Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Amnesiac This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
You know, it's funny how it takes years to build up memories, and an instant to knock them out. An instant, and your mind loses so much. And that's the thing with memory loss. Sometimes you get it back, sometimes you don't. ­Amnesia's a strange thing, when you think about it.

So I wake up in a hospital bed, no idea where I am. And I haven't found myself in a strange bed missing my memories and pants since college, so I'm ­obviously a little concerned. By the time I ­realize I'm in a hospital, I'm in full-on panic mode. So I find this button next to my bed. And ­despite the fact that I can't remember where I am or why, I somehow manage to recall television hospital dramas well enough to realize that the button probably calls a nurse. Thank God for “Grey's Anatomy.” So I start pressing that button like my life ­depends on it, trying to get answers.

I wake up several hours later with the realization that that button actually controls my morphine drip, and I have just woken from a self-inflicted drug-induced sleep. The button did not, in fact, call a nurse, as my TV memories had promised. Dammit, Meredith Grey.

At this point, my head starts to throb. Not the cute little baby migraines I usually develop from my minor freakouts, but a massive pounding above my left temple. I go to rub it, but wince as my fingers come into contact with stitches and a very sore wound. I deduce that something has happened to my head and I must have amnesia. Well, that partially explains why I'm here.

I'm still touching my stitches when he walks in. He picks up the chart and says, “Well, Miss Pierce, it seems you've suffered a pretty severe head injury. The next time you try to leap in front of a bus to save a kitten, I'd suggest a helmet.” I glare at him.

“Mark, I have amnesia, I'm not stupid – put the chart down.” My boy-friend laughs and places the clipboard back. “It was worth a shot,” he says. I inform him that he's not even wearing a lab coat and isn't all that convincing. He tells me, “Good to know you still remember who I am.” His brown eyes crinkle and he picks at a Band-aid on his cheek. I deduce that it's from cutting himself shaving. I'm ­getting good at this amnesiac guessing game.

My actual doctor comes in shortly after. I don't actually know if he's my doctor, but he, unlike Mark, does have on proper doctor attire. He takes a cursory glance at the chart, and shines a flashlight into my eyes. “Can you ­remember your name?” he asks. “Lynn Pierce.” “Do you know what year it is? Can you remember the president?” I reply, “It's 1916 and I sure do hope Woodrow Wilson gets reelected.” He clicks off the flashlight, and gives me a judgmental stare before saying, “I see your sense of humor wasn't disturbed by your head trauma.” “The election of 1916 is no laughing matter, sir,” I tell him.

By the time the doctor exits my charmingly disinfectant-scented room, I have been informed that I have mild to moderate post-traumatic retrograde amnesia due to a blow to the head, that I was unconscious for an hour, and that it's normal not to remember events from the 24 hours leading up to the trauma. In one last desperate attempt to wrangle a chuckle from my apparently humorless medical professional, I ask if my pro football career will ever be the same. He exits, leaving my brilliant joke unrecognized.

So I ask Mark how it happened. He tells me that when he came home from work he found me in our kitchen, unconscious, in a pool of blood. He apparently called 911 and rode with me in the ambulance to the hospital, where they stitched me up while I was still out cold. “What hit me in the head?” “I think you opened the cabinet over the stove and the shelf collapsed. I found you with smashed dishes everywhere and a cast-iron skillet with your blood on it; I think that's what did it.” I nod slowly.

Something about the image of broken dishes littering the floor rings a bell, and I'm glad to have that shard of a memory. He leans over to stroke my hair. “It'll be okay.” His fingers accidentally press into my stitches and a jolt goes through me. “It'll be okay, listen to me.”

Listen to me.

Listen to me.

Listen to me.

I don't know if it's the shock of pain radiating through my temple or the sickening pang of hearing him say those words again that does it, but the memories come roaring back. The fight. Mark standing in front of me in the kitchen, screaming. I'm trying to walk away, but he keeps grabbing my arm and pulling me back. His grip is so tight, I know there will be bruises later, lining my upper arm. He keeps yelling at me and I pull away, covering my ears, ­trying to get my keys so I can leave until he calms down.

“Dammit, Lynn!” he shouts, pulling me back. His spittle lands on my cheek. “Listen to me! Listen to me when I'm talking to you!” When I shove him away and claw my nails against his cheek, drawing blood, the fury in his eyes is worse than I have ever seen. He flings open the cabinet, sending dishes flying, and reaches for the cast-iron skillet.

Now, in my hospital bed, I cringe and throw a hand up to cover my temple in fear. “Oh, baby,” he says. “Did I hurt your stitches? I'm sorry, Lynn, I'll be more careful.” I keep my voice level. “No, it's okay,” I say, deliberately avoiding his eyes. “I, uh, I should get some rest. I'm gonna try to get to sleep. You head on home, clean up the mess I made with the dishes.” He smiles a small, sharp smile and kisses my forehead.

“Hey, Mark?” I ask before he leaves. “Did the doctor say when I'll be getting my memory back?” He looks at me for a moment. “Could be soon, could be few weeks, could be never. We're lucky you're conscious now. You got yourself hit pretty badly, babe.” I nod.

Just as he's leaving, he looks over his shoulder and asks, “Call me if you start to remember anything, okay? I want to be with you if you get your memory back.” “Of course, baby.” I force a smile. “But like you said, I might never remember.” “That's right,” he says, stepping out the door. “That's exactly right.”

I press the morphine button until the fogginess in my head becomes all-consuming.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.





Join the Discussion


This article has 3 comments. Post your own!

ImaginedangerousThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
today at 10:45 pm:
I love the sinister turn it took at the end there. Great work.
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
imalwayswrite53This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
yesterday at 5:10 pm:
I dissagree with CammyS. I think it was brilliant that you cut off the story where you did. You gave just enought information to make an impact, but left the rest to the reader. Keep up the good work!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
CammySThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Mar. 21 at 11:36 am:
“The election of 1916 is no laughing matter, sir,” I tell him. I loved this! I also thought that the way you brought her memories back was very clever. :) The story was excellent, but I was sort of confused at the end. If you were to revise this, I would suggest making her feelings about Mark a bit clearer. I'm left unsure whether she's forgiven him, or whether she despises him or what. I hope this helps some!
 
Reply to this comment Post a new comment
 
Site Feedback