Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Chapter Thirty

Fanny propped herself up on one elbow and looked around the unfamiliar hospital room. She remembered being brought here from the jail cell but she still didn’t know why she was here. She sank back onto her pillow and stared at the ceiling. She was so confused. They had told her that her name was Fanny Britt. The name meant nothing to her. It was as though her life had started when she woke up in that ditch. She was strangely calm. Why wasn’t she more distressed? Perhaps they had given her something to relax her. Fragments of a question came to her mind but refused to congeal.

The door opened and two strangers entered the room followed by the man who had identified himself as her doctor. She knew she should know the two men who were standing over her bed looking at her sadly, but she didn’t. The older one was bearded with thinning grey hair. In spite of the grey he had a youthful appearance. His expressive dark eyes glistened with concern. The younger man was taller – also bearded. He was handsome. He resembled she shorter man, but he was fairer. He looked too serious for a young man.

The older man spoke first. “We brought you some of your things, Fanny. Your doctor thought it might be good for you to have some familiar clothes and belongings around.” He glanced at the doctor who nodded.

The man opened the overnight bag he had brought with him. He took out two framed photographs. One showed standing at the end of a pier smiling and waving at the camera. The other was a picture of a handsome, white dog. The dog also appeared to be smiling. The words “smiling sammy” came to her mind.

The man held the first picture up so she could see it. “This is a picture I took of you just a couple of months ago and our place down on Mill Creek.” He put the photograph on the table next to her bed and held up the second picture. “This is Arlo. The poor dog misses you like crazy. I thought of dressing him up and trying to sneak him in to see you.” The man tried to smile. Fanny could see that it took a great deal of effort.

The younger man spoke. “We also brought some of your clothes, Mom.”

“Mom? You’re my son? And you’re my husband? But I don’t know you!” She turned to the doctor. “How can that be? How can I not know my son and my husband?” She had spoken louder than she had intended.

“Fanny. Calm down. The doctor placed his hand on her shoulder. We discussed this. You have suffered a trauma. We think your brain is protecting you. The best thing for you to do is to just relax. Don’t try to remember anything. Just be calm. Your memory will return. Recollections will come back to you. Don’t fight them. But don’t force them.”

“Mom. I’m Pete. I go to the University of Virginia. Last year you encouraged me to switch from law to psychology. Guess it was a good thing, huh?” He was smiling the same forced smile his father had. Both of them were trying so hard to remain cheerful and hopeful. In spite of her mental confusion, she was drawn to these two strangers.

“Yes, Pete. That was a good thing. Do I call you “Pete” or “Peter”?

“You always call me ‘Peter’, Mom.”

“And you,” she said “turning to the older stranger. “What do I call you?”

“Most of the time you call me ‘honey’ or ‘babe’….but until you know me better, you can call me ‘Harold’, okay?”

“Okay, Harold.”



Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home