“Memories; the brain’s diary entries of your life. Now, imagine those pages being ripped out and tossed into the wind…you get the picture? Well, that’s the story of my life.” Adunni. O.
A month has passed since I woke up in St. Nicholas hospital, Lagos. Yet, I’m not entirely sure who I am. All I have is my name, Adunni Okikiola, a cellphone, random flashes of memories about unfamiliar faces and a diamond-studded silver bracelet with the initials F.A that for some reason, reassured me.
And I needed all the reassurance I could get because today was the day I’d been dreading ever since I regained consciousness a month ago and the doctor diagnosed me with Retrograde Amnesia.
Footsteps approached the hospital room and I shut my eyes pretending to be asleep. This was quickly becoming a routine of sorts.
“It’s a pity really. No one has come to claim her since the accident.” One nurse whispered quietly as she walked in.
There was a pause until they noticed my seemingly unaware state.
“We’ve done all we can, the doctor says we have to let her go today. She’s well enough.” Said the second. “I’ll be back to wake her up later, she needs to be ready.”
When they left, my panic didn’t ease. What would I do? Where would I go? And most importantly, what happened within those months prior to my memory loss?
I’d been told when I regained consciousness, that I was brought in by a woman who’d found me bleeding out on the roadside. Apparently, it was a hit-and-run accident. The driver had hightailed it out of there before my body even hit the ground.
Later that evening, I stood at the hospital doors, ready to leave. A kind elderly nurse had slipped me some money earlier and told me to take care of myself. I could see the pity in her eyes as she watched me.
My phone was tucked into my pocket, though the few contacts I had tried to call only confused me even more. The numbers I thought belonged to family, were constantly unreachable. Those I thought were friends, I couldn’t remember who they were. One person had actually accused me of being a fraudster playing horrible jokes with the dead.
I stopped a bike and told him where I was headed. One of the nurses had suggested a place in Victoria Island where I could work to earn accommodation and a little income.
A little way ahead, the Okada driver suddenly took another route that plunged us deep into a bushy, secluded area.
“Bros…this is not where I-“
“Shut up and get down.” He hissed when we were out of sight from the main road.
Legs trembling, I did as he told me. I hadn’t even gotten my bearings before I was roughly ransacked and beaten. He sped off, taking what little of my belongings I had, with him. My money and cellphone were gone.
Eyes shut, I wept in shock at what just happened. My head hurt and my face stung from his blows. Desperately, I searched the space between my skin and the waistband of my jeans. When my fingers brushed the hidden bracelet I sighed in relief. The thief hadn’t found it, thank God!
Sunlight was fading away quickly and I knew I had to get going. The bushes will be even more dangerous when night falls and the area was unfamiliar to me.
Staggering to my feet, I dusted my clothes off and limped towards the busy main road to trek towards the direction we’d been going in. I had no idea how I was going to make it to the place described in the part of town known as Victoria Island with only the clothes on my back and no money. Going back to the hospital was out of the question.
Each time a vehicle zoomed past, my heart gave a nervous jump. I may not remember much before waking up in the hospital, but I could clearly remember the excruciating pain I’d felt.
Even worse were the flashbacks. Occasionally, something would trigger a memory. It could be an object, even a sound or just words and it would be so vivid, it felt like I was relieving a past event all over again. I’d thrashed about in the hospital bed many nights as the scene of broken bones and the sounds of screeching tyres replayed in my head.
Feeling oddly numb one night after a flashback, I’d picked up an old scrap of paper and a pencil lying on the bedside table. As if they had a mind of their own, my hands began to sketch the scene from my head.
One of the nurses had noticed this habit and provided me with a plain little notebook and pencil so I could record my memories when they came.
The book was currently tucked under my shirt, well hidden along with the bracelet. I knew that if either of those two items went missing, I would lose myself all over again.
My gait was starting to slow, my feet felt clumsy and my eyes began to droop. A pounding headache took over the left side of my forehead. I felt dehydrated and tired at the same time. The scorching sun wasn’t helping matters either.
I could barely register the voice calling out in the background.
“…stay awake… water!”
The wet drops on my face drove away some of the dizziness as my eyes came back into focus.
A man was kneeling above me, my face was held between his palms as he studied me.
“It’s okay, she’s awake.” He said to someone beside him.
The small crowd that had gathered began to thin out. I watched slightly embarrassed that I once again managed to land myself in yet another roadside situation.
“What’s your name?” The man asked. He looked to be a number of years older than me, in his 40’s at least.
I told him my name and where I was headed as he walked towards his car.
“Get in. I might not be able to go to VI tonight but I know where you can stay.”
He noticed my hesitation and turned to face me. His eyebrows furrowed as he drew one hand over his beard.
“Look, I’m not going to harm you, now come on. Or would you rather stay out here?” He gestured around the broad road filled with activity.
Taking a deep breath and hoping that I wasn’t making a big mistake, I followed him to his car.
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