A middle aged and lonely Melanie wakes up with no recollection of her past. Her lack of personal memories forces her to impersonate the old Melanie, a person who she now dislikes and cannot understand. The new Melanie proceeds to fool the world into thinking that nothing has changed while trying to recover her memories but also trying to reinvent herself as a new and improved person.
The alarm radio comes to life with a harsh click followed by The Archies playing their bubbly "Sugar, sugar" 1969 hit.
Melanie opens her eyes and horizontal sunshine pushing its way through the Venetian blinds greets her. For a few seconds her eyes are transfixed on those horizontal lines of pure incandescent light that force their way through, a light so intense that it ought to be turning the blinds into ashes; yet, the room is cool. She closes her eyes and still can see those lines of pure whiteness burning behind the back of her eyelids and submerging into a pool of darkness, disappearing like white sticks sinking to the bottom of a dark sea.
The radio is now playing The Monkey's "Daydream Believer". She had recognized "Sugar, sugar" but she doesn't recognize the song she is hearing now. Whatever the song is, she doesn't care for it. She doesn't care for bubble gum music.
Then, why is that music playing?
Her tongue is dry and swollen and her teeth gritty. She runs her right hand on her belly and is taken aback by what she feels: a soft stomach under flannel. It is neither the flannel nor the softness of the flesh that makes her eyes open in surprise; it’s the fact that she doesn't remember the feel of either under her fingertips. It feels as if she were touching a stranger under the bed sheets, but she is alone, and she is touching herself.
Her hand moves towards her breasts: soft, very soft like sponge, and round and wide like cinnamon buns. Why should it be so alien for her to touch herself? Her hands rest at her sides, her fingers digging into the mattress. Her eyes search the room she is in. Sunshine keeps trying to invade her space but the blinds hold steadfast. Sunny and perky landscapes hang from beige walls, the kind of things she would expect in a motel next to a highway. A dresser, a night table with a little lamp on it. Next to it, a book by Danielle Steele with a book marker half way through its girth, and the alarm clock radio still blaring bubble gum music. It tells Melanie in red numbers that is 6:37.
Melanie doesn't recognize any of it. She has never been in this room before; she is sure of it. Without hesitation she reaches over the radio and her fingers find the right button. The music stops. Her hands, her forearms, they are hers, of course, but she doesn't recognize them: white, long vascular hands with short and lacquered but colorless fingernails, a dark down over her forearms. She looks at her hands like a limbless woman who grew limbs overnight, awed, unable to recognize what is obviously hers, what must be hers because they are attached to her.
She sits on the bed she doesn't recognize as hers but then, what does her bed look like? Her fingers rub her temples and with eyes close she tries to remember what her bedroom looks like - it's not this one - but she fails to bring any images of her room, of any other bedroom; she fails at every attempt.
How can that be? Her mind is blank. No pictures, no memories, no recollections of any familiar bedrooms come to her. Bedrooms in TV she remembers: Monica's room in Friends with the red and yellow racing car bed. Bedrooms photographed in magazines, like in Southern Living, fluffy things loaded with flowered cushions, those too she remembers. Bedrooms where she has previously been: nothing.
Her hands come to rest on the blanket. She looks askance to the mute radio; it is now 6:41. She has a jolting thought; if this is not her room, how was she able to shut down the radio without grouping for the off button? Her hand had reached for it with the familiarity of half asleep reflexes working on a well known appliance. One confident reach with eyes that could not quite see the buttons atop the radio, one click, and off it went.