I stared at him, dumbfounded.
“Excuse me?” I tried again to hold my flying thoughts in place.
He sighed. “I’m sorry, but this was all organized. I didn’t go out for another patient when I’ve already got one with an appointment made.” What the...I knew it! Obviously, they couldn’t just do that. “Hence, I have been observing your behavior, whilst you slept, and came to check up on you from time to time. By the time you woke up, I was still monitoring you from that CCTV camera over there.” He pointed to what looked like a one in the far corner of the room.
“Is that all ?” I quizzed. He shook his head.
“Your father was with me the whole time we experimented. He wanted to see for himself and arrived here before you did.”
My nose flared. “So, you mean to tell me that this was all meant to be some secret and I was like a lab rat!”
“No, no! Damn it, Leander. Clam down. I’ll exp-”
“Enough!” I shouted getting up. “I’ve already had enough of this bullshit. First, the fact that you think I’ve lost my memories, then about some ridiculous redheaded girl who you think is my classmate -”
“You told me about her, thus where your headache began-”
“Don’t cut me off! Now that the whole thing was a trap just to carry out your little science shit. I wasted my time here when instead I could’ve been home ages back!” I cried out angrily. I was not in control and needed to get out. “Stop messing with my head.”
I quickly made my way to the door before Dr. Kane can stop me.
“W-Wait! Stop! Evander, we aren’t done yet. You didn’t let me finish!” I heard his hurried footsteps rushing behind me but I quickened my steps and paid no heed to his words as I left the room, banging the door loudly.
“Don’t you move another step, young man,” a strong masculine voice spoke up in an authoritative tone. I didn’t stop walking. I was nearly to the exit when a familiar face came out from the doors of the entrance.
I looked up to meet a sharp pair of emerald eyes. Exactly like what I inherited.
My face contorted into an obvious distaste. “Move.” I didn’t wait for his reply and was about to shove past him when he prevented me.
“You need to get your ass back to that room again before I force you too,” he commanded. He was not in a pleasant mood tonight. I stood up next to him and observed his face
Dark bags could be seen under each eye, long lines that looked like he hadn’t slept, but his strong and confident frame made him still look inevitably powerful.
We stayed in the same position for almost a minute, and every second that passed made my veins pump raging cells through them.
“Why...why did you do that without telling me?” I asked, balling my hands into fists as I looked straight into his eyes. “You knew I wasn’t feeling well.”
Dad was still holding a stony face before finally yielding a deep sigh. He rubbed his face in exhaustion before looking me back into the eyes. Thankfully, we were in a secluded part of the hospital.
“Leander, can we please get back in there to give a better explanation?”
“No, I want it from you. Now,” I replied stubbornly. My mind was in chaos. I didn’t know what to think at that moment, why I was so mad at something like this, or why I’m reacting this way. It felt so constricting and my mind was in a state of suffocation.
“Son, please for yours and our sake turn around and get back to Dr. Kane’s office. I know you’ve been very stressed lately and it would only get worse if you don’t turn back now.”
I couldn’t grasp his words properly.
“Ander...An-...” It was like my mind was going blank and I could almost see dots forming around me.
That was the last word I heard before I realized I had passed out.
“He’s still unconscious,” someone said, faintly.
“Let him rest. He’s still under strenuous condition, please, give the patient room to breath until his blood pressure is back to normal,” another voice spoke out.
There was a sudden deafening silence. I wondered what was going on.
I tried to force my eyes to lift slowly because my head was spinning wildly. I groaned, steadily getting up, and immediately clutched my head. I was having a headache - again. One of the bodyguards must’ve helped carried me here.
“Shit,” I cursed, tugging the ends of my hair. I hadn’t noticed that a figure was headed my way until I felt someone sitting beside me. It took a while, but soon my eyes were focused properly on the room I was in. Back in the doctor’s lair. And speaking of the devil, who was seated adjacent to me.
I looked to my left and there sat my father.
My head was confused at first but then I remembered the earlier events before my sudden period of oblivion.
“Are you feeling alright?” Dad asked me. His face looked less stern than before. I think it had a hint of worry.
I stayed quiet, not facing him. All the anger I had previously had abruptly returned, but I kept silent.
“Leave the boy alone. He’s had enough for one day, Dominick. I’ll handle this.”
