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Love Letter Ghost
I wake up in the white room alone. The smell of cleaning products makes my head spin as I stare up at the florescent lights. A machine beside me beeps and white figures rush into the room. Their faces smile and their happiness should be contagious. They ask me questions and I give one word answers. They make a big deal out of it. There was an acceded. They thought I would be dead. I should be dead. I don’t feel the relief.
A man dressed in normal clothes ushers the nurses out and we are left alone. A blanket of silence hangs between us as he stares at me; fear and desperation swim within his tired eyes. His voice breaks the silence and with the sound comes a wave of memories.
I remember the first date; easy conversation over a fancy diner; the feeling of warmth gripping my hand; his arms wrapped protectively around me. I remember stolen kisses beneath the trees, the whispered plans, the unbroken promises. I remember every moment of the past three years. And I remember the feelings; the happiness, joy, excitement, and the love. And then I remember the accident; the pain and fear as the car slammed into me.
I open my eyes and stare at his face, every line and crease identical to the image stored in my mind. He smiles and I mirror the image. “They said you might not know who I am.” He pauses looking down, as his hands grasp mine. I feel warmth but the butterflies are missing. When he looks up at me his eyes are brimmed with tears. “But I couldn’t believe them Cass. They said I shouldn’t have come but...I just had to know. I had to see you.” His words blur and his hands tighten around mine. I remember the feeling of sadness. My eyes should water, my breathing should catch, and my throat should tighten’ but nothing happens. I sit in silence.
“Cass. Cassie. I need to hear it from you...” He trails off fearing the answer to the unasked question. “Do...do you remember me?”
I should feel love. I should feel the butterflies. I should feel the need, the desire. But I feel nothing. I am still. I remember but I do not feel. I wonder which question he is really asking. But I cannot lie. I do remember. I remember it all. “Yes.” I whisper, my voice coarse as the word falls from my cracked lips. “I remember.” I remember joy, and I know I should feel it. I remember sadness, yet it does not fill me when I think of what is missing.
He reaches towards me; wrapping my fragile frame in warmth. Beneath his thin shirt I feel his heart speed up as relief seeps through his veins. I wonder if he notices that mine does not change. I fold myself into him, and I remember.
When he leaves the doctors try to explain. There was an accident, they started. I had been in a coma. My head was hit. Hard. There was damage. They hadn’t thought I would survive. But I did. They explained but said nothing. When I tried to ask what damage, the room grew silent. I remember anger. I should be angry at them for not answering. “What happened?” I ask, my voice not raised the way it should be.
Then they told me the truth. They didn’t know. Many patients, they said, experienced memory loss, but that didn’t seem to be the case. Others were unable to talk, and on rare occasions, the emotions would disappear. They would remember the feelings, but couldn’t actually feel them. They were quick to state that many patients recovered...somewhat. I did not move and said nothing, until I asked them to leave. And then because there was nothing else to do, I went to sleep and I dreamed.
I dreamed of the past. I imagined the emotions that were lost. I picture myself and can see I am angry but it was not connected. I relived my life, picture by picture, like a ghost slipping through the scenes. I watch but I do not feel. I remember the accident, the bright lights and the pain creeping through every inch of my body before it all went black. When I wake I know I should be sweating, but the fear is not there.
He’s sitting in a chair beside my bed when I open my eyes, a book spread across his lap. Sensing my consciousness he looks up, his face full of love. I try to copy it but know it doesn’t look convincing. He laughs, smiling at my attempt and laces his fingers with mine.
“Hey, Cass.” I remember the joy when he spoke my name. The room is quiet. I can feel his eyes studying my face and I look away. Beside me he tenses.
“What’s wrong?” I question, trying to force care into my voice. He shakes his head softly, a smile stretching across his face. He lets go of my hand and leans in to kiss me. His lips gentle against mine. The memory bubbles within me, telling my body what to do, what I should feel. I wonder absently if he can tell the difference and know he must. I try to search for the emotion but I cannot find it.
He pulls back whispering in my ear. “I thought I had lost you Cass. All these days you’ve been...asleep, I’ve been broken, only half there. It was selfish I know, but I was nothing without you. You complete me Cassie, and I can’t imagine ever living without you.” His words fight to get out. His voice catches as he reaches a hand towards his jean pocket. When he looks up once again, hiss hand clutches at a small box. I think of movies I’ve seen. I think of the excitement, the quickened heart beat as warmth spreads through veins, I think of the happiness but I do not feel it.
The chair squeaks against the over shined floor as he lowers himself to one knee. The box flips open and I stare at the glittering ring. “Cassie, you are the only women I ever want. Will you marry me?” His voice wobbles as he looks up at me hopefully. I can’t say anything, I have no words. Instead I reach for him drawing his warmth towards me.
“I love you.” He whispers against my cheek. I search for the feeling, remember the love, the hope, the happiness. I know how it should feel, I know it was there. But it is nothing but a dream; just the ghost of a love letter since forgotten. I try to force the words from my mouth, to act out the memory once more. But the words are not true and I cannot lie.