Certain things happen that propel us into a standpoint that we never for once imagined we were going to reach. How ironic that the things I had never thought of made their way to me, leaving me overwhelmed and lost. That day was supposed to be one of the happiest days of my life. It was our second year together as man and wife and with our second kid along the way, we were going to celebrate the smiles life offered us.
Nature had looked more beautiful than ever as I set off to work that morning. The sun was in a delightful mood and it showed in it’s reflection on mother earth. The garden where I had planned to set up our date seemed to be aware of the moment; the flowers looking like they had sprung up overnight and the green leaves glistening under the moonlight.
My colleague and best friend, Danny, was not oblivious to my elated mood. He understood what that day meant to me and showed his excitement. We bumped fists at the company’s lobby and even him seemed to have been blessed by nature that morning. He looked radiant, on a properly pressed collared shirt tucked into smart looking pants, a watch he had never for once failed to tell me how expensive he had purchased it and well polished shoes that shone under the light. It became infectious as we walked side by side down the hallway into the office we both shared. Although, he attributed it to the new girl he had met the previous day who agreed to hang out that evening, I knew deep down that it was all nature’s doing as she celebrated with me.
My work was not unaffected too as I took every obnoxious comment my superior had given with smiles. Nothing could have been able to disrupt my mood that day.
I bade Danny goodbye as I turned out of the driveway. I had wanted to reach home before her so I could plan the surprise. Even my car got infected by my happiness as it fled on the road on its own accord. My poor car was super excited that I couldn’t swerve it off the road fast enough when I saw the oncoming truck running at full speed. By the time it decided to respond, it was too late. Shreds of glass, a disfigured car and a man gasping for breath was all that was left that day.
04/06/1999 – 9:00am
I could hear the doctor saying I was already giving signs of waking up and that I had moved my fingers the previous day. My eyes felt too heavy and I was blind to the rest of the world. I heard my wife sigh beside me and longed to take her into my arms. What day was it and how long had I been in here? It was my fault that day was ruined. I should have contained my joy. I felt myself slip away gradually until I could hear no one anymore.
I made my way to the house, wondering why she didn’t wait to bring me back upon discharge. Approaching the doorstep, I registered the aroma of something cooking and my stomach growled in response. The door was shut and there was a strange car in the driveway. Had she gotten a new car in my absence? I had planned on surprising her that day with a new one. She had always complained of the problems her old car gave her. I felt that guilt coming back again.
The door flung open and my wife walked out, looking beautiful as ever with a half smile on her face.
“Hi! Good afternoon sir.” She greeted.
That was strange. My wife had never greeted me in that manner, especially not while I haven’t been at home for a while. She looked confused and gave me a look I couldn’t place. Desiring to straighten out the crease in her forehead, I spread my arms wide open and moved to take her into them. Unexpectedly, she held me back with an outstretched arm, a frown replacing that half smile.
“Who do you ask for, mister? I advise you state your mission before I call the cops on you. You can’t just walk into a random house and take strangers into your arms.” She was furious.
I was too stunned to utter a word. A man that was obviously not me walked out shirtless with my kid on his hips, asking her what the problem was. He looked at her like she was his world and I felt my heart break into several pieces. Who the hell was he? My kid didn’t seem to recognize me either as he didn’t open his arms for me to take him; he always did that each time I got back from work. The man came closer to me.
“What the hell are you doing in my home with my wife and kid?” I was livid and prepared to hit him on the head.
“I think you should leave my vicinity while I’m still asking politely. My wife and I have been living here for 2 years now and not once have we encountered anyone with claims like yours. And please, get a life or go see a doctor.”
He led them back in, shutting the door in my face. I felt ruined and battered trying to take it all in and failing badly. She seemed to not know who I was. How was that even possible? I dejectedly made my way to my place of work, deciding to crash at Danny’s for a while until I understood what was going on.
As I walked through the parking lot, I noticed my name was no longer hanging above the parking space allotted to me. Instead, there was a boldly spelt out Bradford. There wasn’t a Mr. Bradford the last time I checked. Had they gotten me replaced? I walked in with apprehension, going into the office I wasn’t sure was mine anymore. My best friend was with a man, who I would have assumed was a client if he had not been so comfortably seated on my seat.
Danny looked surprised to see me and that was expected. I wasn’t sure he knew I had been discharged. I held out a fist to Danny in our signature greeting but he stared at me with the same expression I had seen on my wife’s face.
“I’m sorry, but I do fists only with close pals.” I retracted my hands slowly and dejectedly.
“Did I fix an appointment with you because I don’t recall having to see anyone at this time, Mr……” He looked at me as if trying to solve a puzzle.
“We are best friends!” I yelled out, my brain coming up with nothing else.
He laughed slowly and called me a mentally ill person, stating that we had never met before. I felt cold instantly like someone had poured a glass of chilled water on me. I stood frozen to the spot as the security that had frequently accompanied me on official trips tried to kick me out. With a blank head and mouth agape, I made my way to the scene of the accident. There was no sign of a towed car nor the dent it had made on the side railings. It was as if I had been blotted from existence. I felt dead inside, my brain refusing to function anymore.
“Honey!” I heard my wife’s voice call out to me.
I opened my eyes, taking in the bright lights and the seat beside me, occupied by my wife. I sat up, trying to calm myself down. She made it easier with her smile, one that would kill me if I ever had to live without.
“You have been discharged. Let’s go home. Your baby misses you.”