If One Day…
If one day, I lost everything… my memories, my family, and my identity, would you care? Would you turn up to see me? Even if I could only remember you?
And what would you do if I could never see you?
“Where am I?” I blurted as soon as I awoke back into my senses. Everything was dark and black. There was nothing in front of me. But it was warm, and there seemed to be something moving, something banging into plastic and metal.
“You’re in the hospital,” said a kind female voice. “You poor thing. Scared us to fright, with all that blood pouring out of your head. Now, does anything hurt? Is anything wrong?”
I waved my arms in front of my face. “Could you turn on the light? It’s so dark in here.”
There was a short pause in everything, and I stopped receiving information from all my ears. Now that she said it, I could feel the coarse fabric underneath my fingers, and derived I was lying on a bed. There was a soft presence around my head and neck, but other than that, everything seemed fine.
“The light is on,” said the female voice finally.
“Well, it’s still really dark. I can’t see anything,” I said evenly. “And what happened?”
“Stay where you are, Raymond,” said the female voice a bit hurriedly. “I’ll get the doctor.”
I was about to protest, but decided maybe dozing off to sleep would be a more comfortable option.
“Raymond, just stay still. This shouldn’t hurt, but might feel a little uncomfortable,” said the doctor slowly. I nodded. “Could you open your eyes?”
I initiated the chain of muscle movements that I knew would pull my eyelids up, but the blackness still remained.
“Raymond,” said the doctor calmly, “do you see anything?”
“No,” I responded.
“Okay.” There was some scraping noise as the weight on the bed moved slightly closer to my face. “How about now?”
“Okay,” said the doctor. I felt him lean back and converse in a low whisper with someone – probably another nurse. I hummed quietly as I waited.
“Raymond, do you remember suffering any kind of injury, anything at all?”
“No,” I said. “I don’t remember anything. Well, I don’t remember anything past what a nice lady said to me when I woke up a couple of hours ago. At least I think it was a couple of hours ago.”
“What did she say?”
“She told me I was in hospital, and asked if anything hurt. I told her to turn on the light. And then she went to get a doctor. I fell asleep after that.”
“Okay, Raymond,” said the doctor kindly. “I’m just going to ask you a few questions. Is that fine with you?”
“How many world wars have there been?”
“Two,” I replied. I knew what he was doing, somehow. Testing my memory functions.
“What’s the capital of France?”
“Where are you right now?”
“Probably in a hospital. I don’t know, I can’t see.”
“What is your own name?”
“Raymond. Raymond Verve.”
“What is your school called?”
“I don’t know.”
“How old are you?”
“I don’t know either.”
“Okay then,” said the doctor. “That’s finished. I need to put you under a CRT scan, but that’ll be okay. Do you remember having any relatives… friends, classmates, any names?”
I concentrated for a moment, thinking. About whom I was. My past. And a single name, the only thing I could wrestle out, presented itself.
“There is one,” I said slowly, thinking. “Theodore… Theodore Wilson.”
A week later, or so the nurses told me, the doctor came back with some very bad news.
Well, another doctor. The last one was male. This one had a clipped female voice.
“Raymond,” she said with her voice low with seriousness. At least it wasn’t high-pitched and girly. “I have to tell you something. You suffered a severe blow to the head some time in your past, and it’s affected your occipital lobe in your brain. Your eyes and optic nerve are working fine, but your brain isn’t able to interpret the information and form an image. I’m sorry, Raymond. You’re officially blind.”
I knew it would be such, but the words still carried a heavy blow.
I’m sorry, Raymond. You’re officially blind.
She went on, later, explaining about how the same impact probably affected the memory sections of my brain and scrambled my recollections, which is why I couldn’t remember anything. There was probably some emotional trauma mixed into it, but everything she said just faded out into a blur of background scientific noise.
I was sitting in the bed, thinking over what the doctors had said, when he came.
“Raymond?” said Carol. She told me her name, and I learnt to associate it with her kind, motherly voice. “There’s someone to see you?”
“Who is it, the doctor again?”
“No, it’s actually a visitor. His name’s Theodore Wilson.”
I sat up straighter, looking around. A habit that I must have inherited. “Theodore?”
“It’s me,” he said quietly, and I recognised the low, rasping voice. “I heard about what happened. Happy birthday.”
“It’s my birthday?” I asked in amazement.
“Theodore… who am I?”
He sighed. “The nurses told me before they let me see you. Raymond… you’re the most amazing person I’ve ever met.”
“Yeah, thanks for the over-compliment.”
“If you knew what you had done, you wouldn’t say that. Because everything that happened to you… your memory loss, your blindness… you received while protecting me. Protecting me from something I was stupid enough to do.”
If… that day did come… would you be there? Or would I have to build another life… one without you?