My life was perfectly mapped out for me since before the day I was born. I followed it, begrudgingly, because it’s what was expected. And then one day, everything changed. I woke up. Different. Independent. Free from all the rules that had surrounded me. Only I have no idea how I got to where I am. I have no memory of graduating college. No memory of Adam, the boyfriend I live with. He loves me. And I love him. At least that’s what everyone says. Except when my memories return to me as dreams, I see a different man than the one everyone claims is perfect for me. He terrifies me. He makes my heart race and he makes me feel things I’ve never felt before. I have no idea if I want to welcome the emotional roller-coaster that his piercing brown eyes and messy black hair puts me on every time I get a glimpse of him, or if I want to run back to the safe shelter of the scripted life-plan that used to be mine.
My booted cast scrapes across the pavement. My ankle hurts and my arm is itchy from my cast. The staples in the back of my head were removed last week. Now all I have is a square patch of hair that is just beginning to grow back. I have a gash on my right side that runs from my hip bone almost to my breast. It looks like someone tried to slash me open with a jagged edged knife. The skin is healing, the stitches are innumerable, and every time I turn my torso it feels like someone is trying to rip my kidney out with their bare hands. There was a hiking accident. That’s all I know. The rest is being left up to my memory that my doctors have assured me will return. How in the hell do they know? What if I never remember? It’s been weeks since I woke up from my coma and I don’t remember anything more than the fact that I live with a stranger and I don’t like him when I dream. I’m still resting against the side of Adam’s car, fingering the back of my scalp when he comes outside. He stands next to me, crossing his feet at the ankles. We don’t touch. That small whisper of a touch he gave me in the doorway is the first time his hands have touched me since I the day I tripped in our kitchen. His arms reached out and caught me and I froze, paralyzed by having his hands on me. He shook his head, sighed, grabbed his keys and left the apartment and didn’t come back for two hours. When he did, the scent of beer laced his breath. “I’m sorry I keep getting frustrated with you, Ames.” His head falls and he runs a hand down the front of his face. “I just miss you.” His voice trembles a little bit and he sounds sad. He looks sad. I wonder what it would feel like to see him smile again like he did the night in my dream. Until the blonde girl, Tina, jumped into his arms he seemed happy to see me. Was he? Was I a game? If so, why am I still here? I press my fingers to my temples, hoping to stave off the beginning thumps of another headache. “Who’s Tina?”
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