Sitting out on the back verandah with Nicole, Lucy and Tammy, the girls are calling out ideas of everything I should try. From Nutella to bungee jumping, the list is endless and my hand is starting to cramp from all the writing.
But for the first time since I can remember, I feel like I have a purpose, like I’m not just existing in a hospital room, unsure of my past or my future.
When I’d told them my idea, they were excited, vowing to help me tick things off of my list. In a lot of ways, I think they are more excited than me.
“Ooo!” Tammy bounces in her chair, her blue eyes wide in excitement. “First kiss!”
“A list of firsts and we didn’t think of that first!” Lucy sighs dramatically.
“Probably because we are boring married women now.” Nicole states, though her eyes are full of amusement, not bitter. The girls continue to list off more firsts that have my face turning beet red. Their suggestions so mortifyingly embarrassing I can’t bring myself to write them down. They laugh at my current state, not stopping in their suggestions until I’m sure the blush is permanently adorning my face.
“Damn, I think we missed some juicy topic going by Jane’s face.” Seb’s voice comes from the back door to the right of me and I bury my face in my hands.
“You’re right, she does look like Snow White.” Ethan states, causing everyone around me to laugh.
I look up in confusion and my eyes lock with Jordan’s.
“Snow White?” I ask causing Jordan’s smile to widen.
“Yeah, you look just like her.” He chuckles.
“Wouldn’t sleeping beauty be more fitting?” Lucy asks, leaving me more confused.
“What?” I ask, turning towards Lucy.
“Oh! You don’t know them. Put watch Disney movies on the list.” Nicole says excitedly.
“There’s a million Disney films, so maybe just the classics.” Tammy adds. Utterly confused, I write it down anyway.
“The kids are settled with a movie.” I hear Brad say as I finish writing down the next item on my list.
“Well, seen as we are all here, we have something for you Jane.” My head shoots up and I look at Nicole who smiles widely. “As Jordan has already ruined the surprise,” she continues, shooting Jordan a glare who raises his hands in defense, “after you woke up, a few nurses at the hospital started a fundraising page to help you get on your feet.”
I nod my head in understanding.
“Well, we raised just over four hundred thousand dollars.” She shrieks. My eyes widen, not sure what to say or do. I know that’s a lot of money, more than I expected when Jordan told me about it today.
“What?” I whisper as Nicole shoves a piece of paper in my hand.
“It’ll help you do a lot of what’s on your list, and get you started.” Jordan says from beside me as he takes a seat and wraps his arm around my shoulders. I stare at the paper in my hand, noticing it shaking slightly.
“I’ll take you down to the bank tomorrow.” Nicole says. “Brandon gave you your ID documents didn’t he?” She asks and I nod my head, unable to look away from the paper in my hands that appears to be a cheque.
“What name did you end up going with anyway?” Lucy asks. It was a topic of discussion over the past few weeks. I’d settled on Jane for the time being, but my last name could be anything I wanted.
“Jane Doe.” I say softly.
“Really?” Ethan asks, shocked that I’d keep with the generic name given to anonymous people. I shrug my shoulders and smile softly.
“It’s fitting. No one knows who I am, and neither do I.” I reply with a small frown. I wish I knew something, anything from my past. Even just a flash of a memory would make me happy, but there’s nothing.
I feel Jordan’s large hand squeeze my shoulder and I lean into him slightly for comfort.
“I like it, it’s actually pretty cool.” He says, making me smile and relax into him more.
“Thanks.” I state
“Well, I think it’s time to celebrate.” Lucy says as she jumps from her seat and disappears inside the house. She comes back a moment later with a tray of glasses and a bottle of what I assume is wine.
I watch as she pours out glasses for everyone, and hands them around, avoiding Nicole and her baby bump.
“To Jane, and her new life, here’s hoping it’s always an adventure.” Lucy states before everyone clinks their glasses and murmurs in agreement.
I bring the glass to my lips and take a sip, the sweet and fruity with a slight tang coating my tongue as a flash goes off beside me. I spin quickly in Jordan’s direction who smiled sheepishly.
“Your first wine.” He says with a shrug, “I was hoping you’d pull the face you did with the coffee.” He chuckles. I shove his shoulder with mine but can’t help but giggle.
“Well I actually like this.” I say as I have another sip.
“Just don’t drink it too fast.” Brad states, “you aren’t used to alcohol.”
I nod my head as I catch Lucy rolling her eyes.
“Forever the doctor.” She mumbles causing Brad to stick his tongue out in retaliation. I giggle at them both.
We sit around talking and they fill me in on how they all met, laughing at some of the stories they share.
I had my doubts when I came out of hospital, not wanting to feel like a burden to those around me, but right now I feel like I’ve found my family, and I’m so grateful to have woken up to this group of friends, to be welcomed so warmly.
As the night goes on, I find my eyes drifting slowly shut, no matter how much I try to keep them open. At some point, I feel like I’m floating, only to land on a soft cloud. With a smile on my face, I drift off to sleep.