What I Know
Somebody once told me their least favorite feeling was waking up and not knowing where they were. At the time, I agreed with her. I could see her face clearly, too: she had graying blonde hair and deep brown eyes, but she did not have a name.
But now I’d have to say that it might be worse to wake up and not know who you are.
I don’t really know what woke me up and I don’t really know what knocked me out. The room was dark and the only sounds came from the street below. I couldn’t see it—I was too high up, I think—and the curtains were drawn halfway, just blocking the view. The room was lit only by the shine of the moon, a kind of faint shimmer that muffled the room and wrapped around every corner. It was a delicate kind of light, nothing like the sun at high noon with its hard-thrown shadows and harsh sting. I wanted to fall into the soft light, but I was cuffed to the bed.
The cuffs were grounding, in a way. The bite of cold metal and irritated skin cleared my head, which was throbbing. I was definitely in a hospital. The smell of bleach and cleaners only covered so much of the soupy sickness in the air. My eyes felt sticky and the roof of my mouth was dry and tasted vaguely of pistachios.
The only sound I could make out was the scuffling of shoes down a near-empty tiled hallway, the nightly news on a TV down the hall, and exasperated whispering right outside.
My own coughing cracked the silence like lightning on a quiet summer night and a man came running into the room.
“Oh my god, you’re awake.” He reached for me and I flinched violently before I could register my own emotions. A strangled “No,” escaped me.
I knew very little right now.
I knew I was in a hospital, at night. I knew my head hurt. I knew my mouth tasted like pistachios. I knew I was cuffed to a stiff bed. I knew that there was a man by my side. I knew that I didn’t want him to touch me.