I try not to recall when I lost them. I try to forget that there was a time before…before now. Before my current existence. I know there was a time before this, I know that. I just prefer not to think about it. I’d rather stay as far away from it as I can actually; it brings up too many upsetting thoughts. Damn it, they’re here again. The faded snapshots of my wife’s smile. Her eyes shined in the light, inviting me to laugh and grin. Damn it, I swear this memory glowed at first. I thought about it all of the time. I wanted to fool myself into believing she was near me, touching me even. I wanted to trick myself into believing that she was sitting on the bed next to me holding my hand and whispering to me. And there’s another thought; her voice. It was so gentle, so calming and relaxing. She had this talent you know. She could always peel the stress right off me. Even after a long day at the site, she was able to pry the frustration and stress right out of my chest. She was a wonderful human being, thoroughly kind and loving. She cared about me. She genuinely cared about everyone.
I miss those days. I miss a time when I could hear her voice or see her smile. If I strain my mind, I can almost hear her voice. It sounds like a soft whisper, like she’s far away calling to me. But I know it’s not really her. Just like if I think back to a time before this situation, I can see her standing before me. But I know she isn’t really standing before me. She’s gone. She’s gone and I miss her dearly. God I miss her so!
I wish I could feel her skin brushing against mine once more. I miss that warmth. I miss it dearly! Even her touch, just her touch could make me relax. Without fail she could rip away the tension that lie coiled in my muscles. She tore it out of my body with a simply hug. I swear she is magic. Or should I say was? I probably won’t experience her touch or voice or smile again. I’ll never be able to participate in her life again. I won’t be able to be in her life again. I mean, I might be in her life right now, but I don’t know that. I’ll never know that.
I’d give anything to know if I’m with her right now. If only I could feel her hand grabbing my skin, reminding me that she loves me. If only I could have that one more time. But wishes of that magnitude are probably not worth casting anymore. I won’t be able to see or hear her again; I’m sure of it. And I’m sure that I won’t be able feel her again. I hate that thought. I hate it! I won’t ever be able to feel my wife’s warmth again. Ever again. Oh god, I won’t be able to smell her sweet perfume anymore. That dainty scent she’d always wear; it’s gone. All of the tiny pleasant things are gone! The little things, all of the little details that once added those tiny seemingly insignificant sparks to life are gone. They’ve all been slashed from my life. Forever.
Everything is gone from my life I suppose. Well, no, I take that back. My lovely wife is still in my life. My job, my house, my family; they all still exist too. They’re all still there, where ever they happen to be. I’m just gone. No, no no…that’s not it either. I’m unable to know if I’m there. I might be gone. I might be in the city hospital or some university laboratory. I have no way of knowing where I am nor will I be able to develop such a method. Perhaps one day I will be liberated by science or death, but I doubt that day will come soon.
Maybe that day already has come and I just forgot how to know where I am. Maybe I’m sitting at home with my wife right now. Maybe we are in front of the TV relaxing and I just don’t know that because I can’t feel anymore. I mean, I can’t use any of my senses, how am I to know where my body is? It could be the Fourth of July or I could be on a cruise or maybe this is I’m lying at the site, bleeding out slowly. Or maybe this is death! All I know is that I am alive and that I can think, because that is all I can do now. I am without my senses and I can only think.
Perhaps, you could say, I am locked inside a dull, darkened and odorless world. But then again, the world actually isn’t black, odorless or any of that. It’s vibrant, beautiful and full of smells. And the world that I’m aware of is dull, odorless, tasteless and dark. There is no trickle of vibrant hues filtering into my mind anymore. There is no beautiful smells or wonderful tastes to enjoy. I cannot see, hear or feel my wife. I cannot communicate with her at all. I cannot communicate with anyone. All I am able to do is think. Sure, my heart is beating, my lungs are inflating and my digestive system is working; but those processes are occurring automatically because someone has hooked me up to a machine! My body is operating and functioning because a machine is assisting it, feeding it and cleaning up its waste. I am only able to think.
At least, I think my heart is beating and my lungs are inflating and my digestive system is working. I think. I think someone has me hooked up to a machine that feeds me and takes care of my waste. I might actually be dead. This could be what death is like: this dark and formless existence. I can’t feel or see or smell or anything! I don’t even know where I am. I might as well be dead.
But I could be alive? Could I be? I think I am alive but the only evidence I have to support that claim is my ability to think. Do I have enough evidence to support my claim? Is the act of thinking enough to count as living? I don’t have any other ways of validating my status. So, I am alive because I think I am alive. I must be alive. I can’t be dead. I don’t remember dying, nor do I remember being in pain before the accident. I remember being at work, doing my job, then being in this dark and formless world. I just remember being here…wherever here is. Oh what a marvelous predicament this is.
I try not to recall when I lost them. I try to forget that there was a time before my current existence. I try to pretend that I’ve always been like this. I try to pretend that I’ve always been lacking the sense of smell, taste and touch. Damn it, there they are again. The many memories of the time I was incarcerated in my mind. I was stranded in this wicked and vast sea of thoughts. These unending thoughts became my body. Thinking became my only activity. My thoughts were all I was. That vacant, odorless, tasteless and temperature-less void consumed my body and trapped me underneath layers of doubt, frustration and loneliness. Unending loneliness. I was by myself in a timeless wasteland that took no form and resembled no structure.
At least, I perceived everything as a malicious dark void that kept me locked inside my mind. In reality I was lying in a hospital bed, constantly surrounded by my closest friends and family members. My wife never left my side and she always held my hand. My body was never alone or lost or adrift in some bizarre formless place. It was always right there in that bed. My mind however, was lost and alone. Perhaps lost isn’t the proper word. It was always connected to my body in that special way that these things are linked. My mind was simply hovering about and standing by. It was crunching old data and trying to make sense of the perfectly horrific predicament I was in.
Or, am I still there, somewhere between being absent and lost for good? Am I still absorbed in my thoughts and memories? Could all of this beauty around me just be my mind trying to apply some new paint to reality; to my dark and vacant reality? Perhaps, I have become so engaged by the desire to see my wife sitting by my side that I crafted the memory of her doing so. Maybe I so badly wanted to hear her voice that I just added an audio track to my newly constructed world. And maybe I wanted to feel her warmth again so badly that I sketched out this new world. Is it possible that I forged this new reality? Could all of this raw elegance just be an immaculate dream thought up someone without any senses? Of course it could be. Why couldn’t I fool myself into believing I’m seeing a patchwork of colors decorate the landscape? Why couldn’t my mind fool me into believing that it can hear the woman I love? I am sure I could fabricate this world around…but I want to believe it is real.
But I can see my hands right now and hear my wife talking to me about her day at work. I cannot feel nor can I smell or taste. But there isn’t a medical treatment capable of restoring those senses; especially after an accident like mine. I remember the surgeries for my cochlear implants. I remember being awake and seeing my wife for the first time. These new eyes were miracle procedures; the first of their kind! The medical professionals restored two of my lost senses and helped me discover the joy of seeing my wife’s smile again. They are the ones who gave me this new world. They’re the artists that drenched my world with color and sound, I am sure of it.
My imagination could not have produced such a perfect reconstruction of my life. There is no way that my mind built this world and colored it so brilliantly. The pretty array of hues, the warmth they offer and the laughter all stain the photographs in my mind again. Perhaps this new problem isn’t horrific. I can see and hear now. I can spend time with my wife. I can hear her sweet voice and see her delicate face. I know she’s really there, even if I can’t feel her. I hear her voice when she is talking and I can see her stand before me. I don’t need further proof of her existence or mine. This new world is a rather marvelous predicament.