My eyes perked up to the person who called my father by his name. It was Dr. Kane. I couldn’t believe he was calling Dad by his first name. He did say that he and my parents had some history. So, this confirmed it.
From the corner of my eyes, I saw Dad nod his head and stood up from the couch. He walked briskly to the chair opposite of mine where the doctor was supposed to sit on and focused back on me.
“I know that you’re reluctant to talk to any of us at the moment. It’s fine. What is needed here is your attention.” Dr. Kane said as he ruffled his shoulder-length coffee hair. I continued staring at the floor, looking intently at my shoes. “Take your time to take it all in. I’m sorry we have to keep you here after a hectic afternoon, but as you know, your Dad won’t be here in the next week and I won’t be available after today.” This caught my attention. No wonder Mom insisted me to come here tonight.
“Why?” I asked, my voice dry and raspy. Dr. Kane gave a surprised look but was pleased I spoke a word.
“It’s a family issue that needs my immediate attention but I must finish this rendezvous between us or we’re never going to finish are we?” he chuckled as he handed me a bottle of water from God knows where. I gave a small nod.
“Thank Goodness. We can now continue with the appointment,” he smiled and flipped over a bunch of files on his desk. I ignored my father all the whilst I listened to Dr. Kane.
“Well, Leander, after your sudden hysterical mood back there, I wanted to tell you that what I had explained the hour prior were all but true. And, if you disagree, I have legitimate data to prove it.”
“You have been wiped off some of your memories after that accident almost 11 years ago. The reason why you’ve been having migraines was because of that, your brain was trying to retrieve something and maybe, just maybe, a certain event triggered it to happen. Trust me, child, this whole set up was for a reason to help you and nothing more. What you thought was completely wrong.”
“You did say it began on your first day of school, so I suppose it had something to do with a specific someone?”
I didn’t have the strength to argue back or hide anything so I gave in. “I guess so?” I answered not looking at him.
“Could you please tell me about it? You haven’t answered me earlier,” he asked, taking a seat next to me. I felt the world zeroed at me and everything stilled. Even the loud bustling of nurses and patients outside became very inaudible. God, I felt uncomfortable. If Dad wasn’t here I’d feel much better.
But I didn’t care anymore. I needed to let out the eeriness I’ve been bottling up for weeks now.
“I’ll try...I guess,” I muttered bleakly. “Why again?”
“Excuse me. I’ll just head to the comfort room. You guys go ahead,” my Dad spoke suddenly, as if knowing my uneasiness, and left the room in a hurry. I gave Dr. Kane a weird look, but he just nodded his head.
“I just need to reconfirm,” he stated.
With an awkward face, “Well...”
I repeated the rest of the details from earlier but made sure to keep back some improper parts and focused on the major details that relate to the question. It didn’t take long but I managed to summarize the whole thing in 5 minutes.
Dr. Kane kept approving of everything I said with a nod and as if sensing my hesitation encouraged me to continue every time I stopped.
So this is how it felt to be interrogated...?
“So, she’s a Gawan, huh?” he asked, jotting down notes into his tablet. I replied with the usual yes. But not without the feeling of tingles shooting through me when her name was mentioned. I didn’t know why her name was so needed but I just gave it anyway.
“Thank you,” he said, smiling at me. He got up and he walked to his desk, put down his tablet and papers before having a telepathic conversation with my Dad, who had just entered a few minutes ago and they both nodded their head.
“Alright,” he sat on the other couch next to where my Dad sat and took off his specs. He rubbed his temple slowly as he sighed. “Now, I’ll ask you something else.”
“For the past few weeks, have you been feeling tired even when you’re doing nothing? No practices or anything excessively physical. Maybe like walking or simple exercises?”
I thought for a while. “Yes, I have. But, I don’t know why,” I said. “And I sleep more than usual.”
“We’re on the right track. The reason is the same as before, so it’s important to get rest. Sleeping more means that your brain is trying to revive it more rapidly.”
“What about my weird dreams?”
“Your past. They’re not fantasies you’re making up but recalling your history, interesting isn’t it,” he pointed out.
“Umm, I guess you could put it that way.”
“This is great news, Nick! It’s better than I thought. He’s recovering faster than I hypothesized years back.”
Dad resembled an excited turtle, He smiled but it soon faded away. “But that’s not all, Kane. Remember his weird habits. What can you say of that?”
