Mia's Heart


Page 6



“Mom?” I call again.

I climb over bricks that used to be walls and stumble on what is left of my bed.

I pull myself up onto my hands and knees and peer over what seems to be a mountain of wreckage.

And then the earth quakes again.

It rumbles, low and loud, and I hear several pops and cracks from beneath me.

I don’t know if it is a strong aftershock or another earthquake, but I hear Gavin yell and feel someone yank my arm right before there is a sharp pain in my temple and my vision explodes into a bright white light.

And then there is nothing at all.

Chapter Six

Something is annoying me.

This is my first thought because it takes me a moment to place what it is.

Something is moving. It’s disturbing me, waking me.

And then I realize that it’s my own finger.

It’s moving on its own accord, twitching against the side of my leg.

I try to open my eyes, but my eyelids feel heavy and tired, like they have been glued closed. I try again and then again, and finally, finally, they open.

Slowly.

And the light hurts my eyes.

I can’t focus.

Everything looks like blurry shapes and fuzzy outlines and I blink, trying to clear things up. It doesn’t help. I blink again and it is so incredibly, frustratingly hard. My eyes don’t want to cooperate. After a few minutes, I finally bring things into a slightly clearer focus, but it’s not perfect.

But it’s enough to see a figure sitting in a chair by the window.

It’s a woman.

Her head is bowed and I think she is asleep.

I have no idea where I am.

“Mia!”

She wasn’t asleep. The figure jumps to her feet and lunges to my side. Her face is anxious, frantic, hopeful. I stare at her in confusion.

Because I don’t know her.

And then I realize something else.

I don’t know me.

Alarm slams into me, causing me to panic.

“Who are you?” I ask her wildly. “Where am I?”

This can’t be happening because I don’t know who I am. My heart is speeding, pulsing, threatening to burst.

HolyHell.

HolyHell.

HolyHell.

I grab her hand and look into her eyes. They are green and startled and instantly concerned.

“Who are you?” I beg her.

A tear drops from the corner of her eye.

“I’m your mother,” she answers uncertainly and she reaches for the call button. She presses it, but then runs for the door, calling for a nurse. And then she stops at a sofa on the way back to my bed, and she shakes someone’s shoulder.

And I realize that someone is lying there. A man. And I didn’t even see him before. I wipe at my eyes and realize that they are covered in goop. I wipe at them again and my vision clears a little.

The man approaches me with my mother, the mother that I don’t remember and don’t know, and he looks concerned. He’s tall and dark and has silver at his temples.

And I don’t know him, either.

“Mia,” he begins. “Do you know who you are? Do you remember what happened?”

I’m panicky again. It feels like butterflies are banging their wings against my ribcage, trying to get out. I don’t blame them. I want to get out too.

“No,” I answer uncertainly. “Who are you?”

“I’m your father,” the strange man answers calmly. But he is interrupted by a nurse who comes through the door. When she sees that I am awake, she approaches me quickly, checking my pulse and looking into my eyes. She wipes the rest of the goop away and now I can see.

My mother is crying and telling the nurse that I don’t know her.

And the nurse looks at me.

“Do you know who you are?” she asks gently.

I shake my head and my mother cries harder.

“Do you remember anything that happened?” the nurse asks.

I shake my head again.

“It’s alright,” she tells me and she pats my hand. “Everything will be alright.”

Will it?

Because my parents are standing next to me and I don’t seem to remember them. And I don’t remember me, either.

And I don’t see how in the world that can be alright.

I’m getting very, very panicky.

A doctor comes in a few minutes later. He pokes and prods at me, too, in all the same places as the nurse.


He looks into my eyes and listens to my heart and nods.

“I hear that you don’t remember very much,” he tells me. I nod.

“Don’t worry,” he tells me. “You’ve suffered a head injury. Your brain was swollen and you were placed in a medically induced coma to protect you. We reduced your medication yesterday and you woke up on your own accord today. Physically, you are fine, so do not worry about that.”

“Why can’t I remember anything?” I whisper.

The doctor’s eyes are kind.

“Because you’ve had a trauma,” he tells me. “As the swelling continues to decrease, your memory may come back. As time passes, it may come back that way too. Memory loss as a result of brain trauma is a tricky thing. But you are surrounded by people who love you and I have confidence that you will be fine.”

I swallow hard and my throat is sore. The doctor notices me wincing.

“You had a breathing tube,” he tells me. “You might notice some tracheal tenderness for a day or two.”

Tracheal tenderness. That sounds so medical.

I am still for a moment. My memory is a strange thing. As I think, I can remember bits and pieces of things. I see a car. A red convertible. I think it’s mine, but it might not be. I see a boat. I see underwater murkiness. But there is nothing else.

