In response to Linda G Hill’s stream of consciousness prompt Name
When she opened her eyes again, she was in an unknown place. But she was in a bed comfortably settled. A man in a white jacket sat there by her side, his hand on her wrist. A woman had just left the room. Something about his presence was reassuring. And then he smiled. Where was she?
“You gave us quite a fright miss.” Did she? “We thought we might lose you.”
“Lose me?” She didn’t understand.
“You almost died.”
Somehow it didn’t bother her too much. It should though, shouldn’t it?
“Where am I?”
“You’re at the hospital. You were hit by a car.”
His face fell into a deep frown; he seemed upset. And she didn’t remember.
“What do you remember?”
She only remembered a blinding light, the sensation of falling and the darkness. Maybe when the car hit her. It must have been the lights of the car flashing.
“Not much. I think I fell.”
“That you did. You hit your head pretty bad. You were in a coma for a week.”
A week. Seven days. Her head hurt still. She didn’t understand. Where was she?
“Miss?” The man was asking insistently. But she hadn’t heard what he’d said.
“That’s ok. Focusing will be hard for a while. The doctor will be here shortly. It would be easier if he knew your name.”
“My name is…” She paused. She blanked. What was happening? Why couldn’t she remember her name? Darkness surrounded her once more, breathing became difficult. She waved her arms erratically trying to reach for the name she should remember. Everyone had a name didn’t they? She must have one. Why didn’t she know it? Someone constrained her and she wailed. Despair. Fear. It was like falling again.
“Calm down. It’s ok. It’s ok.”
The obscurity receded; the man was holding her. Two nurses were in the room as well as another man, the doctor she guessed. He looked solemn, a little distant. She wasn’t sure she liked that.
“She doesn’t remember?”
The man who’d held her shook his head. The doctor stood at the end of the bed observing her.
“Don’t worry Miss. It happens. You are actually lucky to even be alive. Most people would have died. We thought you might at some point.” She bit her lips… “I’m quite certain not remembering who you are is unsettling.”
“Will it be long?”
“Honestly? The brain remains a mystery even for us neurosurgeons. It could last a few days, or a few months. It could also last forever.”
She sank against the pillows. She could spend the rest of her life not knowing who she actually was. They must have found something, information about her. She asked. But they’d found nothing. The driver was adamant she’d appeared out of nowhere. Or rather he insisted that there was something like a comet that fell and he looked up. When he looked back at the road, less than a second later, she was in the middle of it.
She tried to remember what she might have been doing in the middle of a road at midnight but she couldn’t. She didn’t even know where she was. They asked for a social insurance number but she didn’t have one; or she probably had but couldn’t remember it. They asked if she knew where she was from. That was gone too. A date of birth? Not that either. And how was she going to pay for the week at the hospital? She had no idea. It all was so overwhelming. And she couldn’t recall her name. Who was she?
Who were you without a name? By the time the doctor left she was crying, something she felt certain she hadn’t done a whole lot in her life. The young intern offered to take her to his place, offer her somewhere to stay. The kindness made her feel better.
“Thank you. But won’t it be complicated?”
“I live alone and I have space. You’re welcome there.”
“But I have no money.”
“That’s fine. You need to heal first. Then we’ll find you a job.” He seemed to consider something. “Gabrielle.”
“According to the driver, you appeared out of nowhere, you might have fallen from the skies like that comet, or like an angel. So Gabrielle. What sort of message were you bringing?” He seemed proud of his findings.
And at least it was a name.
“Gabrielle?” She let the name roll over her tongue. It sounded nice. “Ok.”