Thousands of pictures swarmed around my head. Soft and blurry around the edges. None of the images would come to a clear focus. I didn’t recognize any of them. It didn’t look as if they were of the same things; some were of places, some of things. A steep precipice, a line of rope, the blue sky above pointed mountain tops. Why am I seeing these images? Who am I? What am I doing here? Where’s here?
I opened my eyes. White. Nothing but white. Bright lights came into focus as my squinting eyes adjusted. Someone was standing over me with a curious expression on his face. “Anna?” he asked. What? Who’s Anna? Am I Anna?
“I don’t know.” What a stupid thing to say. But it was true, I really didn’t know.
“What do you mean, you don’t know?”
“I mean exactly that, I don’t know. Who are you anyway?” The look on his face was first of confusion and then of horror. Was I supposed to know this man? For some reason I couldn’t recall his name, or anything else for that matter. What the heck was going on with me?
The strange man was now shouting for a doctor or a nurse or anyone, as he put it, but I could barely hear him. I needed to remember things and I needed to remember them now. What on earth was my name? Was it Anna, like the man said?
Then it hit me. What this man was yelling. He was calling for a doctor, I was in the hospital.
Suddenly a man rushed in wearing a long, white coat that billowed around his ankles as he ran. I tried to sit up and get a better look at what was going on, but I found that I couldn’t move. Why couldn’t I move? I could turn my head and look around, but I couldn’t move anything else. “Help!” I started to scream. “Help! I can’t move! Please, please help me!”
“Anna, I need you to calm down.” The man that I could only assume was a doctor told me.
“Calm down?! I can’t move and you want me to calm down?!” This was crazy! I woke up somewhere I don’t completely recognize having no idea who I am, and he wanted me to calm down? I don’t think so, buddy.
“We’re not going to get anywhere with you freaking out, okay. So just calm yourself down.” What kind of doctor was he? Freaking out? But he made sense, and I needed to figure out what was going on. He was probably the only one who could help me.
“Okay,” I told him, breathing heavily. “I’m calm. Just tell me what is happening to me.”
Two hours later, I was lying in the same bed with the biggest headache I had ever had. Saying that as a figure of speech, of course. I couldn’t remember having any headaches specifically. I remember them in general, but nothing particular.
All the information that was poured into my mind made my head feel like it was about to burst. I tried to process the information in a rational way but it only made my head pound harder. I simply couldn’t hold on to the explanation of my past.
Apparently, I had been in an accident of sorts. I used to be a very adventurous girl according to what Matthew-I finally learned the man’s name-and Dr. Jameson had told me. I was climbing a cliff in the Rockies of Colorado and fell a good distance. I was very lucky to even be alive. But the fall had put me in the hospital for three and a half years. I was twenty-five when it happened, so that meant that now I was twenty-eight, almost twenty-nine. But I just couldn’t grasp the fact that I had wasted almost four years of my life lying in a bed; whether I knew about it or not.
It also turned out that Matthew was with me when the accident happened. He was my boyfriend. That explained a lot. Like the reason for the look of complete terror on his face when he realized that I had no idea who he was or even who I was.
It’s very strange, because I remember basic things like what certain objects were and how to do common tasks. But anything that had to do with the familiarity of people and places, I couldn’t recall a thing. I asked the doctor about it and he told me that this kind of thing sometimes happened and to be glad that I could still remember how to shower by myself. His attempt to get me to smile didn’t quite work, though. I was just too worked up.
Matthew stayed by my side through everything, the whole explaining process, and all the medical information I was given about myself. He told me a lot about my career as an aspiring writer and my job as a waitress at the local Denny’s. He also told me that I didn’t have any brother or sisters and that my parents had died when I was younger. This part I suspected. I figured that if I did have some kind of family, they would be here too.
I asked when I could be allowed to go home and where home was.
“Well,” Dr. Jameson began, “we still have a few tests to run and then if they all come back satisfactory, then we can let you go. From the tests we’ve already taken, it looks like you’ll have your mobility back in the next couple of days. Comas sometimes cause temporary paralysis but in the long run, you’ll be just fine. Sore for the first few days, but in the end, fine.”
“We live in an apartment in Sacramento. Lucy is going to love to see you again.” Matthew said excitedly.
“Lucy?” Was she a kid or something? I would’ve thought that he’d have told me that we had a kid.
“Oh, right. Lucy’s our Great Dane.”
“Wow, isn’t that a big dog for an apartment?”
“She loves it, trust me.”
“Huh…I seem to remember that I like dogs.”
“You love dogs!” Matthew cried. “And all other animals for that matter.”
“Yes, I do remember that.”
“Well that’s a good sign isn’t it?” Matthew turned to the doctor with hope in his eyes.
“We can’t really know for sure.” He replied. “It could be that she is gaining more and more of her memory back as she is told about her old life, but until the tests come back there’s no way of knowing for certain.”
The happy look on Matt’s face dimmed a little, but then he looked at me and smiled. “Don’t worry, Anna Banana, we’ll work things out. You’ll remember everything if I have anything to say about it.” Anna Banana? Yeah, I was going to have to do something about that.
“Thanks Matt. I’m already remembering things. Like that nickname of mine.”
“What, Anna Banana?” Matt looked at me curiously.
“Yes, I always hated it, didn’t I?” Matt looked down at his hands, embarrassed, I’d say. Good. Maybe he won’t call me that anymore. Maybe I could use this amnesia thing for my own good. I looked at the doctor, who gave me a questioning smile. I winked. He concealed a laugh.
“Yeah, but I always thought it was cute.” He actually looked sad.
It made me feel bad, so I changed the subject. “So do you have any family?” I asked. We couldn’t both be alone on the world, after all.
“Yes. That was the reason we moved to California. You see, we used to live in Colorado, where your accident happened. But then we moved to California to be with my family. Neither of us had any ties to anyone Colorado. We were only attached to the mountains. You and my sister hit it off years ago when you first met and, until the accident, were completely inseparable. You always said that she was the closest thing to a sister you’d ever had.” Matt smiled. I managed a vague smile back. He obviously loved his family very much. And me as well, apparently. I felt so bad that I couldn’t remember loving him and that I would have to fall in love with him all over again. But it also worried me. What if I didn’t end up loving him? Then what? He was my only connection to the world. I wouldn’t be able to make it without him. I couldn’t just give him up, but I also couldn’t lead him to believe that I felt the same way as he did.
“So where are we now? California or Colorado?” I asked.
“You are in Boulder General Hospital. Right in the heart of the Colorado Mountains.” Dr. Jameson answered my question.
“And I’ve been here for almost four years?” I asked hoping I had heard them wrong the first time.
“Just about, yeah.” Fabulous.