The first thing I can remember is waking up in a hospital. I know this sounds like a cheesy opener to a soap opera, but it was my life. The sterile smell and steady beep of machines placed me right away. I was trying to remember why I was in a hospital, why I was having a hard time placing my own name.
"Well, hello there!" a plump, smiling, middle-aged nurse came in holding a clipboard with a large stack of papers attached.
"Hello," I said. My voice was weak and hoarse, how long had it been since I had spoken.
"I was hoping you would wake up today," she continued smiling. "Your doctor has been saying for about a week that you would wake up any day. Here you are, bright eyed."
I smiled back at the nurse, but as I realized that something was very wrong it faded. I couldn't remember anything. I looked down at my hands, I had pale skin. They looked like they hadn't seen sunlight in months. I turned them over, looking at them, touching them. There was a scar on the back of my left hand. It looked like it had been a deep gash.
My gaze traveled up my arms that looked fine. Maybe a few cuts here and there. My joints were extremely stiff, but seemed to be in working order. I reached up to grab hair so I could look at it. I pulled a handful of light brown, almost blonde, hair from behind my back. I began to wonder what color my eyes were, if my teeth were straight, what my ears looked like, if I had an interesting looking nose.
"Could I have a mirror please?" I asked the nurse who had been bustling around me, checking different stats.
"Why of course," she hurried off into the bathroom and retrieved a hand held mirror. "There you go dear. Is everything all right?"
I didn't answer her as I lifted the mirror to look at my face.
My nose was alright, although it looked as if it may have been broken at some point in my life. I wrinkled it to assess if the crooked feature was recently acquired. My ears stuck out just a little, covered mostly by my long, straight hair. My pink, somewhat pouty lips covered straight teeth, although a couple on the bottom were crooked. Like I had pulled them out when I was young. Then I looked straight into my eyes. My own eyes that were so strange to me.
Blue, wide, almond shaped eyes grew wider as they tried to take in as much detail as possible. Long eyelashes, brown eye brows, a scar above my right eye and one just a little below it. What happened to me?
"What happened?" I asked the nurse. "Why am I in a hospital?"
The nurse looked a little anxious.
"I should go get you doctor," she said before hurrying out into the hallway.
I sat there staring at the reflection of this strange woman. I wondered how old I was, mid-twenties perhaps. There was a knock at the door. I looked up to see an older gentleman in a white coat.
"Charlotte?" he said.
Charlotte was my name?
"Yes?" I answered, maybe he was toying with me. Seeing if I would answer to anything.
"I'm Doctor Weir," he said holding his hand out. I shook it. "Nurse Reed said you were having some trouble remembering what happened to you."
"Do you remember anything?" he asked, his eye brows coming together in concern. "Childhood memories?"
"No," I answered. Me admitting this almost made me cry.
"It's alright, this was always a possibility," he said placing a calming hand on my arm. "You've been in a induced coma for about four months. We've kept a close eye on you. You suffered a brain injury and we had to keep you in a coma to insure everything would heal properly. It has, aside from your memory. Do you know your name?"
"I'm going to go ahead and guess Charlotte," I said apprehensively.
"Yes, last name?" he asked.
I shook my head.
"Your name is Charlotte Cavanaugh," he said. "You were riding your bicycle through town when someone hit you with their car. Witnesses and the driver of the vehicle phoned the police and ambulance. You've been in here ever since. You are at a hospital in Denver. We had to do a few surgeries on your head and arm after the swelling went down. That explains the scars. I'm sorry to say no family members have come to visit or say that you belong with them."
I frowned. No memory, no family, not a great way to start out.
"Where am I from?" I asked. My accent was different from the doctor's. I was trying to remember where exactly Denver is.
"Well, I am not too sure of that either," the doctor frowned.
"We haven't had a lot of information on you, thankfully you had identification on you. There was a student I.D. from a school in New Mexico and a California driver's license. No one could tell us why you were visiting Denver."