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Brielle sits straight up on the hospital bed, gazing at the doctor in a uniform speaking to her. She wasn’t paying attention to one word he was saying. Brielle was terrified of what was happening, she had forgotten she had a life. The lights in the hospital room were dim, it reminded her of a horror movie. The doctor continued rambling about what had happened.The accident. Her head slamming against the car window. She couldn’t remember. Brielle stares at the man’s name tag, Dr. Finch. She wasn’t familiar with the name even though the man was by her side for years, probably comforting her while she slept. He kept a stern expression on his face slowly slurring his words to make sure Brielle understood. She nodded at his remark but didn’t know half of the things he had said to her. She was in shock.
“Brielle do you understand me? You’ve been in a coma for over two years.” She sat still and studied his lips as he said it to her. Coma. The word was hanging in the air still, the word was being mouthed over and over from Dr. Finch’s lips. She realized, staring at Dr. Finch was being disrespectful, so she turned her eyes to her lap. Her legs looked different somehow, like she has gained weight. Of course she wouldn’t remember because apparently she lost three whole years of her life. She hasn’t spoken, she’s scared to say something, scared it will come out wrong or her voice will sound like it did when she was thirteen. Brielle gulps and looks back up at the man who’s expression has changed to sympathy.
“I-- I,” she can feel the word on the tip of her tongue, “understand.” When she says the word it feels like she’s out of breath. Dr. Finch smiles sadly and puts his hand on her arm for comfort. Brielle freezes when he touches her. It’s almost like it’s the first time anyone’s touched her. Why was she so scared? Is it normal to feel like you are already dead?
“I’m sorry this happened to you Brielle,” he pats her arm and tries to put on a warm smile, “I’m going to give you some time to think. Please tell the nurse if you need anything.” Without thinking for once Brielle nods in response and watches Dr. Finch leave the hospital room. She sighs when the man is gone, like letting go of everything he had just told her. She looks around the room wishing she could remember coming here. Brielle wonders where her parents are, but then again Dr. Finch told her they were in the car accident. He didn’t say anything about them being dead. How could she have blocked so many things he said? She should have listened better.
Brielle lays back down on the un-made hospital bed. She can’t remember waking up. She can’t think of any of her dreams, dreams she must of had the past three years. She stares at the white ceiling, trying to pick out the marks that can be made into something. Like studying clouds and seeing something else, she sees a morphed bunny running into what looks like a dragon. She must still have the mind of a thirteen year old. What if she will never be able to sleep again? She wonders. If she lays down in her bed at night and tries to drift in to sleep, what if she can’t do it? The fear of sleep is too overwhelming now. The only thing she hears in her head over and over again, you’ve been asleep for too long.
Dr. Finch leads her into a different room she’s never been in. He told her to wait because she has visitors coming in to see her. She’s not sure what’s going on. For one week she’s been laying in the same hospital bed every night. Brielle realized she can only sleep when she’s exhausted. Her body just shuts down automatically. Of course she can’t fall asleep from command. Dr. Finch never explained about her parents. It must be a way to help her recover before the news. Death or not around anymore. What if they forgotten her, moved on from their lives? It’s the last thing Brielle could handle. She wonders if she can take her own life after she leaves the hospital.
Brielle sits safely on the bed in front of her, among four chairs leaning against the opposite wall. Dr. Finch leaves the room and tells her to wait. Anxiety is taking over her, what if she can’t remember who they are? How can Dr. Finch not tell her who’s coming? Are they doing a test on her?
Minutes later a boy walks in. Not any boy she recognizes. He looks around her age, wearing a dark hoodie and jeans. His brown hair is swooped to the side and his big smile reveals his reflective white teeth. “Brielle, oh my god. This is the best day of my life.” He comes closer to her, so close she can see the tears in his eyes, and then surprisingly he hugs her. Like when Dr. Finch touched her, she cringes. This boy must not know she has no idea who he is.
“Hello,” she mutters, not having one clue how to respond. Brielle keeps her hands at her sides as the boy awkwardly hugs her. He lets go and the look in his eyes has changed. She can now tell the boy’s tears are full of sadness now. The strange boy backs up and stares at her, like he’s studying her. There’s a wall of fear blocking him now. Brielle suddenly feels guilty she can’t remember who he is. What if this boy was her lover?
The boy opens his mouth after a few minutes and says, “Do you not remember me?” She can see the look in his eyes, like he’s about ready to break down into tears. Brielle shakes her head slowly, there’s a roller coaster inside her head, she’s trying so hard to relocate her memories. Guilt is building up inside her, the anxiety is too much now. The boy gets down on his knees and looks Brielle straight in the eyes, like he’s trying to show her something. “My name is Chris. I was your boyfriend.” ‘Was’, my boyfriend. She thinks. Not anymore.
Dr. Finch knocks on the door breaking the silence of Brielle and Chris staring into each other’s eyes. Chris stands up and turns to see Dr. Finch in the doorway.
“Hello Brielle,” he walks to the edge of the bed and looks at Chris, “Chris.”
“Hi,” she replies, her eyes falling to the ground. She can feel Chris’s eyes burning into her.
Dr. Finch studies their expressions and says, “Is everything alright?”
As soon as Dr. Finch says it, Brielle without entirely thinking blurts, “I don’t remember him.”
The room goes silent. Brielle can tell Dr. Finch knew this was going to happen. Her eyes fall to the floor, completely ashamed. Ashamed of what happened to her. Ashamed of who she is now. Ashamed of the accident. Really all Brielle wanted to do was be in a coma for the rest of her life.
Dr. Finch speaks in a strong tone, “It’s understandable. We had a guess this was going to happen. I’m afraid Brielle you are also not conscious of one year before you fell into a coma.” Brielle looks back at Chris who is still staring at her, motionless. She looks for a moment at his face then gazes back at the ugly tile on the floor. She has his face in her mind, now she is trying so hard to remember. But she can’t. She just can’t.
Brielle continues staring at the floor, her words barely squeezing out, “Does that mean I can’t remember anything the year I turned thirteen?”
“Yes,” Dr. Finch says with no hesitation. The whole world must be falling on her, she can barely breath. Brielle can feel the tears coming, another achievement. First time crying in three years. Brielle can barely stand being in the room with two strange men. She wants to scream at the top of her lungs. She wishes she never existed. With nothing left to say she covers her face with her hands. Tears are all that comes.
“We’ll leave you alone Brielle,” says Dr. Finch. Then, all that’s left disappears again.
Brielle stands outside in the rain. At first, when she left her room it was just drops, now her hoodie is soaked. She takes one more step towards the house, she can remember who lives there. She can remember when she used to spend her time there, rocking in the front porch swing, holding hands with Chris. Brielle stands safely apart from the front lawn, her feet firmly on the dead road. She examines the window in the front of the house next to the stairs and the porch. It’s Chris’s window. She sees a light inside the room. He doesn’t know she’s there.
The last time they saw each other was the moment Brielle broke into tears in the hospital room, trying to locate her memory of him. She wants to run inside the house, grab Chris in her arms, and met him in a passionate kiss. But she can’t. He only sees the side of her that doesn’t remember. All that’s left to do is let him know she does now.
Brielle walks towards the house, her heart beating fast. Dr. Finch doesn’t know she left the hospital. She sat in her room wondering all night how she was going to sneak out. She stops right next to Chris’s window and stares quietly at the blinds of dim light. And then she slowly brings her hand up to it and knocks her fist against the glass twice.
You decide the rest.