Dr. Smith, my psychologist, suggested that I follow a routine in order to keep my calm and for me to stay sane. For the past five years my routine has been the exact same.
Wake up. Get dressed. Get Charlie dressed for the day. Walk Charlie to preschool. Go to work at the coffee shop across from our apartment. Work for 6 hours. Pick Charlie up from school. Go back to the apartment. Cook Dinner. Bathe Charlie. Put Charlie to bed. Read for an hour. Go to sleep. Repeat.
The only variations are on Tuesdays and Thursdays when I only work for four hours instead. I visit my psychologist at 9 AM and then go to the brain clinic. It's not really a brain clinic. Allendale Memory Clinic is a rehab facility where people like me can go. People who have lost their memory. It hasn't helped. Nothing can help. I don't remember anything before the accident. I don't even remember THE accident.
I woke up in the hospital eight months pregnant. I didn't even know my name. Thank God for my husband Aiden. He happened to see the accident and was beside me the entire time at the hospital. Unfortunately, Aiden's job keeps him very busy so he is only able to see on the weekends. During the week Charlie and I are alone. But it's okay because we have our routine.
The routine that keeps me sane. That keeps me from thinking about green ey-
No. No. No. No.
I can't go there. I can't think about that.
Aiden won't be happy if he knows I'm thinking about the man from my dream with green eyes again. I can't see anything else except for his green eyes.
I won't think about them. I can't.
You should think about them.
Fuck. No. There's that voice again. That stupid voice in my head that talks to me.
Aiden won't be happy. Dr. Smith won't be happy. He will up the dose on my medication again. I can't tell them the voice is speaking to me again. I can't tell them I'm thinking about the green-eyed man again.
Fuck. I can't stop thinking about those green eyes.
You shouldn't stop thinking about them. You should think about them more. Remember more.
No. No. No.
The voice. It's too much. I can't breathe. I can't.
I don't have time for this though. Aiden will be home soon.
I take my medications that make the voices stop. Well make it stop temporarily. Nothing keeps the voice away permanently. Especially when I start thinking about those green ey-
Nope. Not thinking about them again. I've already thought about them enough today. Enough this week. Those eyes that haunt my every thought and need and desire. Those eyes that are the same shade of green as my son's.
My son. Charlie. Who is four. Charlie has beautiful olive green eyes. Just like the man from my dream.
I wish I could just stop. I wish I could remember everything. I wish I didn't feel crazy and feel on the verge of a panic attack constantly.
Back to Charlie. I don't know where he gets his eye color from. Aiden has bright blue eyes and sandy blonde hair and I have brown eyes and a medium brown hair. Charlie has olive green eyes and jett black hair. Aiden says that my parents had black hair and green eyes and that's where Charlie gets it from.
My parents are dead. Aiden said they have been for some time now. House fire. Everything was destroyed. Unfortunately, I'll never know what they looked like unless I can somehow remember. I just cannot picture people with my features and Charlie's coloring. It just seems wrong. Like it doesn't fit. Aiden gets mad when I question him though, so I've learned to stop asking questions and just accept the truths that he tells me. He was there. He remembers. I don't.
After five years, Aiden has given up on the possibility that I will remember anything. Except those gree-
Nope. Not going there again.
Dr. Smith doesn't think I will get my memories back either and neither do the people at the brain clinic.
So instead of focusing on that, which is really depressing, I focus on the things I can control. Like my routine.
My routine that says Aiden will be home in 30 minutes. My routine that says I will wake Charlie up in the next five minutes and help him get ready for the day. My routine that says I need to get started on breakfast for the family. My family. Just the three of us.
"Charlie, my love, it's time to wake up. Your father will be home soon!"
Those beautiful green eyes open halfway to look at me. Just the sight of them take my breath away. They remind me of other green eye-
Not again. This can't keep happening. I need to find something to distract myself so I think of something else. Anything else.
I kiss Charlie on the forehead, leave his clothes at the end of his bed, and walk out of the room. I didn't miss the look of confusion as he probably wonders what he did wrong for me to recoil at the sight of him.
It's not Charlie's fault that I can't look him in the eyes.
I count and do my breathing exercises, so I don't have another panic attack. I've stopped a few already this morning. I need to look presentable when Aiden gets here. I don't need him to think I'm crazy. Well, anymore than he already does. Aiden likes to see progress. If he thinks I'm sane and not hearing the voice and not thinking about those green ey-
20 minutes and Aiden will be home. I need to start cooking breakfast. Cooking keeps my mind busy. If I focus on simple routine tasks then I can stay sane.
I pull out the ingredients for breakfast. On Saturday's I make Charlie's favorite breakfast. French Toast with powdered sugar and maple syrup. The good kind. I start whipping the eggs when I hear little feet patter their way across the floor to where I'm standing.
"It's French toast day! The best day of the week!" Charlie exclaims.
"It's also the day your father comes home." I remind him.
"Yeah, I know" he sighs.
"Charlie, aren't excited to see your father?"
"I dunno mommy... Daddy doesn't like to play with me."
"That's not true. Daddy does like playing with you. It's just that daddy is normal-"
He cuts me off. "Yeah he's busy I know." Olive green eyes look towards the floor with a slight sheen in them. My heart starts breaking in two. Charlie isn't wrong. Aiden doesn't play with him. Aiden thinks that his job is to work and bring home the paycheck, while I take care of the house and raise Aiden. He about had a fit when Dr. Smith suggested I get a job, but he finally okayed it when he found out it would help me to keep my focus. To keep my sane. Where he wouldn't have to worry about the voice in my head or me thinking about the thing I shouldn't be thinking about. I tried to bring it up to Aiden that he should spend some more time with Charlie, but then Aiden reminded me that before my accident this was my idea. This is how I wanted things. How I made him promise we would allow Aiden to grow up in a traditional household and he just wants to honor my wishes. I don't know anything about the person I was before the accident, but I have to trust Aiden. He knows me. He knew me before. We've been together for the past eight years since we were sixteen years old. We got married when we were eighteen and three years later we found out we were pregnant with Aiden. Eight months into the pregnancy the accident happened. I should feel lucky that Aiden was so patient and understanding to deal with me afterwards. So confused. So Insane. Aiden has stayed by my side regardless of my memory loss. Regardless of my millions of questions. Regardless of the voice in my head that talks to me. Regardless of my drea-Nightmares as Aiden refers to them- of the green-eyed man.
"Hey bud, why don't you go put your spider-man apron on and come up here and help me make this French toast?"
"Awesome!" That grin on his face tells me he has forgotten about that conversation. At least for right now. I know it won't make up for the lack of attention from his father, but I just have to hope that I will be enough.
We make quick work of getting the French toast in the pan and cooked. We set the table and get all the plates together. We pour orange juice into our cups just as the door opens.
Perfect timing as always. Aiden is home.