Even in the darkness
Just remember - when you think all is lost, the future remains. - Robert H. Goddard
I set my small black journal down on the counter, my eyes filling with tears as I look at the words inscribed on the page. There's a whole life full of cherished moments, memories and loves I'll never remember. My fingers run over the words gently and I find myself desperately hoping; for some flash of my past, that the words will absorb through the tips of my fingers, that there won't be this huge void in my thoughts.
No matter how much I hope, though, the void remains.
There's a pressure building behind my eyelids, a kind of throbbing pain that shoots through my skull and down my neck. I let my hand rest against the tender flesh and knead my fingers over it. I can hear the movement in the other room, the sound of the dishwasher starting and of plates being scrapped and I want to belong. Apparently, I used to.
Now all I see are unfamiliar faces.
I let the journal flop closed and take a deep breath, the pen slipping from my fingers to rest alongside it on the desk; the black a stark contrast to the cherry wood beneath it. I take a deep breath, letting the air settle in my lungs before expelling it out forcefully and then I begin.
One- My name is Rachel Berry and I am twenty five years old.
Two- I have a wonderful husband who is patient, kind, and loves me with all of his heart. He's also my best friend.
I think of the man who arrived at the hospital, eyes rimmed in red and heavy with fatigue. He was exhausted, on emotional overload, and filled with so much hope. He had sat by my bedside, his fingers playing with his wedding ring for a moment before he reached across the bed his hand tangling with mine.
"Hi," he had whispered, "I'm your husband."
The tears had trickled out of his eyes and down his cheeks and I remember feeling so relieved that someone knew me, that someone had been searching. His fingers were warm against mine, the heat searing through my skin. My head still throbbed and my body ached, but for the first time I realized that maybe everything would be alright in the end.
Three- We live in a nicely sized studio apartment on the outskirts of New York City.
Four- I love to sing and dance. Growing up I dreamed of staring in shows on Broadway and of winning Tony awards.
Five- I have friends who would do anything in the world for me and who love me no matter what.
I pause for a moment, listening to the gentle hum of conversation in the other room and feel the teardrops slither down my cheeks and pool against my neck. Any moment one of them could come looking for me, concern clouding their features, and as much as I adore that they care there are some things I need to conquer on my own. Like the fact that my memory may never return.
Six- I have two fathers, Hiram and Elijah. Both are great men who love each other and I was created out of this love.
Seven- According to my husband I'm stubborn, hard headed, and a bit of a drama queen but I wear my heart on my sleeve and forgive easily.
Eight- The only way back is forward.
The knock on the door startles me from my thoughts and I look up unsurprised to find my husband watching me. His eyes are still tired, his brow furrowed, and his five o'clock shadow is prominent on his face. His eyes focus on the journal in front of me and he nods in understanding, his hand reaching up to rub through his short hair, a sigh escaping past his lips.
"This one is all about you," I whisper, my fingers tapping along the cover nervously, "about the start of our relationship." I watch him swallow deeply, his adams apple bobbing with the movement, and I wipe away the tear streaks lining my cheeks.
"Anything?" he questions and my heart breaks a little at the hope I can hear in his voice. I can't say the word, so I shake my head no and push my chair back. There's a small bottle of pills setting on the edge of the desk for anxiety and my gaze lands on them for just a moment. I haven't had to take any today; yet.
"In the last journal you were kind of an ass," I mumble, my hands shoving my hair off of my face. He smiles and chuckles and I can't help smiling in response. "I was surprised at the sudden change in this one."
He moves further into the room, his shoulders shrugging as he pushes the door closed behind him. "I had a life or death experience and made a promise to God that I would be nicer to people." I can smell his cologne; it's musky and earthy and I breathe it in letting my eyes closed for just a moment. "Unfortunately I had to reevaluate and ended up adjusting the promise a bit so that I only had to be nicer to Jews." A small burst of laughter bubbles from my lips and I feel the tightness in my head and neck easing up slightly. "I've missed your laugh."
"It's kind of loud and obnoxious," I mumble, "hardly ladylike."
He gets this huge grin on his face and kind of bobs his head in understanding. "But it's yours and it's you." He whispers. We're both silent for a moment, the air tense around us. He rubs his hand along the back of his neck briefly before he drops it back to his side. "Our living room is full of people," he murmurs, "I was hoping I could convince you to join us. They're worried about you."
My head throbs and back tightens and my eyes flick to the bottle of pills automatically. "Alright," I reply softly, "I can try again." My hand reaches out automatically for his, our fingers wrapping together. It surprises both of us. "Um," I murmur, my face flushing in embarrassment.
"Don't worry about it," he replies, his fingers squeeze mine for just a moment before he lets my hand go. "There are going to be questions," he warns. I nod my head in understanding, the story formulating in my head.
"I'll answer them the best I can," I reply as I force myself to swallow my fear.
It's not an easy thing, telling my story or at least what I know of it. There's no way to sugarcoat what happened to me, no way to quell the disbelief. The fact of the matter is, my life started the day I woke up in the emergency room. I can remember the numbing whiteness of the walls, the voices talking all around me. My body was sore, my head spinning, and I tasted blood.
An elderly nurse stood next to my head, gently brushing her fingers along my shoulder. Her dark grey hair was pulled back in a bun, her glasses low on her nose. I remember thinking how sad and kind her eyes looked as she leaned down over my face.
"Rachel?" she questioned softly. "Can you talk dear?"
I remember trying to clear my throat, trying to get rid of the metallic taste in my mouth. "I think so," I whispered, not a bit surprised at the raspy quality.
"My name is Janet," I felt her fingers gently brush across the skin. "Do you have any family?" I could feel the weight of my wedding ring on my finger and found myself nodding my head.
"A husband," I whispered feeling the strain on my throat.
She holds her pen poised above the clipboard in her hands. "What's the number we can call him at?"
I wrack my brain, trying to remember the phone number and then look up at the nurse with tears in my eyes. "I don't know." I whisper.
She holds up a New York driver's license in front of me. "This is your driver's license; we found it in your pocket. I'm not sure how to tell you this, Rachel." She clears her throat her eyes looking worriedly over my face. "We found you on the side of a county road just off the interstate. This," she motions to the hospital around us, "isn't New York. In fact, you're quite a bit of a ways away from New York."
I'm not sure if she can see the confusion on my face or if she just understands how much this all is to take in. "Where are we then?" I question, my voice is shaky and I sound like a scared child.
"Right now Rachel, you are in Texas."
This story idea is a bit different and will have some jumping around through time (to kind of establish relationships and such). I'm really excited with the concept and I hope you guys are too! The M rating will be for future chapters.
I would love to hear what you think so far!