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Waking Up

One day I was sure who I was. Today I can’t even remember my own name. The electric lights above me buzz and hum like so many angry insects in time with my throbbing headache. It’s difficult to concentrate when your eyes are playing tricks on you. For the past few days, weeks possibly, I’ve been slipping in and out of consciousness. A murmuring voices play endlessly in my ears each with a different pitch but all asking the same thing, “Are you alright?” Alright, what does that entail? That I’m alive? That I’m physically intact? In that context, yes I suppose, I am alright. I’m alright that I woke up an alien in an unfamiliar place. I don’t even know if I can call myself lost. To say that I’m lost implies I know where I’m supposed to be. But I don’t. I have no memory of myself.


Soft tapping of shoes on the polished tile break my reverie. A gentle-looking doctor knocks on the doorframe and enters. Fully awake for once, I lean back on my pillows and wait silently for the hated question. But he asks, “How are you feeling?” Somehow there’s a subtle difference between the simple yes or no answer to the vague question that might actually be truthfully answered. The chaotic emotions that had lain dormant in the coma tried to release themselves all at once. Controlling them, I settle for a simpler answer, “I feel alone.”


He looked at me concerned but unsurprised, “That’s to be expected, you’ve had some brain damage. You’ve been doing exceptionally well for one who’s suffered trauma of that magnitude in such a short amount of time. Now, what is your name?”


Again, a straightforward question that strikes me dumb and yet my internal structure is so complex it’s difficult to imagine that I ever summed it all up in a single term, a name, but one that I cannot recall. Somewhat worried, I reply, “I don’t know…”


“Well, you didn’t have any means of identification on you,” the doctor went on, “We were hoping perhaps you could tell us. But no matter, your parents will likely be coming to look for you soon.”


Parents, I think for a moment to remember why that word is important, then experience a sinking feeling. I don’t think anyone is coming for me, but I suppose that there isn’t much I can do for the moment but wait.




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