I look at the plain white walls of my bedroom, the one in my mom's house. It's a new and unfamiliar place for me, but at least I have my mom. It feels like I haven't seen my mom in a long time but apparently it has been longer, longer than my mind can understand. I feel like I don't know her, but there's a sense of home having her here with me.
Apparently my mom lived away from North Carolina until I was found. It's weird to say, I was found, like I had been lost or something. But I wasn't really lost, I knew where I was and who I was with, but everyone thought I was dead. My life had been so private for so long, I didn't explore the world or meet a lot of people and now my story is everywhere. The girl who came back from the dead.
I wish I could take away all of the stares or the people waiting for me to leave my house to ask me questions. This entire situation is less than desirable, I just want to be normal again. All I have been hearing is bad things about Cory but all I ever saw from Cory was a gentle, caring person. The negative energy around his name hurts me when he isn't able to defend himself. Although I want nothing more than to see him, my mother refuses to let me visit him in prison.
I just want answers.
Today marks two weeks since I returned to North Carolina, for the most part I have stayed inside and refused to interact with the outside world but my mom is throwing a welcome home celebration for me - something I begged her not to do. I'm just going to be surrounded by people I don't know listening to memories I don't recall.
I'm already in my jeans and long sleeve shirt for the party, this is progress, I've only been wearing sweat pants since I got home. Although it isn't anything fancy, my outfit is still acceptable for the event.
My mom pokes her head into my bedroom with a smile on her face, "Your first guest is here. Are you going to come say hi?"
"Uh, yeah. I'll be right down," I tell her before she leaves.
I hope it's someone I remember. Someone familiar and someone that it won't be completely awkward seeing, although I know that I will experience some, or plenty, awkward encounters tonight.
Staring at myself in the mirror I see nothing more than a lost little girl, I don't feel like I belong here and I feel like I was only present for small pieces of my life. I remember small things like learning to ride my bike with my dad by my side, I remember a Christmas morning from when I was eight and I remember certain moments in high school with my friends Rayna and Isla. It sounds okay, but there's so many important things that I don't remember. I don't remember the moment I woke up to my mother being gone and her closet being empty. I don't remember graduating or heading to college. I don't remember falling in love for the first time.
The only love I remember is the love from my father and the love I experienced with Cory these past few years. I miss him and the comfortable life we had together, I miss the simplicity of being at home and watching movies while cuddled up on the couch. But I don't remember the moment I realized I loved Cory, and that is disappointing beyond anything I can imagine,
"Jade!" I hear my mom call out to me.
I snap from my thoughts and take a deep breath, walking out of my room and making my way down the stairs. When I get half way down I see the familiar face of my friends Rayna and Isla, faces I am happy to see and a sense of comfort comes over me.
"Hi, guys." I say softly once I reach the bottom of the stairs.
Rayna wastes no time in hugging me and sobbing into my shoulder. It's happy tears, I think. She speaks through her sobs and laughs in a overjoyed tone, "I can't believe this is real. I thought I would never see you again."
I hug her back tightly, smiling at her words, "Cory said you two went abroad for school and we didn't have your number, that's why I never called..."
"Well, we all know that Cory is a lying piece of shit," Rayna snaps before pulling away, "I can't believe he made everyone think you were dead. That's sick, Jade."
"It really is," Isla agrees before hugging me, "I'm so happy you're back. I never thought this would be possible."
There's a knock on the door and my mother eagerly opens it, allowing the next guest to come inside. It's someone unfamiliar, a man and woman with their young daughter who must be adopted because she seems to have some African American jeans. She's beautiful, seeming around four or five years old, maybe.
The woman is stunning, she puts me to shame with her flawless skin and bright white teeth. She smiles when she sees me and seems to become emotional, "I can't believe this."
"Hello..." I manage, feeling highly uncomfortable.
"Oh, honey. I'm sorry, I'm Thomas' mom, Alexandra."
"Thomas' mom..." I say, trying to ring a bell. Thomas as in the guy who has been constantly calling my mother, trying to speak to me and trying to visit? The past two weeks the guy has not quit, but my mother respected my wishes and allowed me to rest. I remember seeing him at the hospital but even then, it was brief and there was no recollection of who he was to me.
She nods her head slowly, "This is my husband Daniel and our daughter, Sadie."
"Okay, so Thomas' dad and sister?" I ask.
Daniel shakes his head, "Step-dad. But yes, this is his sister."
Sadie looks up at me with a smile on her face, "Hi! I like yellow. Do you?"
Yellow? I don't even know what I like at this point in my life. Maybe I hated yellow. I force a smile on my face and nod my head anyway, "Yeah, it's a nice color."
Alexandra extends her hand towards me and a little box is there for me to take, "It's a welcome home present. You know, when we were waiting for Sadie to be born, you were the one who threw the baby shower. You were so kind to us, Jade. You have the most beautiful personality."
"Thank you," I smile a little, trying to remember her name. I say nothing more, not wanting things to be weird but as I open the box I see a pandora bracelet with a charm of the letter J, "This is beautiful. Thank you very much."
My head snaps towards the door when my mom opens it, allowing more people to come in. This time a group of four. A couple and their blonde daughter, and... Mason. I remember him from high school, a familiar face thankfully.
"Welcome back to the land of the living," Mason jokes, a playful smirk on his face.
I smile at him, a genuine smile, "Thanks, Mason."
He seems surprised, his brows furrowing, "You remember me?"
"We had AP English together... Or was is science?" I ask, struggling to remember the exact details, "We were friends, right?"
"Yeah, yeah... Kind of," He seems confused and I wonder what I'm missing. He laughs softly and shakes his head, "I crushed on you pretty hard, so if you remember anything weird about me just know that I have grown up quite a bit since high school."
I can't help but laugh, "I don't remember that but thank you for the details."
"This is my parents, Matthew and Allison, and my little sister Mila."
"I'm not little, I'm almost eleven." The sassy blonde girl rolls her eyes before looking at me with a smile, "You and my brother used to kiss all the time."
I quickly look at Mason and he shakes his head, "No, not me. She's talking about Thomas."
There's that name again.
"I've heard a lot about him," I say.
Allison looks around the room, "He left an hour ago to come here, have you seen him?"
I shake my head, "No, ma'am."
My mom interrupts, walking to the front of the room with her glass held high, "Although all of the guest aren't here yet, I want to thank you all for coming and celebrating Jade's return home, where she belongs. Please be easy on her, her memory is very shaky at this time."
I love when my mother talks about me like I'm not in the room, it's awkward and even more uncomfortable than being here. I'm already highly overwhelmed by the situation. I tuck my red hair behind my hear and clear my throat, "I need some air."
"Jade, honey. Don't go out there alone, please. If someone from the news is lurking..."
"Mom, I'm okay." I insist, needing a moment to myself.
When I open the front door, I step onto the bridge and fold my arms over my chest. This is my life now, my terrible, miserable life. I have a room full of people and I only recognize my mom and 3 other people. All of these people love me and I have no feelings towards them. It's so messed up and I hate myself for not being able to remember their faces.
I sit on the step, burying my face into my hands as I take a deep breath to prevent myself from sobbing. I'm stronger than this, I can get through it.
The sound of another car pulling into the driveway gets my attention and I lift my head, quickly wiping my eyes to hide any of my sad emotions than I let come to surface. The headlights turn off and the driver's door opens before a tall male steps out, the same dark haired guy I seen at the hospital.