Chapter 2: Identity, Dreams, and Medication

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Gay and Lesbian  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 216

 

“Honey, you haven’t touched your food or talked much since you got home.  Is something wrong?”

My father, my mother, and I were sitting around the large centerpiece in the middle of the grand looking table.  The chandelier above made it gleam, along with the polished stone floor beneath it.  From my end of the table, I picked at the broccoli on my plate, wishing that I was anywhere but here under the intense scrutiny of the people that I had once known to be my parents.  Even they were new to me; I wasn’t sure if we had always had this awkward relationship, or if it was something I had just gotten used to.

“Sweetie, I really wish you would talk to us,” said mother with a slight coo.  “I’m your mother, I’m not a stranger...” her voice trailed off.

These past few weeks, I had been introduced and introduced again to people that I had supposedly known, people I was unsure whether I liked or disliked, people who were round or tall, people who I had absolutely no recollection of.  Every once in awhile I would feel a spark of recognition, as I had with the girl onscreen, but it faded just as quickly.  My parents had been no exception to this fact, though I seemed to gravitate towards them when a new presence entered my vicinity; they were my unwanted safe haven when I needed to feel protection.  Otherwise, I wished to be left alone.

Breaking my silent steak, I looked up from a piece of albino broccoli that actually had a name I was unsure of (I was sure it was Cauldinot or Caulaplant or something of the nature) as I cleared my throat.  “Mom, what is this stuff?”  I pointed to it with my fork.

“That’s cauliflower, sweetie,” she said, with her best confused expression.

“Ah!”  I shouted, startling both of them.  I grinned.  “I knew it started with a C!”

My parents, who were both holding their breath, instantly relaxed from their worried, tense positions.

“I don’t think I like cauliflower very much,” I said, making a face.

“It’s good for you, Adeline,” said father tersely.  “Good for your brain.”

Suddenly, I had the urge to chuck the plate across the room.  I should have known!  I screamed inside my head.  Everything lately seemed to be carefully calculated, as if they were both doing figures in their head and I was a percentage.  As if they could increase the chances of my memory returning with a dozen little things.

“Why are you so worried about my brain?”  I asked, bluntly.  Being practical strangers with these two didn’t leave me with too much disgression at what I did or didn’t say.  I had learned that the best way to get answers around here was to be blunt or straightforward with every question, or else all I would get back was a concerned, sugar coated version of the truth.

“We worry because it’s our job, Adeline,” said father with a frown.  “We just want to do the best we possibly can for you right now.”  He pauses and clucks his tongue before adding, “And that constitutes eating your food.”

I smiled.  “Thanks dad, but...I’m starting to feel a headache coming on.”  I rub my temples, as if to emphasize a migraine that I wasn’t really having.  “I need the quiet.  May I go up to my room, please?”

My mother and father exchanged worried glances.  Mother nodded.  “Sure, but I’ll be up in a little while to check up on you.”

She reached across the table to feel my forehead, which was probably burning up just from the frustration I was feeling.  I was slightly aggravated with them, aside from the constant anger and resentment I felt at myself for not being able to do a better job at remembering.  It almost felt as if they were afraid of my entire situation, although it wasn’t something that could currently be helped.  I returned a nod and scampered from the room like a mouse trying to escape a very hungry predator.

The cool of my room was a relief, and helped me settle instantly.  I looked at the corkboard on my wall and an instant wave of calm washed over me.  On it, there were dozens of pictures, mostly of me and the girl from the video; until earlier, I hadn’t known her name, and hadn’t asked my parents who she was.  In one photograph, there was a picture of both of us roaring at each other like lions.  In another, we were in a place that struck me as familiar but that I couldn’t yet name, with me covered in something that looked like magazine clippings and elbow macaroni.  Our faces looked slightly younger than in the others.

The picture that caught my eye the most was a recent one of the two of us, surrounded by a few people who must have been really good friends, judging on everyone’s close proximity.  I recognized a few of them slightly, but not enough to place a name or memory.  The girl, Cali, was leaned over on her tiptoes, with both hands around my waist, kissing me on the cheek.  I was blushing and looking down at the floor, as if the converse I had been wearing would save me from some feelings that, even then, I didn’t seem to understand; of course, to everyone else, it probably didn’t look anything out of the ordinary, just two best friends showing normal affection for each other.  Only the video of Cali made me question what I saw now.

