The first clear memory I have of my current situation is from about six months ago. I awoke in a strange room, in a strange bed feeling like utter crap. I was covered in scratches and bruises and my head was bandaged.
There was a gentle knock at my door and a man I did not recognize came in carrying a tray and said “Hey sleepyhead, how you doing? Could you manage a bit of breakfast?” I suppose I should have felt panic but my head was hurting an awful lot and I felt foggy and almost drunk and there was something reassuring about the man’s manner. I asked him where I was and who he was, and there was a look of agony on his face. “Oh darling, I was really hoping you’d remember today. It’s me Tom, I’m your husband. Please try and eat something” and with that he placed the tray on my knee.
“I do not know you.” I whimpered.
“I know honey” he sighed “but the doc said things could be patchy for a while. You just have to stick with it and hopefully someday soon it will all come flooding back to you. He’ll be over this afternoon to see how you’re getting on. Now I have to zip out to the shops for a while, I’ll leave your phone by the bed and if you need anything just call me.
I told him “Ok” and said I would ring if I needed anything. The moment I heard the front door close I stumbled out of the bed.
This man was a liar. I was married, but not to him. I had a husband and two children.
I had no idea what had happened or how I’d ended up here but I knew I was in trouble. As soon as the car disappeared down the drive, I wobbled and scrambled my way down the stairs. I was just about to make a break for the front door when a male nurse appeared from another room. “Woah there Annie, where are you off in such a hurry?”
“I need to get out of here” I stammered. “I don’t belong here and I have to go home.”
“Aww Mrs Stone, now you know what the doc says, you have to give this time and it’ll come back to you. Why don’t you sit down and I’ll make you a coffee or some toast or something, whatever you fancy? Why don’t you play one of your games on your tablet? That normally calms you down.”
I slumped into a chair, he had made it clear he was willing to do anything to keep me in the house. He slipped a sleek black case onto my lap with the initials A.S. on the front. There was something vaguely familiar about it.
The first thing I checked was the date, roughly a year and a half later than I thought it was. One of the apps on my front page was a journal app. I started at the beginning of the app which was roughly 18 months earlier, when apparently I’d started to have an affair with a man called Tom I’d met. I read how my marriage had been in trouble, how Tom and I had started out as just friends but things had progressed. I read how my husband had found out and how I’d been madly in love with Tom and left my husband.
There was a bit of a break where obviously I'd not felt the need to keep up with my diary, and then a few entries. Confusing and anxious and angry. Saying I did not know who Tom was and I did not remember any accident, how much I hated him, how I did not trust him.
The nurse came back in at this point with a cup of coffee and put it gently beside me. “I can not imagine what this is like for you, but it will get better you know. Just give it some time”
That afternoon, after Tom had come back from shopping and fussed about me for a while, the doc came. He checked my head wound, which had apparently happened during a car accident, and told me it was healing nicely and I no longer needed the bandages . Later I examined myself in the bathroom mirror. There was no denying I'd been through something pretty awful, I had a huge scar and the side of my head was shaved to stubble where I'd been stitched.
That evening, drinking another cup of coffee, I curled up on the sofa and asked Tom what had happened. He quietly explained to me that we'd been driving home from the store and had a head on collision. The other driver had been killed, but for some reason unknown, Tom had barely suffered a scratch. He'd rushed me straight to hospital where it was touch and go for a while, but miraculously I'd survived .
There were tears in his eyes as he told me how much he needed me and that he could not bare the thought of losing me and how much he loved me. I do not know what it was about that conversation, but I knew . I really knew he loved me and I knew he did not want to hurt me. Even though I was still in deep despair about my first husband and my children, there was something comforting in that. This man might be a stranger to me , but he loved me and was deeply concerned for my well being.
Over the next six weeks Tom proved that to be true. Nothing was too much trouble.
Slowly over a hundred conversations he helped me piece together our life.
As the weeks passed, I still suffered terrible headaches and felt foggy a lot but little by little I started feeling better. Tom was so patient and kind with me that I felt myself learning to love him again. I felt up to going outside and taking in a bit of air and strolling into the local town to get a few groceries. I never felt completely myself, I felt spacey and like I was living someone else's life, but I tried to make the best of it.
The next day he got in from work distraught. Over a couple of glasses of wine, he told me he was in the wrong job and he hated the death he had to deal with on a day to day basis. We were still a bit frosty, but I looked at him, the sadness in his face because of his day and thought of what it must be like for him, living with a wife who treated him like a stranger.
That’s when I decided things had to change. I had to change how I treated him.
He was like a new man, humming round the house preparing for work.. I laughed at him and called him a daft fool in love. For the first time in forever I felt happy.
When he left the house that day, I gave him a kiss and told him I loved him, because I did. I might not have remembered our first eighteen months, but all was good between us. It was only as I waved him away, I noticed a car across the street. I was sure I'd seen it before. There was a bloke in it on a mobile phone and I was sure he was watching me. As I went into the house I could have sworn the neighbor on our right collecting the mail was watching me. I dashed in and shut the door.
It got to about half eleven that morning and I was feeling a strange mixture of happy, in love and paranoia. The postman had been that morning with a parcel of things I'd ordered for the house but I swear he was giving me the oddest looks.
I was feeling really unsettled so I decided to go see Tom. He was the one thing I felt sure of in all of this. I packed a picnic lunch and thought I'd surprise him at his office. I got myself dressed up almost as though for a date with someone new, not like I was seeing my husband, and walked into town. I'd not been into his office since the accident. As I approached it, it felt weirdly familiar and when I pushed open the door and saw the reception area I remembered everything.