I only remember three things from that morning:
- I was naked on a bed.
- She was staring at me.
- There was blood on the pillow.
That’s all. That’s my life and my history. Of course my family and friends and particularly Kennedy told me about my past and the cause of my memory loss – the seizures – but all that doesn’t feel like more than a biography I read in a book.
Born here, went to school there, seizures started in grade 6, still managed to finish school, still managed to start a math degree, still managed to raise funds for the worse-off, still managed to get a warm-hearted and beautiful girl to love me.
Kennedy with her stunning dark brown hair. She was the only one that was there when I had my last seizure. We were in a hotel room in Vegas and I was just on my way to the bathroom when my legs began to shake. I fell. My head hit the chair.
She called the ambulance but I woke up long before they arrived. I woke up and my seizures had stopped. My neurologist said he couldn’t explain why they stopped but he couldn’t find any damage in my brain either.
It was strange to restart a life that I didn’t remember. I lost my job after less than a week – I didn’t remember my tasks, I didn’t remember the statistical tools I was supposed to know, I didn’t even remember the office or my boss’s name.
When he let me go he said “Nice joke!” The medical certificate didn’t help.
I quickly found that I was better with language than with math. I actually liked writing reports and analysing others’ writing for relevant information.
It took me a week to learn how to write applications, then a month to get an internship and only two weeks until that internship became a fixed job. Corporate intelligence. Be ahead of the competitor. That was my thing.
They sent me to a psychiatrist. He was nice. He tried to help me remember my past. He asked me about faces I remembered and about scenes or houses. He asked me whether I remembered Kennedy and my family. He asked me whether I still knew how to read and how to use a computer. I told him I remembered how to use it but I didn’t remember the passwords. Then he asked me whether I felt dizzy or still had pain and whether I remembered anything of who i was.
All the time Kennedy was there for me. She taught me all the things that normal people seemed to know.
After half a year I noticed her strange phone calls. They were always late in the evening and they always came on her mobile. She went to the bathroom and whispered, all I heard was a slight hissing or laughing sound.
When i asked Kennedy about the phone calls she first denied it. Then she broke down and told me that she talked to my parents at night – that she told them how I was because they were so worried and I so rarely called. She said she had been doing it since my last seizure. They were just so scared that something would trigger them again.
I found that sweet. Still I checked with my mother – and sure enough, she too broke down. Dad denied it for a few weeks until he finally admitted that he too was concerned and that he knew about Kennedy’s and mom’s nightly phone calls. He just didn’t want to discourage me by asking me directly.
In retrospect I find it weird that nobody on the streets seemed to recognize me. I am not the most social type but after four years in the same city and same apartment I should at least have had some sort of friends.
Kennedy mostly still went to the bathroom but on some days she actually stayed in the room while I called my parents. She even put me on the line and no matter how subtle I asked, all aspects of Kennedy’s story seemed to check out.
The beige letter arrived on a Wednesday morning. Kennedy had left for work and I was alone at home.
My name was on the envelope. The message was short.
“We know where you are.”
At night I showed the letter to Kennedy. She went and confronted one of the neighbors’ children about it. The boy admitted to sending it.
From then on Kennedy collected the mail on most days.
I found the second letter in the bin. Technically I’m not sure if it was the second letter, but it was the second one that I had owned.
“We know who you are.”
This time I didn’t tell Kennedy that I found the letter. I didn’t want her to become more protective or more upset.
The third letter didn’t come by mail. It only had my first name on it. It was lying on a hedge right behind the house.
“This Saturday, 13:20.”
I asked one of my old friends about the letter. He said that it was strange.
My parents called me for the weekend. They asked whether Kennedy and I could come over to help renovate the bathroom. We said Yes.
The fourth letter came another week later. It was lying right outside my home office window.
Tuesday I had a job interview instead. It was at four but it went on for four solid hours. I was well prepared but the panel didn’t seem to give anyone a job. They just drilled me like a sado-masochistic bottom.
In the end I came home exhausted. Kennedy was already in bed.
The fifth letter was stuck to the outside of our bedroom window.
I grabbed it and saw movement in the bushes outside.
There was no name.
Inside was only one piece of beige cardboard with one word written on it:
There was a knock on the door.
I hesitated. I stood in the bedroom, paralyzed.
The soft knocking continued. It grew into a pattern. A pattern that I found soothing.
One knock. Break. Two knocks. Break. Three knocks. Break. Four knocks. Break. One knock. Break. Two know. – And so on and so forth.
I felt a shiver on my spine. WIthout much thought I stepped out of the room. I didn’t even try to be particularly silent.
I don’t remember walking downstairs, just that I was suddenly behind the front door. The soft knocking on the other side continued.
One knock. Break. Two knocks. Break. Three knocks – I pulled the door open.
There were two men dressed in black. One of them grabbed my arm.
“Finally,” he said. “Come quick.”
“Where?” I asked.
“Home,” he said.
The pain shot through my back before I even registered the shots. One of the men fell backwards on the stone.
“Fuck,” screamed the one that held my arm.
I sank to the floor. A third man came running towards us. The man that held my arm pulled me outside and to the side.
I saw Kennedy. I saw her in her underwear, standing with her legs apart and with the handgun held with both her hands.
She kept shooting. She kept shooting at me.
The third man jumped past the door. There were more shots.
“Got her,” he said.
When they pulled me up I saw Kennedy lying on the floor. I didn’t object when they pulled me towards the car. Then they went back and picked up the man that had been shot. He didn’t move.
The car drove quickly. I remember them about a ‘mission.’ Then my consciousness faded out of existence.
I woke up in an all-white hospital room. The nurse was pretty. The men and women that came questioned me for hours. They asked me for anything I remembered and for anything I had done.
They had shot my girlfriend of more than four years. I told them I wouldn’t speak and that I wanted to see the police and a lawyer.
They tied me to the bed. They pushed a slightly greenish but mostly transparent liquid into my arm.
I felt warm. I felt nervous. I couldn’t stop my tongue.
They looked nervous when I spoke about the psychiatrist. They looked even more nervous when I talked about my attempts to access the computer.
The questioning continued for five or six days.
I fell asleep again and woke up in an apartment. There was a young blonde sitting next to me. She had tears in her eyes.
“I missed you so much,” she said. “Why did you take that job? Why didn’t you tell me? Why didn’t you call?”
Her voice felt familiar.
“Who are you?” I asked.
She stopped crying and just stared.
“My god,” she said. “What did they do to you?”
“Who are you?” I asked again.
“It’s just been a year.”
“But I don’t know you.”
She pushed a hand with a bright silver ring in front of my face.
“Don’t you remember this?” she asked.
I shook my head.
“Can’t you just tell me your name?” I asked.
She shook her head, sat up straight and wiped the tears from her face. Her eyes focused on mine.
“I’m your wife,” she said. “My name is Kennedy.”