Friday, June 01, 2012

Flash Fiction #10: Awake

"Brandon? Can you hear us?"

I struggled to look at my mom. I felt weird, disconnected. "Uh..." was all I got out.

My mother screamed and started crying.

* * * * *

That's how it was when I woke up. It was a year ago today.

On June the first in 1982 I was in a car accident. That's at least what they tell me. I don't know. I can't remember it. But it must have happened that way, because here I am.

But there are things that I remember. I remember that I was ten years old that February. Now, they tell me, I'm forty.

It still sounds weird when I say it: "I'm forty." My face crinkles up when I hear my voice say that. My voice. It's also really deep. It's different.

The car accident put me in a coma. I remember Dad going to that one movie on Grand Avenue with Mom. Coma. They wouldn't let me see it, 'cause it was rated R.

I loved to watch movies with my dad - the popcorn, seeing the previews for movies coming out, sitting in the dark aisles on the cushy, red seats. That's the way it was when I saw Star Wars. What a great show.

My dad's gone now, they tell me. They say he died in '89. I still have a hard time hearing that. It seems like I'll ride home on my bike after school, open the front door, and Dad will be sitting there, on the plaid easy chair - the one we've always had, but don't anymore - reading the afternoon paper.

But he's not...

There's a lot different with 2012 than 1982. When I 'went under' - that's what I call it, because I can't think of any other way to describe it - Ronald Reagan was President. I still have my old Rubik's Cube in my room at home. But, to me, it's not 'old.' To me, I just got that cube about a year and a half ago. I remember when I got it for my birthday, in fact.

They say stores don't carry Rubik's Cubes anymore. But if you have one, they're collectors' items. 

In 2012, all the phones have push buttons and you can walk around with them in the house! You know, without a cord! There are even phones that you can carry with you outside. I think they call them cell phones.

All the cars are round. They look funny, like cars from the future. They don't fly, though. They told us by the year 2000 that we'd have flying cars. And they said they'd run off something else than gas. I remember Mrs. Andresen in fourth grade telling us that we would run out of gas by 2004. We haven't, because my mom still pumps gas into her Toyota.

It doesn't fly, either.

Music is really different; there's so many kinds. And you don't play them on Walkman's anymore. My mom told me that you can't even get cassette tapes or records. You have to down-load them on a computer. The internet, is that what it's called? So weird.

The town I'm from is different. Places look the same, but there's new buildings up and some of the streets are really different. My friends have even come to see me. But I don't think they're my friends. They're just people with the same names and, you know, grown ups. I don't think I want to see them again.

My school is pretty much the same. When I went under I was in fourth grade. But, now, I can't go to fifth grade at my school. And it's not just 'cause they don't have fifth grade at my school anymore, but put it in a middle school; it's because they think I need to go to a special school. Rehabilitation, they call it. I think it's dumb, but I do like one of the nurses, or whatever she is. She helped me walk again. That was hard. I thought I'd never walk again. It took a while, but now I get around just fine.

Now, they're working on my brain, they tell me. They said it hasn't been exercised in thirty years. That's true, because I don't remember dreaming when I was under. My brain must've been totally asleep.

My mom tells me that not a day went by where she didn't come to the hospital. Everybody told her she was crazy. That they should've pulled the plug on me.

She never would let them, though.

I guess that's good. I'm alive.

But I feel like all my life has been interrupted somehow. Almost like leaving a movie halfway through, but having to leave because you gotta go to the bathroom. You come back in, wondering what happened. You ask your dad, "What happened?" But your dad isn't there anymore. The movie looks strange. There are new characters you don't know. And all the old ones are somehow different. You don't even want to watch anymore. You want to go back, but you can't.

I guess I'm glad I'm here. I'm glad I'm awake.

But I keep wondering if I'm still asleep. I wonder when I'll wake up again - for real this time - and find this whole thing has just been another dream. That I was in a coma for thirty hours instead of thirty years. I'll see Mom and Dad sitting by the hospital bed. They brought me my Rubik's Cube and my Walkman.  My body won't look so . . . old. My voice won't be so funny. And the world will make sense again.

But I don't think that'll happen.

I think I'm really awake.

Am I?


Anonymous said...

Hey Maurer, is anyone really awake? Nice. Sometimes I tell swim kids in my classes about the world when I was kid. Phones connected to the wall, party lines on said phones, cars with chokes, black and white television,and actually they aren't even interested. I guess you can't miss, or be sentimental about something you never knew. Keep writing....Chris

C. Unsson said...

Compte tenu de la chance de comprendre le mémoire, continuité de la vie, les gens se demandent si la vie est quelque chose de jouir ou réfléchir. Merci pour votre très bon écrits.

Kari said...

Well done. Whenever I hear about someone waking up from a coma after a long period of time, I wonder what it's like for them. I've heard that some of them have a sense of things that have happened from listening to the TV that was often on. I'm not sure I'd want to wake up after 20 years, especially if I was a kid or teenager or in my early twenties when it happened. Maybe if I already had a family and I woke up 20 years later and actually got to meet them, that would be better. Such a strange experience.