A sharp knock on the door shook me from my thoughts, and before I could speak, my mother was standing before me.  “How are you feeling, sweetie?”  She asked, crossing the room to where I stood.

“Confused,” I muttered, not sparing anything less than the truth for her.  She looked up at the corkboard and her smile momentarily twitched into something else I couldn’t fathom.  However, when I blinked, it was gone, which made me wonder if I had really seen it or if I was just losing even more of myself.

“You’ve always had such great friends,” she said, forcing a smile.  She looked down at the picture I held in my hands, the picture of the girl holding me around the waist and kissing my face.  Instantly, my cheeks felt hot, but I tried to hide it.

“Oh, that Cali,” said my mom teasingly.  “You know, she used to come over here so often that I considered her my second daughter.  You guys were very close.”

“Were.”  I raise my flat-toned voice at the end, ending it in a half answer.  Why do you talk about her like she’s dead?  She’s only missing, right?  That’s what the police told me in the hospital.  She’s only missing.”

Mother raised her eyebrows in concern.  “Oh, honey...”  She ran her fingers through my straight, dark brown hair that always looked almost black.  “Don’t be disappointed if she stays that way or if they find her b-”

“I don’t want to talk about this,” I say quickly, dismissing her next words.  “I don’t remember enough to care right now about that.”  I knew that my words were probably true, but something in the back of my mind said differently.  If she remained missing for much longer, or if the police really did find her remains somewhere, then how would I ever forgive myself?  I was supposed to be the last person that Cali had talked to before she went missing, which would have made me a suspect if I hadn’t wrecked badly while she was on speakerphone, thus sealing my alibi.  Unfortunately that was all I remembered about my wreck, pressing the Bluetooth button on my radio and then waking up in the hospital; if my last incoming call hadn’t been traced, no one would have figured out that Cali had tried to contact me.

“Alright,” she said, smoothing my hair one last time.  “I won’t talk about it until you’re ready.  No one is trying to pressure you into it, but it probably seems that way, at times.”

You have no idea how pressured I feel!  I wanted to scream, but I kept it inside my head, unheard.

“I’m not going to make you go to school tomorrow, either,” she said absently.  “The doctor said that you need to rest the next few days.  He and your therapist seem to think that it would overwhelm you right now, unless you think you’re ready.”

“No,” I say flatly.  No part of me had any desire to go to a place where hundreds of people would be staring at me like a freak of nature.  I was certain that, by now, the news of the accident would be all over the place.  After all, the wealthy loved to gossip, and with two dentists for parents, I lived right in the middle of it.  Stuff like this just didn’t happen without getting its fair share of publicity.

On top of that, I still had no idea who to rely on and who to be wary of, so I assumed the latter and kept my guard up at all times.  New people were not to be trusted, especially not while I was this vulnerable.  Having no memory left me very malleable, and having no previous identity to build myself on made me even more cautious. As of late, I had been watching and hoping to figure everything out by how others reacted to me, but it wasn’t very helpful yet.  I had already been awake for nearly an entire week and all I knew about myself was what little my parents, hospital letters, and jam-packed corkboard could provide.

Even worse, I seemed to be a lot more confused about more than just that.  I wasn’t sure what Cali and I had been, if we had been anything at all.  I considered that the excerpt from her video log had been just a joke, but then I pushed that out of my head.  It had been way too heartfelt for her confession to be anything less than that.  Even in the state I was in, I knew that she would either have to be a very good actor, or I would have to face the logic that what I had seen was the truth.

“Mom,” I said, hoping to catch her before she left my room.  She turned around.

“Yes, Adeline?”

“What will the kids at school say, when I go back?”

She frowned.  “I’m not sure, Hun.  Kids will talk, but you shouldn’t let that bother you.  I’m sure you’ll figure it out, when you’re ready.”  With that, she ambled off, leaving me with a million questions I wasn’t sure I wanted to answer yet.

Still, I thought gloomily, I’ll have to face them sooner or later.

Outside, the patter of raindrops grew into thundering drums, and lightning cracked in the sky like gunshots.  Silently I wondered if Cali’s kidnapper would ever be found, or if she would become another sad statistic.  After all, it had been two weeks since her sudden disappearance, and I had read since then that the first 48 hours were the most crucial.  That window of time had already since been sextupled and then centupled by now, virtually killing off any chances we had of finding her.