“Weird habits?” I repeated.
Dad nodded and took out his phone. “Son, I wasn’t sure if you’d notice or not, but you’ve been doing...this for the past month. Which is rather concerning.”
“I haven’t got a clue as to what you’re referring to padre,” I insisted, supplying a blank face. “What are you going to show me?”
“This,” he gave me the phone which had a video ready to be played.
It took me a minute to realize what the hell I was looking at before it dawned on me.
What the...hell! They were all videos of me. It was a compilation of me on different occasions, some were taken inside the house, others were when I went out with Troy, in the training center where I practice kickboxing, and even...at school!
“What the shit!” I cried out when I saw a video of myself walking in the school hallway. “Dad, do you have some drones following my whereabouts?
“No...well sometimes when you go out.”
“Since when?” I asked, horrified. I hated the idea of him monitoring my every move. I’m going to be 18 soon for heaven’s sake.
“Calm down. It was only once when you hanged out with Troy in that abandoned amusement park.” That wasn’t improving anything. I knew my Dad had bodyguards placed everywhere so I wasn’t surprised that he found out.
I continued watching myself and the disgust grew each second. All of them had the same common thing.
But it was also not me?
“Listen, Leander. I’m don’t like this as much, but we’ve had to do it. Ever since that dinner, we had on your first day of school you haven’t been...the same. It scared the living day out of your mother that she kept insisting for me to bring you here.”
I was speechless. So it was the woman who created all this ruckus. “What am I doing?” I asked myself quietly.
“That is the effect of someone having TBI.” I nimbly looked at Dr. Kane. “Yes, you said it a tad bit too loud,” he chuckled.
Dad coughed, not liking the fact that Dr. Kane was getting off track. “Loosen up, old boy, I’m just trying to lighten up the atmosphere. If you hadn’t notice, I think I could cut a hole through the air using a butter knife.”
Dad wasn’t dazzled.
I ignored the adults and focused my attention back to the phone. There I was again, staring into space with a thoughtless expression on my face. I recognized that place. That was the day I signed up for my first day of literature class. I had been staring at Gabriella for a while and listening to the teacher, but I couldn’t recall doing that.
Dad must’ve gotten that footage from the CCTV camera tucked somewhere in the class. Mrs. Cooray’s class was one of the many rooms that had a camera installed in them, to make sure students don’t do any reckless business afterschool.
Of course, I knew he easily got those snaps of me at home because there were several cameras throughout and he most likely went to the head of the security to transfer a copied file to his phone.
The next was of me in the garden. I was had been on my phone and lying on the hammock when I dropped it. There I was staring at the sky. Blankly. Mom came a few minutes later and seemed like she was talking to me. Probably asking me something, I couldn’t see her face well because her hair was on the way, but then she took a few steps back after trying attempts to “wake me up”. She had a terrified expression on her face and I didn’t like that.
“He’s been shutting on and off lately. It’s making my heartache to see him like that,” mom said on the screen when the video switched into another scene. She looked like she was on the verge of crying.
“See what I mean, Leander. Control your emotions now and let this session continue in peace.” Dad said firmly as he took his phone back before it cracked with how tight I’ve clutched. “Come to think of it, I haven’t seen you ever sleep with your eyes open.?
I rolled my eyes. “What’s TBI?”
“TBI stands for “Traumatic Brain Injury”. A sudden damage to the brain caused by a blow to the head.”
“It can last for a few minutes, weeks, or even a few months, but yours - is a worse condition, I’m afraid to say. The understanding of that is because no one tried to help you remember her, the only person you seemed to have forgotten, thus your brain stayed dormant.”
“All those memories were locked up only to be reopened now after...remembering her,” he paused, before exhaling the last part. “It’s surprising, to say the least, that you’ve bottled this up for years now and usually when I deal with patients like yourself, their memories were completely wiped out - never to return. But, I suppose since you’re still a young child, that anything as such can be possible.”
“What should I do?” I asked.
“You should consider yourself lucky that you’ve found your answer. If not, there’s the chance that you’ll never remember, because the brain did not store them.”
“Stick to the following instructions I’m about to give you,” he told, writing down something on a sheet of blank paper. “And I’m jotting them down, just in case you forget.” I simply nodded my head and let the silence wash over as we watched him scribble away.
Whilst he was busy, I tried to understand properly what this all is and thought of the part that’s bothered me.
