“A Day to Remember”

When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.

Psalm 56:3

“A Day to Remember”

By Celise Saenz

“Can I get you something?” A shake of the head was the only response Laura Johnson received from her husband, Trace. She sat in the tan pleather chair by the window studying him, waiting for him to say something, anything to give her assurance.

Trace stared at his wedding ring and then at the one on her finger. He glanced up at her, his eyes filled with questions. “You’re my wife.”

It was a statement. A statement he’d made seven times since he’d woken up in the hospital two days ago. Laura smiled and nodded. Though she wanted to fool herself into believing he remembered, he didn’t. They wore identical rings, each with three small diamonds embedded in a titanium band. He’d assumed they were married.

On the Monday past, Trace rode his bike before work as he did every day. He’d swerved to avoid hitting a squirrel and landed in a ditch. A witness said his head struck the ground hard and at a strange angle. Although his injury was not life-threatening, somehow he’d woken up with amnesia. He didn’t remember their relationship.

Dr. Williams entered the room, his clipboard in hand. The tall, middle-aged man pushed his glasses up further on his nose and smiled at Trace. “You’re looking well today, Mr. Johnson. I believe you’re ready to go home. I know things seem confusing, but you’ll gain clarity soon.”

The doctor turned to Laura. Her chair made a squeaking sound as she stood to join him by the doorway. He handed her a packet a quarter of an inch thick.  “Here’s some information to help you at home. Bring him in if he shows any physical signs of trauma.”

“Are you positive this is only temporary?”

“Even doctors can’t give you a one hundred percent guarantee, but I’d be willing to bet my twenty-seven years of practicing medicine on it. He’ll regain his memory. I can’t tell you exactly when. Physically he’s fine, so we have to release him. Continue to talk to him. One day, I believe in the next couple of days, he’ll remember.”

Laura nodded. “Thank you, Doctor.”

Trace stood, his brows furrowed together.  “I need to step into the restroom before we leave.”

Once Trace closed the door, the doctor spoke again. “Frustration is normal for both of you right now. Be patient and try to be as supportive as you can.”

Determination filled her. She would do whatever it took to help the man she loved. “I will.”

A few moments later, Trace joined them. Although he could walk fine, a nurse stood by the door with a wheelchair. No one spoke on the elevator ride down to the first floor.

When they reached the lobby, Laura hurried to get the car and pulled into the circle driveway at the front of the hospital. Before getting out, she prayed, “Lord, help me to be patient. I want him to remember now. I want him to remember us. Help me to trust you.”

She tried to keep her prayer in the forefront of her mind as they traveled through the town of four thousand residents. Raindrops splattered against the windshield as they passed Mountain View Public Library. Laura turned the windshield wipers on low and pointed to the red brick one story building. “Look Trace. That’s where I work, and it’s also where you proposed.”

He stared in the direction she indicated and nodded. His polite smile told her he didn’t remember.

Laura parked in the garage, so they could avoid getting drenched. Trace followed her in and stopped just inside the back door. His muscular frame stood nearly as tall as the doorway. She took his bag out of his hand and sat it on the kitchen table.  “I’ll make dinner. Why don’t you go upstairs and lie down?”

He rubbed the back of his neck. “I don’t need to. I’ve done enough of that for the last couple of days.” The edge in his voice made her stomach uneasy. Trace had always been the happy-go-lucky, talkative one. It was strange for him to speak so little and in an irritated tone.

“Maybe you’d like to go sit in the sunroom; it has a wonderful view.”

Trace nodded but didn’t move. He didn’t know where it was.

Laura pointed him toward the other side of the house and watched as he studied everything he passed. The pictures sitting on the end table next to the couch. The cross resting on the fireplace mantel, and the landscape painting above the fireplace, the one he’d painted. Did he remember it took over three months to finish?

Not wanting to hover, she didn’t follow him but watched as he passed through the sliding glass door.  He lowered himself onto the wicker loveseat. Laura waited a moment before turning back towards the kitchen and silently reminding herself she could handle this.

Laura opened the refrigerator and took out the roast her mother had picked up for her from the butcher. She seasoned the meat, placed it in the oven, and set the timer before walking over to the sunroom to check on Trace.

His head lay to one side, his breathing even. She touched his chestnut brown waves and re-lived the day she first met him. His dark hair and green eyes had caught her attention as soon as he walked into the nonfiction section of the library. But with memories of past abuse plaguing her, it took him several attempts before she agreed to have coffee with him. Now, five years later,  there was no person she trusted more. He’d called her “Red” because of her hair color and still did. At least had before his accident.

Exhausted, Laura slid down beside him and reached for Trace’s hand. She stopped herself. She was now a stranger to him. Instead, she closed her eyes.

The timer sounded, waking Laura. She rushed into the kitchen to turn it off, hoping she hadn’t woken Trace.  She removed the pan from the oven and grabbed a butcher knife. Just as she started to cut carrots for the salad, someone touched her shoulder, startling her.

Trace’s deep voice sounded in her ear. “I’m sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.”

She set the knife down, afraid with Trace’s breath teasing the strand of hair that lay on her neck, she might cut herself. “I thought you were still sleeping.”

He leaned over her shoulder, his familiar scent overtaking the aroma of the roast. “You made this for me on our seventh date.”

“How do you know it was the seventh?” Laura’s hands stilled, and she turned around to face Trace. Her voice caught in her throat as she placed a hand on each side of his clean cut face. “You remember?”

He flashed the boyish grin that stole her heart five years ago and leaned in closer. Wrapping his arms around her waist, he kissed her neck. “I’d never forget the day I fell in love with you, Red.”

The End

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Posted in Free Short Stories

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