God, I prayed, I don’t know how to help.  I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do.  I can’t remember anything at all, not anything...not even Cali.  I know I should remember, but it’s like there’s a big brick wall up and I don’t know how to get past it.  Please, if you can hear me, help me.  Please help her, and keep her safe.  Give me a sign that I’m not the only one trying here...

I looked down at the picture one last time, and suddenly, something peculiar began to take place.  My eyes began to water, and threatened to spill over the ends of my eyelashes.  Even worse yet, my heart gave the motion of sinking into my stomach, which coiled tightly.  I looked into the mirror, not understanding what was taking place.  Something inside of me was trying to break.  What was happening to me?

Tears, I realized quietly.  You’re crying...

 I just as quickly dried my eyes with my jacket sleeve.  Crying wouldn’t help me now; I hadn’t cried once, not since waking up, or ever that I could remember (which didn’t say much).  The feeling was new and I hated it.  It was such a feeling of helplessness, of self pity, that I opted to push it away, uncaring of my daunting feelings inside.  No matter what happened, I would be strong and work my way through it.  I had survived the wreck, hadn’t I?  I had fought for my life for 11 days straight in a hospital bed against multiple lacerations, internal bleeding, and blood transfusions.  I had faced the scares of possible blood clotting and extensive brain damage without this foreign thing taking place on my face, which had remained stoic for three days now.

Without another thought of my sudden, weird display of emotion, I changed into a pair of yellow sophies and an old La Crosse shirt and climbed under the covers of my twin sized canopy bed.  I closed the drapes on my window and fell into an instant slumber, wondering if I would slip off into dreamland or if the medication I had been fed the past few days would deprive me of it; nevertheless, all of my worries faded away with the darkness.

 

“Shhh! Your gunna scare the birds away!”

“What birds?”  I said, hissing as I stepped my way after Cali and into the underbrush.  We were at Coal’s Park, her favorite place to explore, and the weather was chilly.  It would be sundown soon.  Cali knew I despised cold weather, but today I didn’t mind; it was just a front, and it didn’t take her long to break my face into a smile.

“Will you please tell me where we’re going?”  I begged, looking around the steep trail.  “And why are you barefoot?”

“Oh, you’ll see,” she said, winking, and grabbing my hand to help support me as we descended a small outcropping of rocks, and up another.  All around us, the sounds of the forest were dying, and the brilliant sun shone closer and closer to earth in the sky.  Cali had me in one hand and a flashlight in the other.  She had insisted that she didn’t leave without it.  The beauty of our surroundings in dusk started to flare, and I focused on the path before me, wondering what could possibly be waiting at the top.

Finally, we reached the summit of the mountain of rock, and I caught my breath.  The scene before me was so beautiful, so unearthly, that I could barely comprehend it.  Small pine trees littered the valley below, so close by that I could almost touch their tips; a little brook babbled sweet nothings into the twilight, reflecting the sun in the golden hour.  Soft coos could be heard from somewhere above, as if the creatures perched nearby were singing lullabies.  “It’s beautiful,” I said, and I closed my eyes.

“So are you...”  She said, softly.

I snapped my eyes open, and Cali’s amber colored eyes were trained on me, watching mine closely.  Without thinking, I reached for her hand, like I always did when I started to think of the bad things, and instantly I was pulled into a heavenly embrace.  I felt confused, but at peace knowing that Cali was my protection.  The sweet scent of strawberries and pine filled my lungs.

“Wait,” I said as she went to pull away.  She looked at me, and I saw a light in her eyes.  “Don’t go...”

“I’m not going to leave you, Koda Bear,” she whispered in my ear, and with my hand she perched on the ledge of the overlook, forcing a very willing me into a sitting position beside her.  I laid my head on her shoulder, watching the sun illuminate us.

“I’m so glad that you brought me here,” I said as she traced circles in my hand with her finger, just as softly as I spoke.

“I wanted you to see it,” she said back, smiling.  “I wanted you to see the second most beautiful thing I’ve ever laid my eyes one.”

I sat up.  “What’s the first?”

“It’s a secret,” she said, giggling.

“Well will you tell me?”  I asked, leaning towards her, as she motioned for me to with her hands.

“Well...” she said, whispering in my ear.  “You.”

Suddenly, without thinking, I closed whatever boundaries I had set up before, and lost my inhibitions.  I knew the kiss was coming; I waited for it, desperately needing the feel of her lips on mine.  However, right as we were closing in, the earth collapsed beneath me and disappeared.  I was falling, falling...

