Baby blue eyes.
“You don’t need to remember, Riley.”
I stared at the man beside me, blinking at him. Remember what exactly? All I could remember was something exploding, hysterical cries -- a sound of a baby crying and someone pulling my child away from me…? No, the memories were all in disarray. Who am I again? Riley? Was that my name? Why couldn’t I remember?
The man had kind eyes, a tired face and a hopeful smile. He looked the same as me, only a bit older. Was he my father? I supposed he was. Staring back at my face, the man’s lips trembled, and I saw his facade break in front of me. His eyebrows furrowed, and his nostrils flared as tears streamed down his face. He stood up from his chair and moved towards me, pulling me in for a hug. I let him. The cords attached in my arms prevented me from going anywhere. His body was warm, comforting me in an instant. I wasn’t in panic, but I was scared of not remembering anything. What exploded? Why was there a baby crying in a distant? Who was the man with the blue eyes? I feared not knowing anything, not even myself.
“Riley,” the man called my name once again, his hug getting tighter. His hand caressed my back and for some weird reason, I could feel a dam about to explode inside me. The unexplained bottle-up emotions were trying to escape but I didn’t want to let it out. It felt as if I’m going to die if I did. So, I swallowed it all. I didn’t return the man’s hug, but I was thankful for his company. Pulling away from me, he cupped my cheeks and gave me a loving stare.
“You don’t need to worry about anything anymore, Riley. Cason’s going to make us disappear. They won’t trace us anymore. You don’t need to remember anything,” he whispered before kissing me on the forehead.
Remember what exactly? Who’s going to trace us? Who’s Cason? Why’s he saying I didn’t need to worry about anything anymore?
“You’ll be alright soon,” the man said, forcing a smile at me. “We’ll make you feel better. I’ll do anything, Riley.”
I tilted my head, blinking innocently at the man. “Is my name…Riley?”
The man pursed his lips. It’s obvious my question hurt him. I didn’t intend to do it, but I was genuinely curious. He kept calling me Riley. It might be my name, who knows.
Staring deep into my eyes, the man grabbed my shoulders and held it tight. “N-no,” he answered in a shaking voice, “your name isn’t Riley.”
“Then what is it?”
“Your name is…Nico,” the man said, smiling at me. “And you’re my son.”
“I see,” I said. I smiled back at him. It felt as if it’s been too long since I pulled one. I wasn’t really happy, but I didn’t want to make the man who was my father, sad. I could tell how exhausted he was based from the dark bags under his eyes and the hoarseness of his voice. I knew this man wouldn’t hurt me. My gut was telling me I could trust him. I wasn’t sure why, I just know.
“We’ll start new again, Nico. I won’t let anything happen to you again, I promise.”
I caressed my tummy, feeling the dull pain coming from it.
“Let’s make a family. You and me, okay?”
I was losing unconsciousness, but I accepted it with open arms. The voices were becoming distant. The pain was slowly going away. The sliver of memories I had in my mind was disappearing.
I don’t want to remember anything.