The Man Who Woke Up
Time And Time Again
They’d been on the road for only four hours. The last of which had been spent behind a slow and unsteady sixteen wheeler. He glanced in the rearview to check on his sleeping passengers. Not too soon after cooing their daughter to sleep, his wife had drifted off as well.
It seemed the closer they were to their destination, the thicker the snow on the road.
A 34 year old caucasian male was admitted into St. Luke’s Hospital’s emergency room with severe head trauma, cracked ribs and a broken tibia.
A small black sedan drove over an ice patch, lost control and was hit by an oncoming truck in the adjacent lane.
Harris Malcovoy looked into the rearview mirror at his sleeping passengers.
A Minor Setback
It might have been the nurses’ voices in the hall, or maybe the opening and closing of doors, or the squeaky wheel of the food tray. Whatever the cause, Harris Malcovoy awoke that evening after months of being comatose.
The doctor reassured him and his parents, who’d been visiting every day since the accident, that he would regain normal use of his limbs and his full memory. Eventually. Some physical therapy would be needed to get him back on his feet. And his memory loss would only be temporary.
When asked his age, Harris said 25. When asked if the name ‘Alyssa’ meant anything, he didn’t seem to know that it should. When asked about anything that referenced his life after 25, Harris didn’t seem to recall making it to 26. What he did remember was that he was waiting on a callback interview with a marketing firm in LA. He was still living at home, waiting on the interview that he was sure would change his whole life.
In A Hard Place
His father picked him up from the hospital when he was finally released. He was taken back to a familiar place yet slept in a room that was no longer his own. Talking to his parents in their older age felt different. His whole life, as they laid it out in pictures and videos, in texts and emails, in stories over dinner - was different.
He’d never made it to LA. The only time he’d spent in California was during a layover. He’d left home to work a string of odd jobs until landing in a sales position and moving into an account manager role for a software company. His mother told him about the first time he’d met Alyssa. She’d never heard him talk about any other girl he’d dated the way he talked about her. He’d been 30, almost 31, and their relationship took off from the start. At 33, they’d moved to Chicago, gotten married and welcomed Chloe into the world.
At 34, Harris sat up at night, trying to feel something for a family he couldn’t remember having. He wanted to worry about the job he had no recollection of, or the condo they were planning to move out of, or the friends he coudn’t remember meeting who’d sent well wishes and cards. His physical therapist, his psychologist, his mother and father all echoed, “Don’t worry, it’ll all come back to you.”
But, did he even want to remember?
When It Rains
He could barely admit to himself the feeling of dread he felt waiting for his former life to return to him. He wanted to remember so that it wasn’t awkward to be around his parents who were mourning the loss of a wife and child he felt nothing for. He wanted to feel genuine gratitude for the cards and calls and texts all apologizing for ‘the terrible tragedy’. And yet, there was some sick form of relief inside of him that he hid. As long as he couldn’t remember, he could avoid the added pain to what he already felt about his life.
Harris slowly made his way downstairs into the kitchen to fix breakfast.
Harris finished scrambling his eggs and searing his bacon. As he lifted the pan to move the food this his plate, he stared at the two plates he’d placed on the counter.
Harris Malcovoy remembered everything. Every single thing he’d lost.
Reliving The Past
He took another gulp of the cucumber infused water in his solo cup. Harris sat in the bright lobby of Amp’d Marketing, a mid-sized firm spitting distance from Venice beach. His fingers clenched his portfolio binder while he inwardly rehearsed answers to possible interview questions, waiting. Weeks ago, submitting the job application had felt like hitting ‘Restart’ on a computer.
A woman in a navy blue jumper, white blazer and red lipstick entered the lobby - the Director of Marketing. “Harris Malcovoy?”