Even though the doctor said it would be a week, it was a month and a half. A month and a half of worrying. Of crying. Of fear. Then one day my mom walked into my homework session, since school had started again, and asked me if I wanted to go see him.
"He's in a regular hospital room, and he's out of his coma," she said. "The first visitaitian time is in ten minutes. Let's go."
We meet Bruce's parents there. His tall, skinny mother gives me a hug. She just loves me. I don't know why--there's not much to like, but Bruce seems to see it, and his mom does, and I love them for it. In fact, I'm not sure how Bruce and I even got together--I'm not even pretty. But he is that one boy everyone just swoons over, and I'm that one girl you don't know exists until she clumsily topples into you.
My thoughts are interrupted when the doctor says we can go in. Bruce is standing there, looking just fine, as if the accident never happened, and his doctor's office gown-thing is being worn for style. His mom hugs him around the neck, probably because the poor kid just broke his ribs, then he smiles. He gives a hug to his dad, his little sister, Abby, then to Abby's twin brother, Aaron. Then he stumbles quickly to me and kisses me right on the cheek.
"Oh, Bruce, I'm so glad you're okay!" I exclaim. "I've missed you!"
"I missed you too, Jean!" He hugs me tightly.
"Jean?" I look at him with a raised eyebrow. "Hailey."
"Who?"The puzzled look on his face starts to twist my insides. What's going on?
"Honey, come here," says my mother, pulling me aside to the corner where a doctor waits. "Apparently, a bit of head damage has occurred, and..."
"He thinks I'm his cousin?" I've met Jean. She does have the same hair color and style as I do. The damage just confused him a bit. The kiss on the cheek was probably the pain killer or something. "She does look like me. We'll just explain to the poor kid who I am."
"Well, sweetheart, it's not that easy." My mother's face is serious. It scares me. "He's going through amnesia. He actually doesn't know who you are...at all. You are a complete stranger to him."
"No--" I gasp. Tears are already starting to drip down my cheek. "No, that can't happen. No, no no!" I start to shake, like I do when I'm going to throw up. I rush to the garbage can and hurl up the remains of my mangy school lunch. And my breakfast. Then part of dinner last night. Then I wipe the puke from my mouth and go up to Bruce.
"Hey, Bruce? I'm not your cousin, but she does look like me," I say. "I'm your girlfriend."
"I have a girlfriend?" He smiles. "Sweet!" I laugh. "How long have I know you?"
"Let's see...you're sixteen so..." I do the math. "12 years, since preschool." It hurts to think of all those great times, best friends, then more than that, all gone. Like they never happened, like we never happened. I feel more last night's dinner.
"Wow. That pretty long. I'm proud of myself." Bruce gives me his white toothy smile that starts to screw me heart out of my chest. He's got a great smile. "I wish I remembered you, Hailey." The screw twists more. "I'm sorry." The screwdriver is done with its job. One more thing and my heart is ripped from my chest. "You're pretty, though. Very pretty." My poor heart is being thrown on the ground and getting river-danced on by someone in cleats. Then Bruce hugs me, and everybody around thinks its the cutest thing they ever saw, like we're puppies who hugging because we got a lollipop or something. They "aww" like we're in kindergarten again. Blech. Embarrassing? Like I care. Then he kisses me on th check again, mumbling something about "on a roll" or something.