A shrill, sharp cry pierced the air, and I looked desperately around to find nothing but surrounding darkness.  The motion of falling ceased, and I had the sudden impression of swimming.  The scenery quickly faded into a different picture of soft blue and grey, and I found myself swept up inside a sea somewhere.  Unable to move, I began to push the water in front of me away with my hands, while propelling myself forward by kicking my feet behind me.  I swam upwards, trying to reach someplace other than solid, impenetrable blue; how far out into sea was I?

“Adeliiiine....”

Cali’s voice was once again ringing in my ears, from everywhere around me.  I tried to speak, but nothing but bubbles escaped my lips.  Abruptly I realized that I couldn’t breathe, and began to panic as my fear escalated.

“Adeliiiine...” she called again, almost sorrowfully.  Every muscle in my body stopped as I realized that I was drowning.  Water filled my lungs, and my hands, which were clawing desperately at my throat, ran out of energy to move.  I let go, and my eyes began to close as my entire being sunk in the water.  I let out a parting sigh, and closed my eyes, hoping that death would be silent and, at least, tell me who I was.

 

“Adeline, honey, it’s time for you to wake up.”

My eyes opened once more to my mother, and instantly I forgot everything I had just dreamed.  I blinked and reached for the notebook and pen on my nightstand, but stronger hands held my weak body back.

“What are you doing, sweetie?”My mom said, knitting her brows.  “You have to be very careful with this,” she said, tapping my right clavicle lightly.  My shoulder was still very bruised and completely bandaged up on my right side from being dislocated.  I cringed a little, not from pain but from remembering the pain involved in relocating it at the Chiropractor’s.  Noticing my expression immediately, my mother yanked her hand back, and smiled apologetically before helping me sit up.  “It’s 8:00.  Time for you to take your medicine.”

I barely had time to groan before it was being shoved down my throat.  “Swallow,” she demanded, and I nodded obediently and took the glass of water to wash it down.  I rolled the pill that was seemingly the size of Texas to the back of my mouth and down my throat quickly.  Next she handed me a small cup of clear, blue liquid and I downed that too, trying not to gag on the horrible aftertaste.

“That one was for your shoulder,” she said, explaining.  “It’s going to make you feel a little groggy for a little while.”

After all that, she still wasn’t finished.  She took a small syringe and, unwrapping all of my dressing, set it on the table beside her and pulled out a fresh, brown cloth bandage and some gauze.  I gritted my teeth at the alcohol on the cloth as she touched it to my stitched up puncture wound, but I didn’t let out any sound.  Fresh gauze was pressed to the side of my shoulder and held in place with white medical tape, followed by the new cloth.  All of this was done while I sported nothing on from my waist up, but having no previous identity, I wasn’t ashamed of it.  The entire right side of my body was badly bruised and so, when I slept, I found it easier to rest without a shirt on, and mother had found it easier to take care of me that way, too.

I looked down at my chest, which was flat as a board, and frowned, suddenly wondering for the first time if I should be ashamed to be naked in front of my mother.  I was seventeen years old, and I had long since hit puberty; still, my breasts remained undefined, only just barely extruding, looking exactly as a man with defined pecks might, but softer.  I sighed and let my mother prick me with the needle, which contained a muscle relaxer that I had been prescribed, cursing my bad fortune and tall, lanky build.

After the shot, mother finished wrapping me and laid me back down in bed.  “I’ve got to go to work now, Abby,” she said with a frown.  “You know to call me if you need anything at all.  Your cell phone is on the nightstand.  Oh, and you’ll probably sleep for a little while from that relaxer...”

“Got it,” I said, yawning.  I was already feeling the injection getting to work, traveling through my bloodstream faster than I originally anticipated.  I rubbed the side of my face with my hand, trying to recall where she had stuck me with it, but gave up, as my thoughts were becoming a jumbled mess of words and sound.

“Mkay,” I said, indifferently.  “Love you momma...I’m sleepy...”

She leaned in, kissed me on the forehead, and pulled the covers back over me.  I became distinctly aware of footsteps receding into the distance, but I had already closed my eyes, and started to fade off into a heavily medicated sleep, this time without dreaming.


Submitted: March 03, 2012

© Copyright 2021 Lywren Bellisario. All rights reserved.

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