Turn Back Time
“I believe you did hear Veronica say your name Mr Lions but you have to understand that people slip in and out of comas all the time” Dr Papskin said as he updated Veronica’s chart. It had been an hour since I had heard my girl speak my name for the first time in a week but my elation started to diminish as the seconds ticked by without any more progress. “Her vitals were strong, her pupils were responsive to light which is a great sign” He adds, attempting to boost my moral which had taken a nose dive when there was no further activity.
“Thank you Doctor, I’m sorry I wasted your time” I really thought that this was it, when I called out to the nurses station to page Charlotte and Dr Papskin I thought for sure that they’d come running into the room and find Veronica awake and talking.
“You didn’t waste my time Sam, Veronica is my patient, any change in her condition, big or small, I want to know about” He assures me politely. Although I haven’t seen much of him in the days that followed since the accident he does have Charlotte reporting back to him often and checks in between surgeries and answers all the questions I throw at him, which is a ton.
“The fact that she spoke, that’s a good sign right?” The brochures for the long care facilities sat in a pile on the table next to where Veronica lay, a reminder of how bad things could really be but I was clinging to any shred of hope that Veronica would be able to wake up from this unharmed.
“It really is, it would indicate that her speech was not compromised and the fact that she spoke your name gives me a positive outlook that she may not suffer any long term memory loss, things are certainly looking up Sam”
“I just wish she would wake up already, I need to hear her voice again and to tell her how much I love her”
“Patience Sam, it will happen soon enough” Dr Papskin smiles warmly at me, he doesn’t look to be that much older than I am really, but it’s hard to tell with doctors, the job makes them look like they age quickly. “I knew your dad when he worked here, really nice guy, very proud of you too, he would often tell me all about you”
“Doesn’t surprise me, Dad loves to brag about my days on the field” I chuckle, my father was the first person to support my dream of playing football in the premier league, he never let me give up on what I wanted, no matter how out of reach it seemed or what obstacles life threw my way and he loved to tell everyone in earshot about how proud I’d made him.
“I’m not talking about just your career Sam, he spoke about you and Veronica often too, he was over the moon that you’d found someone like her, ‘Sam’s one’ he used to call her, in so many ways I feel like I know you both because of the stories he’d share” I look at my girl, she was always my one, my only regret was how I treated her before I left for university, I broke her heart and I’m so very lucky that she eventually gave me a second chance. Those days are long behind us now, a distant memory that I never want to revisit.
“I learnt a long time ago that my life is really nothing without her, I can shoot the goal that won my team the World Cup but the achievement is only minuscule compared to how it feels to come home to the person you love and know that they love you back” I walk over to stand beside her bed, stroking her hair, like I do whenever she’s sick, she once told me that it’s something her dad would do to comfort her and after he died I wanted to be that person who gave her comfort.
“Two divorces later and I’m yet to learn that myself but that’s the life of a surgeon, long hours and never being home, relationships suffer because of it” Dr Papskin complains, letting out a long, heavy sigh. I’m all too familiar with the life of a surgeon but Dad made it work for him, both with Mum and Celeste, plus also with me.
“When you meet the right person they make you want to work hard to keep things going and it’s all worth it in the long run, trust me” I tell him while watching Veronica closely, theres movement behind her eyelids, fluttering, Dr Papskin must have caught it too because he’s on the other side of her bed in seconds. Slowly her eyes begin to open, blinking a few times until she adjusts to her surroundings, she looks from me to Dr Papskin.
“Hi” I whisper down to her, not wanting to overwhelm her. Her blue eyes drift around the room but keep coming back to focus on me, warming my heart.
“Hi” She says back, he voice strained, her lips twitch into a small, pained smile.
“Can you tell me your name?” Dr Papskin asks, pulling her attention from me.
“Veronica Kreslin” She replies, not hesitating to answer. This is great.
“Do you know where you are?” The doctor’s questions continue, Veronica’s eyes fall on the machines next to her bedside, the heart monitor beeping away and the IV filled with fluids.
“Claremont Hospital” She answers after a beat, making my happy that she said Claremont, that means she knows exactly where she is.
“Do you know what happened Veronica?”