I look at my mother.

“I’m sorry that I don’t remember you,” I tell her politely.

She cries.

“Adrianna,” my father says sternly. “Mia doesn’t need this right now.” He pats her back awkwardly and I note that. My father isn’t great with affection, apparently. “You need to be strong.”

She nods, but she’s still crying.

“What is my full name?” I ask my father. He looks slightly pained.

“Mia Alexandria Giannis,” he tells me. The name doesn’t mean anything to me. Nothing at all. It doesn’t feel like me. But then again, I don’t know me.

“Your middle name is after my mother,” he adds. “Your grandmother. You are very much like her. Very strong-willed and independent.”

Strong willed?

I wonder about this. I don’t feel strong willed right this moment. I feel confused and tired. And weak. I don’t like the feeling.

“You should rest,” my father tells me. And I realize that I don’t even know his name. So I ask and he looks pained again.

“It’s Stanyos,” he tells me. “Stanyos Alexander Giannis.”

“After your mother?” I guess. He smiles and nods.

“Yes.”

He’s satisfied with me for some reason. I’ve done something right, but I don’t know what. Maybe he’s just proud of me that I woke up.

“What happened?” I ask. Because I realize that I have no idea what happened to put me into this condition.

“There was an earthquake,” my mother pipes up. Her eyes are red from crying. “You were grounded. And you sneaked away to go scuba diving. But that’s a good thing. If you’d been in your room like you were supposed to be when the quake happened, you might have been killed. For once, your rebelliousness was a good thing.”

She sounds a little bitter and my father gives her a hard look.

“Adrianna.”

She lowers her eyes and I know that I’m missing something. But I’m too tired to worry about it.

“So I like to scuba dive?”

My father smiles again.

“It’s your favorite thing in the world.”

That makes sense. I only have a handful of memories that I can recall and they involve the water. I tell them that. My father smiles, my mother does not. She seems very upset about something that I don’t understand. But again, I’m too tired to make sense of it now.

I tell them this, that I am so very tired. And they tell me to get some sleep, that they aren’t going anywhere.

So I close my eyes. But when you are a in a place that you don’t know, with strangers watching your every move and when, in fact, you don’t even know who you are… it is very hard to sleep.

But I’m going to give it the old college try.

And then I realize that I have no idea where that saying came from. Somewhere from the back recesses of my mind, probably.

I can tell already that this getting my memory back thing is going to be a long process.

Sigh.

Chapter Seven

Days pass in a blur of strange faces and visitors.

Apparently, all of my friends from school come to see me, all of the ones who weren’t also injured in the earthquake. And I don’t recognize any of them.

The strange thing is that I know what everything around me is. I know the television, the bed, the bathroom, my slippers. I recognize how those things work. It’s like my memory has holes in it. I remember some things but everything else just dropped out of existence, like I never knew it at all. It’s frustrating.

Also, apparently, I like red jello. It’s pretty much all I want to eat right now. The meat on my tray makes me want to gag.

My mother sighs.

“Mia, you’re not a vegetarian. You’ve never been a vegetarian. Just eat your food, alright? You need the strength and you’re not going to get it from jello alone.”

I stare at her.

“Maybe I should have been a vegetarian,” I announce, laying my spoon down and putting the cover back over my tray. I don’t even want to look at the greenish tinted hospital chicken. (Who in their right mind would eat that??) “And maybe I’ll become one now.”

“Mia,” my mother sighs again. “What has gotten into you today? You’re not normally like this…. so obstinate.”

I stare at her again. I’m not? So, I don’t usually have opinions? I must have been a very boring person. I’m prevented from responding by another visitor.

“Mia’s being obstinate? How out of character,” a dark-haired guy says wryly. He steps into the room and I wrack my brain. I was introduced to him a few days ago. Gavin. His name is Gavin. And we were-are- good friends.

Apparently.

“Hi Gavin,” I tell him. I smile politely. It’s hard to pretend to be good friends with someone that I don’t remember. They all tell me that they understand, but there’s no way that they can. I just hope that I don’t accidentally hurt someone’s feelings by forgetting them.

“Hey,” Gavin tells me. He pulls up a chair next to me and I examine him. Dark hair, dark brown eyes, mischievous smile. Crisp white button-down shirt, open at the top, fancy blue jeans, flip-flops. He’s gorgeous. My tummy gets a little fluttery when he picks up my hand as if he knows me.

Then I remember, he does know me.

I just don’t know him.

“How do you feel today?” he asks. “Are you driving the nurses crazy?”

“No, she is not,” My mother says firmly, even though clearly the question was meant for me. “She’s being polite and courteous, as she should be.”

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