The first line for this fictional short story was sent to me by American blogger, Christina.
You can find her blog at https://webbblogscom.wordpress.com/
As he lay in the hospital bed he thought to himself, ‘should I tell this woman I have no idea who she is, or let the doctors explain I have amnesia?’
They had told him his name was Edward John Fuller. It said so on his driving licence. The police had given his date of birth too, making him fifty-two years old. Hit by a bus as he walked across the road, the large wing mirror striking the side of his head, according to the paramedics. Unconscious for three days, and then woke up remembering nothing.
It felt very strange to have no memories. He could not recall his childhood, what he did for a living, being married, and having a daughter who was twenty-six years old. When they showed him his face in the mirror it was the face of a stranger. Thinning hair, grey at the temples, deep lines either side of his nose running down to the corners of his mouth. Not a handsome face, not the face Edward would have liked to have seen.
He looked under the bedclothes when they had left him alone, lifting the hospital gown to examine the unfamilar body. Heavy thighs, slack skin around his navel. He felt as if he was inhabiting an alien form, and didn’t like what he saw.
There was a memory. A woman crying, being comforted by a younger woman with long hair in a plait. But that memory was only from ysterday, when he had woken up on what felt like the first day of his life. The women left, both in tears. A smiling nurse told him it was his wife and daughter. “Sarah and Melanie, do you remember them, Edward?
Silly question he had thought, but didn’t say that.
Now she was back. The older one, Sarah. She was holding his hand, and showing him photos in an album. A wedding, someone standing next to her in a smart suit. A younger man holding a baby. The same man lifting a toddler from a swing. She was saying it was him. “Look, Ed. Here you are holding Mel, you must remember her”.
Staring at the stranger, her face a picture of concern and stress, he felt no emotion. But he was confused. How did he know he was in a hospital? How did he even know what a hospital was? What a nurse was? He understood what they said when they spoke to him. He drank the drinks they offered him, and ate the food provided. All of that was familiar, though he could not recall a single moment of his life before he had woken up in that bed.
Deciding not to tell her, and to say nothing at all, he closed his eyes. If he did that for long enough, this Sarah woman might go away, leave him in peace to think. Thinking was good. It gave him options.
The first option was to say he knew her. Go home to a house he had never seen, and live with a woman he didn’t know. Sleep in a bed with a stranger, and pretend to be a father to a daughter he had no knowledge of. There must be some kind of job he had to go back to as well, maybe a good career. Both the women were well-dressed, and he had been told there was a lot of money in his wallet, as well as numerous credit cards. He was wondering why he remembered things like jobs, then realised he wouldn’t have a clue how to do whatever it was he had done before.
Alternatively, he could choose option two. Refuse to acknowledge this woman, decline to go home with her as the nurse had suggested. Walk out into the world with just a name, and no past. Start life from day one, in an unfamiliar world. Learn whatever he needed to know all over again, hopefully make different choices in life.
When he opened his eyes, she had gone.
And he had chosen option two.