I liked chocolate and a blushing red wine. I lived with my boyfriend, whose name was Wes. He was the instructor of my weekly yoga classes and was credited by most of my friends with teaching me how to reach inner peace. I worked in web design for a small company I was incredibly proud of; they were based out of Boston and had become my family, which was fortunate considering I grew up in the foster care system. But, having reached adulthood, I had built a good life for myself. I wish I could strongarm my brain into remembering any of it.
Four years ago. I had turned up pregnant at a hospital with head injuries. Sans memories. Eventually, a tattoo on my hip lined up with one from a missing persons report. An angel’s wing. It really wasn’t long before my hospital room was almost constantly packed with strangers who knew me intimately. I always had headaches.
“Maya, is everything alright?” I could see why the old me had been with Wes. I adored him for how caring he was. I just didn’t get why I had ever let him have the right side of the bed. Was I alright? I’d been having a nightmare, I think. It was about a big gray monster, sort of shaped like a blimp. The monster had huge yellow eyes and it was chasing me. I felt like I was about eight years old; I was twenty years older if you asked anyone who knew me, but my broken little head was tough to get under control.
Morning. Sunlight softens the table. Our apartment had its dining area by a glass window. Boston looms outside. Beautiful. For breakfast today I made Wes an acai bowl with waffles. I’ve been cooking for him a lot lately; I guess it’s mostly because going through the motions and keeping my focus locked in the kitchen feels familiar, which is a comfort I don’t find elsewhere. The recipe for perfect homemade waffled shows me what my handwriting looks like. I fall most into my old life here in the kitchen, or when I attempt to journal. It just makes sense.
“Morning, Maya. How are you feeling?”
“I’m alright. Wes is taking me out to dinner tonight.”
“Getting back to normal, huh?”
“What are you talking about?”
“You and Wes getting back into the swing of things. Wednesday was always your date night. There was something special about for you two, but you never told me what it was. Something private for you guys.”
“Thanks, Lisa. You’ve been a good boss through all this,” I tell her, not knowing what to say.
“Oh, yeah, I forgot about your amnesia. Well, you were the one friend who got me through my divorce. You introduced me to my favorite cocktails and the gym that makes only 50% of them count. You’re not just a good worker, you’re a good friend.”
“What cocktails do I like?” Lisa gives me a quizzical look that blisters; she wants to get what I’m going through but more importantly she wants her friend back. “You know, since we’re going out tonight. It’s my first time drinking since the accident.”
“Oh. I hadn’t realized. Well, you liked cosmos a lot. Your go-to drink was really red wine. Just ask Wes about anything you want to know tonight,” she tells me.
“Are you nervous?”
“Should I be?” I ask him, nerves spontaneously jumping now that he mentions it.
“No. but you aren’t really the type to care about what you shouldn’t be doing.” We both smile. Technically, I never fell out of love with him; but even my new self is falling for him. He slides into a jacket and keeps talking down my nerves.
“You used to always tell me you were nervous. You see, you have this adorable habit that makes you self-conscious. You’re a wonderful conversationalist.” He grins and gives me a peck on the nose, letting aftershave aroma waft past my face.
“Really? But I always say stupid stuff! I’ll just blurt out anything that pops into my mind.”
“And I love it so much.” Another kiss to the tip of my nose.
“Anyway, it must have been our second date or something and you wouldn’t shut up but your face was just burning and I remember your eyes getting so wide. I was loving it.”
A flicker. A real flicker! So clear I could cry. I know what he’s talking about. A shard of memory has slipped back.
“Tell me more about that date.” He smiles and obliges without asking questions. Another whisper in my mind as I look at him. I love him.
“It was all you actually. We went to this pumpkin patch and there was a hayride giving out free cookies and cider, so we were all over it. I had on this green jacket- wait, no, I guess it wasn’t green, it was, uh-”
“Blue. Your jacket was blue.” Boom. My boyfriend is a Christmas tree.
“And mine was a lighter blue and at first you mistook it for yours. Then you said if our tastes were so similar we must be well-matched. Good God, Wes, I was so scared because I was already so into you but you… not so much… and then you said that… and then…”
“And then I kissed you. My lips were chapped. Your lipstick was super sticky. It was one of the most memorable moments of my life,” he recalls.
“Mine too, I guess. I remember more now.” I’m still trying to work it out. He waits for me. He is not good at that, I think.
“I remember when we met. The first time you groped me.” He laughs.
“Last time I attempt to assist a beautiful woman in my yoga class.”
“Good. Because I remember when you told me I’m the only one you’ll ever want to love.”
“When, the time I told you I intended to make you my wife?”
“Yes. Do you still intend to?” A sexy smirk.
“If I hadn’t just spent a year trying to get these reservations, I’d carry you back to bed and make some memories you won’t lose this time, but under the circumstances… I’ll have to leave you in suspense.”
“Wes. I saw you put a little black box in your pocket while I was looking for my earrings. What’s in it?”
“Need to know basis only, Maya. Are you coming down now or should I bring the car to you?” he replies.
“You say that all the time.”
“Only if you remember it.”
Wes takes my arm and leads me down to the elevator. My memories keep coming, but for now I keep them to myself.