10,000 Days

He gingerly opened his eyes. He was in a bedroom that was decorated with care in a non-descript manner that most bedrooms are. Whose bedroom was it, he asked himself. Was it mine?

Just then a woman came into the room carrying a basket full of clothes and said “Hey honey, you’re awake” and went into the bathroom.

Why was she calling him honey?

He stood up and walked towards the mirror. He stood in front of it, thinking. Why was she calling him honey? The obvious answer was that she believed him to be her husband. But he wasn’t her husbandHe wasn’t anybody’s husband. He was . . .

Who was he?

He was reading an old magazine, waiting for his turn at the psychologists office. He was taking a quiz on how romantic he was when the receptionist told him that the doctor was waiting for him. He went inside and sat down in the rather comfortable chair and waited for the psychologist to speak.

“Mr Clarkson, I presume?” said the doctor.

“So do I”

“I’m sorry?”

“I don’t remember who I am. When I woke up today morning, I could not remember who I was.”

“Well that is . . . interesting. I am not sure how I could help you. You should probably get yourself checked by a neurological doctor and get tests done. I could refer you to some excellent doctors if you . . ”

Eli interrupted the psychologist and said “ I did think of doing that but I have a theory as to why I can’t remember anything and I wanted to see if you agreed with me .”

Intrigued, the psychologist said “Please tell me about your theory.”

“I have been thinking since the morning. Initially I was confused and disoriented by my lack of memory. But then an idea started growing in my mind. The more I think about it, the more I think I am right. I think that this is a dream. I think I am actually in a coma and this is my mind trying to cope with the fact that I may never come out of the coma. I also think that if I kill myself, I would come out of my comatose state .”

“So you think this is a dream?”

“Yes”

“Hey honey, you’re back!”

He had realized early on that his “wife” liked calling him honey. It would not have been disconcerting if he knew her really well or remembered who she was. But now it felt like a stranger on the subway was calling him honey.

“What did the psychologist say ?” she asked.

“He said I have retrogade amnesia .”

“Oh pfft,” she said dismissively “those doctors and their fancy terms. I’m pretty sure you must have hit your head on a shelf and that’s it.”

Listening to her, Eli wondered how he could have married someone who had such a positive outlook towards life. From what he had come to know about himself since the morning, he had realized that he was not a particularly nice or cheery person. Maybe he was imagining all this because he couldn’t deal with the fact that he had married her. He hoped that was not true.

“You don’t lose your memory if you hit your head on the shelf” he said.

“Well, whatever happened, I’m sure you’ll remember everything in a day or two. Its just a matter of time. My cousin once was in a coma for a month. When he woke up, we found out that he couldn’t remember anything for more than a minute.”

Eli was not sure if this information reassured him or frightened him. He lied down on his bed. He was confused. The psychologist had not agreed with his theory and instead hinted that Eli may even be paranoid and might have suicidal tendencies. He didn’t know what to do.

Maybe the psychologist was right. But somewhere in the back of his mind, he remained convinced that he was living in a dream and the only way to get out would be to kill himself .

But what if he was wrong? What if the woman lying next to him was his real wife? What if, like the psychologist said , he was just paranoid? He kept thinking, not being able to really decide what was true and fell asleep in the midst of the soul searching.

He gingerly opened his eyes. He was in a bedroom that was decorated with care in a non-descript manner that most bedrooms are. Whose bedroom was it, he asked himself. Is it mine?

Just then a woman came into the room carrying a basket full of clothes and said “ Hey honey, you’re awake!” and went into the bathroom.

Why was she calling him honey?

He stood up and walked towards the mirror. He stood in front of it, thinking. Why was she calling him honey? The obvious answer was that she believed him to be her husband. But he wasn’t her husband .He wasn’t anybody’s husband. He was . . .

Who was he?

She wept. She wept for herself. She wept for her husband. She wept for the life that could have been. She wept because she knew she could not go on like this anymore. She had taken care of him for 27 years. He was a good man. His condition might have taken his memory, but it hadn’t changed his nature. She wept some more. Then she heard him wake up.

She stopped crying and hastily wiped away her tears.

She picked up some clothes and went inside their bedroom.

“Hey honey, you’re awake!”

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