to fight back tears. She was hurt and angry all at once.
’No more talk! In the corner! NOW!’
Angie lost her battle with the tears and started crying.
’Don’t cry, Angie’ Lara said sympathetically.
’The other corner for you too, young lady!’ Ms Jones shouted, sliding a chair towards the opposite corner for dramatic effect.
The class all started laughing.
’Quiet everyone! Or you can take turns in the corner for the rest of the year!’
The class immediately stopped laughing.
Both girls took their seats in the corner and faced the wall. It was only during this solitary time that Angie realized she had suffered another bout of regression while being scolded by the teacher. Fortunately, the time alone allowed her to collect her thoughts and get back to reality.
After what seemed like an eternity the teacher allowed them to return to the table.
’OK, children. It’s talk time. You can talk amongst yourselves.’
’So hows come she don’t let us talk?’ Angie asked Lara.
’I dunno. We always start the day with quiet time. Sometimes she takes a nap’ Lara answered.
Angie wanted to complain. She had already figured that Ms Jones was a bad teacher and now she was sure of it. She figured Ms Jones had ’quiet time’ so she could sleep off a hangover or catch up on her reading that she missed because of some wild party life. The more Angie thought about it, the wilder she imagined Ms. Jones’ private life. But as a 6 year old Angie was pretty much powerless. She resigned herself to the task at hand and set out to find a suitable playmate for Lara and herself. She figured that the sooner she could start any friendships for Lara would be a plus for her when she returned to adulthood.
She startted with one of the girls at their table. ’What’s your name?’ she asked.
’I’m Missy’ the other girl replied.
Angie figured she might as well cut to the chase. ’Will you be our friend, Missy?’
’Nuh huh...I got friends.’
Angie figured she had to give the kid credit for honesty but wasn’t sure she liked her attitude. Still she smiled and said ’Oh, OK... ’ She didn’t want Lara to think the other girl’s answer bothered her.
Another girl at the table spoke up ’I’ll be your friend... I don’t have many friends’
Angie looked her over. Her clothes weren’t very stylish and looked like they might’ve been hand-me-downs. She looked like she might come from a family with not much money. Suddenly, Angie felt picky about who she would be friends with.... And then she became worried about having thoughts like that. Was it her adult mind pre-judging someone like that...or was it her child’s mind? She realized this girl probably needed friends just as much as Lara. ’OK! Let’s be friends! Let’s play a game.’
The three girls spent the day bonding. Angie was proud of her accomplishments. It was working out exactly how she had hoped. In fact, she might be able to return to adulthood sooner than she had planned if things keep going as well as they have so far. Angie still didn’t like the teacher. She didn’t like her when she talked to her as an adult and she liked her even less after spending a day in her class! She was more then happy when Jim arrived to whisk them home.
’So how was your day?’ he asked Angie.
Before she could answer Lara spoke up ’She got in trouble!’
’Well, you did too!’ Angie countered.
’Girls, don’t argue...’ Jim answered while trying to contain his amusement. ’Did you get paddled?’
’No... but it wouldn’t surprise me if that big meany.....errrrrr teacher would paddle a student!’ Angie said.
’I guess you don’t like the teacher?’
’No!’ Angie replied icily ’....but we had fun otherwise. And made a new friend!’
Jim pulled into McDonald’s for their dinner and made sure to order a kid’s meal for both girls. Angie wasn’t impressed but knew that is exactly what she would have ordered on her own.
Once Lara went to bed Jim was anxious to hear how the day had went without the story filtered for Lara’s benefit.
’That teacher is a BITCH!’ Angie said without much prodding.
’Better watch that mouth, young lady!’ Jim said sarcastically.
’I’m serious... well anyway... It is working well. I think Lara is gaining confidence by leaps and bounds...No thanks to Ms Jones. ’
She went on to explain how she planned to add a new friend to the fold tomorrow. She wanted to surround Lara with friends. She figured that would isolate her from the bad effects of the teacher.
Jim noticed his wife spoke much more like an adult now. What he didn’t know was how her speech patterns slipped the other way while she was with the children at school.
After a while Angie decided she had better get to bed. Tomorrow would be another trying day with ’the teacher’. She excused herself and was off to bed.
The next day started much the same as before. Jim woke the girls and saw to it they dressed properly. Angie chose shorts, T-shirt , and sandals for this day. The teacher ~had~ promised the class they would spend some time outdoors this afternoon. Jim rounded the girls up and hustled them into the car. Rather than cook breakfast Jim elected to stop at McDonald’s. He had decided that his cooking skills weren’t up to that of Ronald’s employees!
He let the girls out at the school and kissed them both on the cheek. They waved bye and ran toward the school. He drove onto work and wondered what challenges this day would bring.
Angie sat quietly through ’Quiet time’ today. She had learned her lesson. The silence was broken by a knock at the door. Ms Jones answered it and talked with the secretary. Angie saw a tear roll down her cheek. Finally, the teacher came over and got Angie and Lara. Angie was very curious. ’What’s going on?’
’Just go with Mrs. Hill... It’ll be OK’
The teacher stopped before re-entering the class and wiped her eyes.
Mrs. Hill led the girls to the Nurses office. The nurse entered ’Lara do you know where your mother is?’
’No...she had to leave for a few days. Why?’
Angie spoke up ’Whada you want her for. Maybe I can get in her?’
’No, but if you know where she’s at I’d like to contact her.’ the nurse answered.
’Ummm I dunno...’ Angie said, wishing that she could tell the adults who she really was.
’So neither of you know how to contact her?’
’No.... why?’ Angie asked.
’Wait here’ The nurse told them and then left. The secretary followed.
’What’s happening Angie? Are we in trouble?’ Lara asked.
’I dunno...I don’t think so’ Angie replied.
The girls sat in the lounge for a very long time. They saw the nurse and Mrs. Hill return and talk out side of the door. Finally the door opened when another lady joined them.
’Hello girls. I’m Dr. Fantz. How are you?’
’Fine’ they answered in unison.
’Thats good....’ The Dr paused as the other two ladies each put an arm around each of the girls. ’I’m afraid I have some bad news.... Lara.... your father..... there was an explosion where he worked.....’
’Nooooooooooooo!’ Angie screamed out fearing the next line.
’I’m sorry.... no one could have survived. He’s gone. He’s gone on. We’re trying to find your mother....’
Lara started crying as she began to understand. ’DADDY Noooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! You’re a liar! Nooooo!!!!!’
’We’re sorry girls...’ Mrs. Hill added not knowing what to say.
Angie collected herself as best she could ’Are you sure? Are you sure? I’ve gotta get back to the house! I gotta!’
’When we find your aunt then you can return. The Dr. will stay with you until we can find your aunt. Lara needs her mommy right’ Mrs Hill told the frantic child ’and we need to find your parents’
Now Angie was really worried. She couldn’t tell them where her parents were! Who’d believe her anyway. ’I don’t know where they are. They ran off. Take me to the house PLEASSSSSE!’
’I’m sorry, children. But we have to find your surving family.’ The Dr said.
’Nooooooooooooooooooooo’ Angie cried out.