“...no one tried to help you remember her ....stayed dormant and all those memories were locked up only to be reopened now after...remembering her.”
I was livid at Dad, but now I’m even more ready to completely get bent out of shape. Yes, what the psychiatrist revealed shocked me to the core. I didn’t know that there was a person out there who I was missing and now all of a sudden I have a mysterious girl in my records. Why hasn’t he - no why hasn’t anyone mentioned anything about this before? I couldn’t recall any memory of a red-headed girl before. Why now? What happened?
And who is her?
Does this girl in my dreams have a connection in this if they weren’t made up? Could she be - real? Then who could that little boy be? What does that Gawan girl have to do with all this? But most of all - why is Dad so calm about this?
“Here, read this.” Dr. Kane said handing me a paper.
“What is it?”
“Your guide. This is what you’ll need to do to exercise your brain and get those past events back into your head,” he chuckled, which I did find humorous. “Oh, lighten up, this is your lucky day! You’re finally getting back that piece of your life that was missing. And most of all that scarlet haired girl.” He wiggled his eyebrows. Dad glared at him before telling him to shut his trap up.
I ignored them and read the paper, some were written in bold marker. This was what it contained :
Time of the day needed to do full exercise: Early Morning.
Follow these routines every day and at strict hours :
i) Avoid distractions
Focus on something one at a time.
ii) Get enough sleep
Your brain is still recovering. Get enough rest by sleeping on time and you can’t get stressed and go over the limit if you want repeated migraines. A suggestion would be keeping to stern timings such as getting an early rest at 9 PM.
iii) Write things down
Clues, memories that act as dreams or any recollections and pieces to help you improve your memory to remember.
iv) Avoid getting drunk
“You need to avoid that kid,” Dr. Kane said looking straight at me. I raised an eyebrow. “Again, you said it out loud.”
“But I don’t drink,” I frowned sheepishly.
v) Maintain a routine
Being consistent can improve your ability to recall information.
vi) Stay mentally active
Do things you’ve never done before like reading.
Writing. Working on crossword puzzles. Other brain games.
Sharpening your brain is an excellent way to keep track.
vii) Lower your stress level.
viii) Stay physically active.
I guess you have no problem with that...
x) Eat high-quality food.
xi) Allow extra time for tasks.
Understand certain things that take longer than they used to.
Remember to prioritize your list otherwise, it would never work and would be for nothing.
“Whoa this is one huge list, Doc,” I muttered, folding the paper into my pocket.
“It certainly is.” Dr. Kane confirmed with a nod. The men stood up and shook hands.
“Thank you very much, Aaron. I hope this works.”
“I wish for the same too, brother. We’ll see what happens patiently. It takes time and effort, but if he’s willing to work with us to help himself - the situation will eventually work out well. Just have faith.”
Dad nodded and motioned for me to follow him out the door. I thanked the doctor quietly before joining Dad.
“About everything you had to hear tonight, son. I didn’t want it to end this way,” Dad apologized and I stood still. He stopped walking and looked at me. “I know what I’ve been doing to you these past few weeks, but it was for your sake." "When I went for a consultation with Dr. Kane he suggested about physical workout. But...I overdid it. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have passed the limit with you when you’re in this critical state,” he lifted a hand and placed it on my right shoulder. I looked at his face and it held a genuine face on.
“I love my children and I would do anything to help them. I’m just looking out for you and I thought that making you do excessive workouts might help you.” I couldn’t help but hug my Dad. Even if he was a pushy father at times it was all for love. And I couldn’t be much happier to have a father like him.
“This is on behalf of both your mom and me. We couldn’t bear to tell you about that missing life. We were traumatized enough after your accident that we wanted to keep you safe at all costs. It was fatherly instincts. You wouldn’t understand what it feels like to be a father with a son like this. Even to the extent of trying to erase them forever. But I see how wrong we were. This is the consequence. Somehow, things will return to their rightful place, we should’ve never meddled with it.”
I was elated that he was being truthful to me. He gave me another shock as he hugged me like he used to when I was younger. This was what I wanted. For Dad to be himself. A wave of sudden exhaustion filled into me and I had to lean on my Dad.
“Don’t worry, son. We can get through this, together,” he assured, patting my back as he broke the embrace and began leading us towards the dim parking lot.