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Beyond the Snooze

Matilda reimagined her life, but which was the dream, which was the nightmare.

By Sam H ArnoldPublished 17 days ago 4 min read

As the alarm went off, Matilda reached out and hit the snooze button. Ten more minutes, she thought to herself. Ten more minutes before the usual, monotonous routine of her life started.

Matilda knew how today would go. It would be precisely the same as the five previous years she had lived through. Get up, take a shower, and get dressed. Go downstairs and put the coffee on, ready for Adam to wake up. While the coffee percolates, wake Tommy, help him get dressed, and brush his teeth. Back downstairs to make breakfast for them both. At 0830 am, both the men in her life would kiss her goodbye and leave. The day was then spent cooking, cleaning and washing. 

At 3 pm, pick Tommy up and help him with his homework. Adam came home at 5 pm; he normally grunted hello to Matilda. He ate his dinner and then sat semi-comatose, watching TV until they went to bed.

Matilda once again leaned over and turned the alarm off. Strangely, Adam was not in bed. Matilda couldn’t remember the last time Adam had been up before her. Going downstairs, Matilda put the coffee on.

There, standing in her kitchen, was a 20-year-old, muscle-bound, naked hunk.

‘Hey babe, you’re up late,’ the guy said as he walked towards her, kissing her.

Matilda heard herself say, ‘Scott, I told you I have a later meeting.’

Matilda had no idea where this had come from or why she had said it.

As she sat drinking her coffee, the rest of her life came to her like a showreel. Matilda had fallen pregnant at 21, like her other life. After Tommy had been born, she returned to work after 6 weeks. From there, her career had flown; she was now managing director of an HR company. Addicted to work, her family life had suffered. She was divorced at 25, Adam had gained custody of Tommy. Matilda now saw Tommy once a month.

Matilda knew she had to get ready for her 10 am meeting. Going into her wardrobe, she looked at her expensive selection of clothes. Choosing a Chanel dress, a Prada handbag and Louboutin shoes, she yelled bye to Scott. She went into the garage to her brand new Audi. Matilda was starting to enjoy this dream life. Was this a dream life, or was the other world a nightmare? She couldn’t work it out.

Without knowing how, Matilda knew her way to work. The meeting was long and tedious. Matilda, however, was starting to enjoy spending time with other people. For once, people listened to what she said and were interested in her opinions. A fancy lunch followed the meeting. Then another couple of meetings. Before she knew it, her workday was finished at 8 pm—home to hunky Scott and then out for an evening with friends.

This was how her life continued for the next week. Her last life started to fade into the background. After the first week, Matilda received her weekly phone call from Tommy. He sounded so distant to her. She tried to talk to him about common subjects she knew he loved. As his one-word answers mounted up, her heart began to break. She remembered her dream of being at home with him—the feeling of his little hand in hers on the way home from school.

Over the next week, the longing and loss became worse. Matilda was continually tired, and Scott was thick. He looked pretty, but debating current affairs with him was impossible; she missed Adam’s quick mind and analytical thinking.

By the end of the third week, Matilda was a tearful mess. She had been signed off with depression. Scott had moved out three days ago; luckily, he had left an old tracksuit that she was now wearing. Her designer wardrobe didn’t accommodate slob clothing.

By the end of the fourth week, Matilda had not washed or changed her clothes. She barely ate. Instead, she sat daydreaming about her wonderful dream a month ago. That night, she’d had enough; she went to bed knowing that if she woke up tomorrow, she would be ending her life.

The alarm clock woke Matilda, and she felt the depression settle on her like a black cloud. That’s when she heard the soft snoring coming from beside her. She looked at Adam’s sleeping form, and her heart skipped a beat. Without worrying about making coffee, she threw herself at Adam.

Coming to, he enveloped her in his arms.

‘Hey, you, what’s wrong?’

‘Adam, I have had the worst dream,’ she sobbed, resting her head on his chest. ‘I love you so much.’

‘I love you too, babe,’ he answered.

At that moment, Matilda heard the tiny patter of feet as Tommy ran into the room. As he threw himself into his mum’s arms, tears rolled down her face. Adam leaned over and hugged her.

‘Baby, what is wrong? How about I take the day off, and we go out on a nice family day?’ Adam said.

The day was fantastic, the best day ever. Matilda would never moan about a typical day again.


About the Creator

Sam H Arnold

A writer obsessed with true crime, history and books. Find all my dedicated newsletters whether you are a true crime fan, bookworm or aspiring writer on Substack -

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  • MikMacMeerkat2 days ago

    Aw this story was so sweet. We never know what we have until its gone.

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