by Than Pence
I don't remember where I live, what I was doing, or who I am!
|I opened my eyes and thought the world would drift away if I didn’t keep up with it visually.
I sat up and felt a terrible throbbing sensation. I put my hand to my head and felt something dry and crusty. When I pulled my hand away, there were flakes of red on my fingertips. I knew it was blood but I didn’t know what had happened.
Looking around, I saw I was outside. The world still felt like it was slowly sliding away from my focus but it was stabilizing. I stood up and regretted it. My head throbbed even more and the bloody section felt like a beacon for the rest of my pain.
I looked down at the ground and saw a rock there. It was red on one side, and craggy. I looked ahead and saw a house; the backside of a house. I heard birds chirp and I wondered if this was my house. I then felt panic settle in when I realized I honestly didn’t know if it was my house or not. Or where I might live if it wasn’t.
Or what my name was.
I started breathing heavily and had to sit back down. When I did, I felt a jab in my right buttock. I reached back into my pocket and pulled out a thick wallet. Relieved, I pulled out the driver’s license and read my name: Daniel Allen Hyde. But knowing that much wasn’t helpful in allaying the panic, so I started rifling through the wallet. There were business cards for places I couldn’t remember and a couple credit cards.
I thought it was so frustrating that I remembered what these little objects actually were but I couldn’t remember anything about my life. I wiped my cheek and realized that I had started crying. I put my wallet back and headed for the house, hoping it was mine.
At the back door, I paused with my heart hammering in my chest. If it wasn’t my home, I knew I’d be in trouble. Especially if someone else was home. I knocked first and strained my ears, listening for any sounds inside the house. When I heard none, I tried the door handle and found it to be unlocked. I slowly entered and looked around.
I was in the kitchen. It was a very clean, organized kitchen that had little covering the countertops. I thought that was weird as I didn’t even see a coffeemaker and I immediately thought that this couldn’t me my home because I drank coffee. I was almost craving some during this moment.
I continued through the house and came across a room. It had tall bookshelves lining one wall and hundreds of books. I was in awe. I couldn’t imagine ever having the time to read so many books.
I heard someone unlock and open the front door and my heart almost stopped. I knew I was holding my breath and I slowly exhaled through my mouth because breathing out through my nose sounded invasively loud to me. A woman’s flighty voice rang out. “Danny, I’m back!”
So… this is my house? I’m Danny, right?
I didn’t call out as I was worried that the name was a coincidence and I was still in the wrong house. I heard footsteps approaching the room I was in and my instinct was to hide but my feet wouldn’t move. Have I forgotten how to walk?
A second later, Elise came around the corner… and I was thrilled when my memory came rushing back to me in the moment that I saw her face. Elise: my friend and wife. Elise: who once let me drive her car and didn’t get mad when I wrecked it. Elise: the woman who brought my memory rushing back to me when I got hit by a rock from, I guess, outer space!
I wasn’t sure about the origins of the rock but I knew I was glad to finally remember.
Elise’s face looked worried, despite her broad, toothy smile. “Whatcha’ doin’, Danny?”
I almost started crying again and I rushed up and hugged her tight to me while closing my eyes. I twirled her once or twice and, when I stopped, I opened my eyes and saw the wall of books staring back at me.
My heart then dropped out of my chest as I remembered the numerous times I’d looked at that wall and wished I could go back in time and grasp the initial emotions I felt when I first started reading any number of those books. How I envied anyone who read them for the first time because I yearned to feel that same way again.
My grip on Elise slackened and I knew I had missed my chance. My memory loss, temporary as it was, had been a gift. I looked at Elise and almost resented the fact that her loving façade had been enough to break the amnesiac wall and let all my experiences be uncovered like polished furniture beneath a dusty, dingy cloth.
“What’s wrong?” she asked as if she had no idea about what she’d done.
I turned to leave the room. “Nothing,” was all I could muster. “I think I just need some coffee.”
“But you don’t drink coffee. You hate it.”
I paused with the door’s frame filling my palm, almost holding me up. “Not anymore.” And I left.
Word Count: 905