Wife Swap

My Wife went Back to Her Country. Someone Else Came Back

My wife got the call at 2 A.M.

In the span of a minute, I watched her face change from confused, to concerned, to deeply upset. She hung up the phone and sighed, and a little bit of her soul seemed to escape with her breath.

“My mother died,” she said. Her voice was flat, resigned.

I put my hand on her shoulder.

“I’m so sorry, honey,” I said.

She simply shook her head and slid off the bed.

“I need to go back to Romania,” she said. “Just for a week or two. For the funeral and to solve some…family matters.”

My curiosity was piqued, but I didn’t dare to ask. My wife has always been very private about her family, and she gets upset when asked too closely about it. I’ve always tried to respect her space on this.

This time was no exception. I simply kissed her on the forehead and lay back in bed, watching the back of her head as she booked next day airline tickets, silently resigning myself to a week of sitting on the couch eating Chinese takeout and watching old Office reruns.

She flew out the following evening, and returned a week and a half later. Only, when I picked her up at the airport, it wasn’t her.

I couldn’t explain the dread that filled my body as the woman approached me, smiling. She looked exactly like my wife, but there was some indefinable quality that was not the same.

She hugged me, and my body went stiff.

She held me at arm’s length, beaming joy, but her eyes were cold.

“Is everything okay, honey?” she asked.

I nodded. My stomach sunk when I spotted the difference. My wife has a small birth mark on her cheek, a beauty mark, but this woman’s cheek was bare.

“What happened to your birth mark?” I asked, as nonchalantly as I could.

“Oh,” the woman said. “You noticed. My great aunt gave me something to get rid of it. Some sort of secret recipe that burned like hell. She wouldn’t tell me what was in it, but it worked like a charm.”

She smiled, but her eyes were searching, seeing if I believed her. Beginning to doubt myself, I smiled back.

When we got home I went straight for a beer to settle my nerves. I saw a bowl of strawberries and it gave me an idea.

“Hey honey,” I called out. “We’ve got some strawberries left over. Want some?”

“Sure,” she said, walking into the kitchen. I handed her the bowl. As she bit the end off the strawberry she winked at me.

Chills ran down my spine–my wife was deathly allergic to strawberries. The only reason they were in the house at all was that I had forgotten to throw them out before I picked her up at the airport.

“Is everything okay?” she asked. Her eyes roved up and down my face.

“Fine,” I said, forcing a smile. “I just missed you is all.”

“Aww,” she said, and planted a kiss on my forehead.

I didn’t know what to do. Luckily, my phone range just then, and I used that as an out.

“I’m expecting a call from work,” I lied, ducking into the other room to take the call.

“Honey?” said the voice on the other end. I recognized it immediately as the voice of my wife.

“Hey,” I said breathlessly, “you won’t believe what’s going on.”

“I know what’s going on,” said my wife. “Just listen–you need to get out of the house.”

“Okay,” I said, “I will.”

I hung up the phone. When I turned around my fake wife was standing in the doorway staring at me.

“Is everything okay, honey?” she asked.

My heart was pounding in my throat as I answered.

“It’s fine,” I lied. “Work emergency. I’ve got to go.”

“Okay, honey,” she said. “Hurry back.”

She winked and licked her lips, but her eyes looked so cold, and filled with something that looked like hunger. I quickly got out of there. On my way out of the driveway my phone rang once again.

“Did you get out of the house?” my wife asked, as soon as I picked up the phone..

“Yes,” I said. “I did. Can you please tell me what is going on now?”

“I will, in time,” said my wife. “Just don’t go back to the house until I call you and tell you it’s okay. Check into a hotel.”

Before I could protest the line clicked dead. When I tried to call back, I got a notice that the line had been disconnected.

I called in sick for work, and I slept in the hotel for three days before I got the phone call from my wife.

“It’s safe,” she said. “You can come home now.”

She hung up before I answered.

When I got there my wife was waiting for me in the doorway. As soon as I saw her my heart flooded with joy. I jumped out of the car and ran to embrace her; I held her face in my hands and examined it, just to be sure.

It was my wife, all right. The birthmark was there and everything. After that, I let her bury her face in my chest.

We stood their hugging for an eternity that was far too short, before she broke away.

“Come on inside,” she said. “I’ll make you a drink and explain everything.”

My wife mixed my whiskey and coke strong, just how I liked, and I downed it greedily as she sat down across from me.

As I was setting the glass back down, I noticed a smudge on my shirt. It was greasy, like one of my wife’s makeup pens.

Three realizations hit me at once: the drink tasted funny, the room was spinning, and my wife’s birthmark had rubbed off.

Written By: u/Hayong

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