“The car, it couldn’t stop in time and it hit me” Dr Papskin had told me that any memory of the accident would indicate that there is no amnesia present, that newest memories were often lost forever after a blow to the head but she remembered what happened, this was outstanding, now the bastard who ran the stop sign would get what’s coming to him.
“You had me so scared Roni” Tears of joys begin to fall from my eyes, a week ago I thought I’d lost her, when she was brought into the hospital, Dr Papskin said she was not in a good way and that the first 24 hours were touch and go but my girl is a strong fighter, always has been. “I’ve been waiting for you to wake up from the coma and now you’re back”
“How long?” She asks me
“A week” Longest week of my entire life.
“Did he leave?” I have no idea who she’s talking about, no one was leaving as far as I knew. Dr Papskin looks at me puzzled, hoping I’d have the answer but I’m coming up short. Veronica is watching us both, sadness settling on her face. “He did leave and he never said goodbye”
“Who left and never said goodbye?” She’s starting to worry me, something isn’t right.
This isn’t making any sense, I feel like we’re just going around in circles and I can’t figure out who she’s talking about but whoever it is has her distressed and I don’t like it.
“I never want to see him ever again” tears run down her face, whoever has upset my girl will face my wrath, I hate seeing her hurt but I have no clue of who it could be. “I want my dad, is he here? Can he come in and see me now?”
Dr Papskin shoots me a concerned look, he knows the family history, it was in the form that Bridget filled out when Veronica was brought in and I’d mentioned it to him in passing. Ed’s death was extremely hard on Veronica and Bridget, losing the only parent they really had, how could she not remember he died?
“Veronica, what year is it?” Dr Papskin asks.
“1999. July to be exact but I couldn’t tell you what date it is, it was Sunday when I went to the mall, does that help?” What the hell? She can remember going shopping in July, 21 years ago but can’t remember her own dad died. Oh shit, the mall, I remember that day, that was the day we broke up, the day she walked in front of that car.
“Veronica, you said the car hit you, were you driving at the time?” I ask her, my mind flashing back to that sickening day when I saw her flying backwards and hitting her head on the tar, she was knocked out cold for a few minutes. I called the ambulance and rode with her to the hospital, she had a broken femur, my Dad was pulled in to do reconstructive surgery on her. She was stuck in hospital for two weeks and refused to allow me to visit her. I never got to say goodbye before I left.
“No, I was walking, I wasn’t watching where I was going and I walked out in front of the car. Is the woman who hit me alright? I must have given her such a fright” She stresses, working herself up. The woman who hit her was beside herself with guilt, she sat with us while we waited for the ambulance and even drove to the hospital to check up on Veronica.
“She’s fine” In all honesty I have no idea what happened to her after that day but this is what Veronica needs to hear right now.
“Good, I’m glad, I feel so guilty, I was just so angry at Sam and I wasn’t watching” Dr Papskin and I exchange looks again, who does she think I am? She talking about me as if I’m not just next to her, as if I’m someone else.
“Do you know who this man is?” Dr Papskin asks the question, reading my mind. Veronica looks at me with recognition.
“That’s Dr Lions, Nick” She answers him, I look down at the red scrubs that I’m dressed in because of the coffee spilling all over my own clothing.
“She thinks I’m my dad” I say to Dr Papskin shocked, this is the love of my life and she doesn’t even recognise me at all. “Veronica, baby, it’s me, Sam”
She stares up at me, studying my face, her small, frail hand reaches out and caresses my cheek so softly, almost like a feather touch, her eyes locked with mine, I lower myself down so she can see me better. I see the flicker of light in her eyes as she begins to realise who I am.
“Sam? It is you” She sounds so surprised but that surprise soon turns to angry fast, her features harden, her breathing increases, her hand drops from my face and she turns her face away from me. “I want you to go and never come back” Her tone is icy cold.
“I know that I hurt you that day and I’m sorry baby, I really am, for everything but it happened so long ago and we got through it, I promise you bunny, I love you”
“It’s been a week Sam, you think that I’d just wake up and be over the fact that you slept with someone else after a week? Go to England, get far, far away from me because I will never let you back into my life ever again” I’m reliving a nightmare, one that took me years to repair.
I need to help her get her memory back, I need to remind her of the love we have for one another and how much stronger it is now, than it was back when we were kids. I broke her and only I know how to fix her.
*** TO BE CONTINUED***
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