Author's Note: See part 1 for disclaimers and notes. This is part 2/4.
Feedback: Please! I'd really like to know what you think.
It's been three days since I awoke from my coma. Three extra days I spent in the hospital. I've been poked and prodded, tested for brain damage, and allowed to eat solid food. Hospital food. Yuck. I had hoped Mom or Dad or Maria would smuggle me in a burger or something from the restaurant during one of their constant visits; they never did. But today I finally get to go home.
Mom pats my hand and moves to the doorway, "We've got to sign a few more papers, honey; we'll be back in just a minute."
I smile at her and nod and then, after the door closes, lean my head back against the wall.
Just a minute. Until recently, I never realized how many everyday phrases are about time. Specific time, general time, they pepper our language. Wait a second. Time is money. Time in a bottle.
Time heals all wounds. I think that one applies now. I slide my hand over the bandage on my side. I'd watched the last time they changed the dressings; the stitches are still there, and the hole isn't totally healed, but it's getting there. It makes me wonder though, if time was healing my body, what it was doing to my mind?
There don't seem to be any catchy phrases for having too much time, and yet, not enough. In the days since I've woken up, I've given this a lot of thought. Spent a lot of time determining what was real and what I imagined. And while I realize that the extra time didn't really happen, there are times I forget. The memories seem so real.
I have almost two years of extra memories. Good times, bad times, I can close my eyes and relive them all. But I'm missing at least a week of real time. The week that started when that bullet ripped through my body.
My family and friends have been great about filling in the blanks, giving me their memories to make up for my lack. But I can't give them mine, can't give them the extra years. They'd look at me like I'm crazy. And maybe I am. I definitely can't tell my parents. They're so happy to have their little girl back, whole and healed; how can I tell them I'm not only whole, but I have a little extra?
I almost told Maria a couple of times. The first was when she told me about missing the Crash Festival, and how disappointed she'd been to have not gotten to wear her green catsuit. I almost blurted out that she *had* gone. That she'd helped divert Sheriff Valenti's attention from Max. But then she moved on, and the moment, if it had ever existed, was gone.
The second time was when she'd asked me about the coma. "What was it like?"
What was it like? How could I even begin to explain? It was happiness and pain and love and death and betrayal. It was a whole other world. And I missed it. And I missed Max. I missed our closeness, the little looks we shared. I missed his touch. I missed his anger because, underneath everything that was happening, it meant he still cared. But he doesn't. Not really. He doesn't even know I exist. How do you tell your best friend all that?
And how could I tell her that she'd found love, too? With a strong, silent alien, a boy she barely knows exists. That she'd been happy and mad and scared and strong. I couldn't find the words, so I didn't tell her.
I can't tell Kyle either. He's visited every day since I woke up; my parents told me he was here every day before that, too. It would be too cruel to tell him about the extra memories. How do you tell your boyfriend that while you were in a coma, you found your soulmate? How do you tell your boyfriend that you had ripped his heart out with no explanation? That whatever you felt for him before you were shot disappeared when you woke up? I have to tell Kyle we're over. But I can't use a make-believe alien story as an excuse.
Alex is the only one who might believe me. Or at least, believe that I believe it. He'll listen to the whole story and then probably offer me other explanations. The drugs I'd been given. He might explain that time doesn't exist; it's merely a construct of man. Or tell me the theory of parallel universes, where maybe Max did somehow heal me. But I wouldn't believe him, so there's no point in telling him.
How do I tell any of them all this? Will they look at me like I'm crazy? Will they understand the heartbreak I feel right now? I just shake my head and say I don't remember anything.
The only other option would be to talk to a professional. I don't think so. Most of the time I know what's real and what isn't. I'll deal with it myself. One of the doctors suggested keeping a journal of what I was thinking and feeling about my "ordeal." I like that idea; I think I'll start one when I get home.
The door reopens and my parents enter with a nurse. I swing my legs over the side of the bed and walk really slowly to the waiting wheelchair. I lower myself into it. I'm really going home. Going back to where it happened. Back to my regularly scheduled time on earth.
I'm going home. Where I'll have all the time in the world to be alone with my thoughts. And my memories.
Perchance: 1 - Awakening / 2 - Time / 3 - Strangers / 4 - Focus
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