You wake before dawn beside someone you don’t recognize, a dark woman who snores from her belly as though she were churning inside. It alarms you at first, though you’re drawn to the shape of her ears, her neck, the way her long black hair drapes across the pillow, and you move over a little, naked and cool under the covers; you nudge her so you can observe the other parts of her more closely. The room is still half dark, so you listen to the tick- tock of your windup alarm clock, which tells you this is the bedroom you’ve slept in for years, every evening winding that silly contraption she gave you before you were married — so you would remember her love each time you wound it and set the alarm. Or else it will run down, she said, and stop somewhere in the middle of the night, and you’ll just keep sleeping. But who is this woman beside you? Could this be your wife? She’s beautiful, maybe as lovely as your wife is. And when you get up and wander through the bedroom, you notice that everything’s just as you left it, familiar as your own middle-aged body: the old dog asleep on his towel in the corner is the same mutt you got for your children when they were just children; the house is full of your children’s absence as you roam, picking up books and notebooks and trinkets they’ve left behind on their visits. But it’s still too early to get up. You’re tired. You should go back to bed, lie down beside this beautiful woman who will become your wife again in a few hours when the alarm pulls you from dreams back into the man you’ve been for so many years now it’s hard to remember who you were before you became him.