Projects > Story-of-the-Day > other-half
Other halfThe fluorescent lights are blindingly bright. When I manage to get my eyes open, I find that I'm lying in a hospital bed. A nurse and a woman with a large scar through her left eyebrow.
A nurse watching me says, "Hello, Mr. Roberts. Are you feeling ok?"
Am I Mr. Roberts? "Umm, I have a small headache." I finally notice a burning sensation, "Oh, and my should really hurts." I try to look at it but it's covered in layers of bandages.
"We'll get you some Ibuprofen for the headache. Your shoulder is healing, but it will take some time." She paused, then continued, "Do you remember what happened, Mr. Roberts?"
"No, I don't remember coming here at all." I'm actually having trouble remembering anything at all. Even my name doesn't sound right. Mr. Roberts sounds so grown up.
"Okay, well you received a gunshot wound to your shoulder about six days ago. You were brought into emergency and were treated for severe blood loss from a rupture of your superior thoracic artery. You're were shot while walking in the sidewalk outside of your home." The nurse pointed to a person on the other side of the bed. "You'd probably be dead if your wife wasn't there with you."
I look at my wife. Wait, I'm married? I look back to the nurse, "I seem to have some memory issues."
"You fell and hit your head against the concrete. You're lucky, there's no sign of a concussion or skull fracture. It varies from person-to-person, but you usually regain your memories pretty quickly after head trauma.
I smile politely at my wife. She doesn't even look familiar.
The nurse continued, "Well, you've actually be in stable condition for the last three days. Your wife has offered to take care of you, and the doctor has agreed to let you go home today. So we can get you a wheelchair and get you home if you'd like now."
I looked at my wife, "You know what to do, sweetie?" Do I call her sweetie?
She looked at me pretty coldly and said, "I know what to do."
The nurse continued, "I know you don't remember this, but you've actually been awake and conscious for the last four days. Our neurologist has gone over your MRIs and said you're good to go. She wants you to call back in every three days about your memory issue." She smiled, "Don't worry your wife has this all on paper." The nurse opened the drapes surrounding us, "Let me go get you that wheelchair."
I looked at my wife, "I'm sorry, I don't even remember you. So are we happily married?"
She half smiled. That doesn't seem like the right reaction. Maybe I've asked her the same question too many times. I wonder what she's like.
The nurse returned with a wheelchair. "Okay, your wife's already signed everything. So let's get you on here, and you two can be on your way."
I learned an important lesson right then: putting your weight on your shoulders to get up is a bad idea if you've been recently shot in the shoulder. The nurse pushed me through hallway after hallway, and my wife follows to the side. I notice that one of the lights in the ceiling is much brighter than it should be. one of the lights in the ceiling. Suddenly I'm flooded with a memory. I remember the feeling of looking up at a streetlight after getting shot.
"Hey, I remember something. It's right after I got shot. I remember the feeling of the cold ground under me and looking up at a streetlight."
My wife walked a little bit faster and looked over at me. She seemed concerned. The nurse didn't seem to be phased at all, "See, there you go. A few more days and I'll bet you remember your phone number."
When we got out, the nurse stayed with me while my wife went to get the car. I looked over at the nurse, "So, what's my wife's name? I can't remember and it seemed weird to ask."
The nurse chuckled, "It's Marilyn, Mr. Roberts. And your first name is John." She paused for a moment as a car with my wife pulled up. "And I'm Carly." She helped me into the passenger seat of the car and I buckled up. "I hope that your shoulder heals and your memory returns quickly." She closed the door.
The door banging closed sounded like a gunshot. I remember the moment I got shot. I was out for a walk and somebody tapped my shoulder. I looked over and saw their face just as they shot me. "Hey hon." Do I called her -hon-? "I think I'm getting some of my memories back. I remember getting shot now. She looked over briefly at me but said nothing, doing the same half smile.
I look out the window and notice lines of people waiting to get in a club. I remember earlier on the night I was shot. I had been at a club. I remember dancing with a few other women. Maybe that's why I'm getting silence and the half smiles.
We're pretty far out from the city when my wife takes an exit. It's out in the middle of looks like only farmers on tractors come around here. I look over at my wife. She's fidgeting with her purse while driving. I ask, "Do we really live out here?" Not even a half smile this time. She pulls around a large hill and stops the car. I point at my shoulder, "Uh, I think I should probably take it easy with my shoulder having been shot and all. Maybe we can come out here and look some other time."
She looks at me, "Get out. I want to show you something."
As I close the door behind me, I look over at my wife. Wait! I remember seeing her face now. She isn't my wife. I don't think I'm even married actually. She was the person who shot me.
I watch as she puts her hand in her purse, "This time I won't miss."