As contrast returns, I can see the road below me, strangely quiet for the time of day – it should be rush hour. Unless Seb was running later than I thought, which knowing him, is entirely possible. I rest my arms on the railing, its chilled metal refreshing my aching muscles. Breathing slowly, I take in the scene before me, men in suits walk purposefully past a beggar sat in the shelter of a bank’s entrance. An important looking lady in heels evicts him after a short confrontation, the beggar moves along to the next doorway and settles his things again. This is how he spends his day, waiting for a penny or two but facing the anger of far more.
I hear the buzz of my phone on the floor. I walk as quickly as I can and scoop up the device. It’s Ed, I better answer it.
“Hi, how are you?” Ed’s distorted voice replies.
“I’m OK I think, sorry about yesterday.” I apologise quickly, not wanting him to think I’m enjoying the time off. I hear a short laugh on the other end of the line.
“You really shouldn’t blame yourself for that; you had no control over it.”
“I know, but I really wish I could come into work today…” I trail off, hearing his sigh.
“No. On no account are you working today,” he says with a stern voice, “you need to rest.”
“I’m fine! Honestly, why does everyone keep telling me I’m not?” My frustration starts to show, he must be able to hear that. Another sigh tells me he has.
“I can’t take any chances, I’d much rather you recover properly at the cost of a day or two than cause yourself any long-term issues. Don’t worry; I’ve managed to persuade someone else to go to the appointment in your place.”
“Can’t you postpone it?” I ask quickly, keen to express my enthusiasm, if he can’t rearrange this one, at least he’ll know to consider me in the future. I’m not sure how well this came across over the phone, his blunt reply suggests that it didn’t.
“No.” He doesn’t really sound apologetic at all, maybe he never really wanted me to do it, I guess he has no evidence that I’d even be remotely capable of what he wants. All I do is sit at my desk and watch as the numbers pass across the screen, I never have to talk to people or meet people or even smile. Thinking about it, I’m probably not high on his list, the other people he wanted mustn’t have been able to do it. But in that case, why was he so secretive about it? Other people would have found out by then anyway. Maybe it was all an act, trying to boost my morale by appearing to trust me. No, I’m overthinking this; he just said he can’t postpone it, which probably isn’t his fault anyway. I can’t start accusing him of lying or manipulating on the basis of a single word. I hear a faint discussion on the other end of the line, before Ed’s voice returns again, breaking the strange silence which had emerged.
“Sorry, Volani, I’m going to have to go now. Look after yourself and I’ll see you as soon as you’re well again.” He is more rushed now, evidently under time pressure, so I respond as quickly as I can.
“But I’m well now.” My childish tone embarrasses me slightly, but I really don’t want to have to sit here with nothing to do all day.
“No, you’re not. I’ll let Seb make a judgement for tomorrow, but I simply cannot allow you to come in today,” his firm voice makes another appearance as he asserts his authority. I don’t even attempt to hide my sigh as he continues, “I really have to go, I want you back here as much as you do, but I have to admit that it’s not in either of our best interests. I’ll hopefully see you tomorrow. Bye.” With that, he cuts off, not giving me time to object again.
I throw the phone across the room as I hear the short tones telling me he has hung up. I hear the screen crack as it hits the wardrobe and drops to the floor, which only adds to the frustration filling my head. Why now? Just when I’m given an opportunity to prove myself, I go and have some kind of hallucination which leaves me stuck at home, with nothing to do. If my doctor finds out about any of this, I’ll probably be stuck in a hospital for months, while they speculate and force me to have countless different scans ‘just in case’. The fact that I only remember the last year and ten months raises far too many questions and concerns about my brain, even when I went in with a sprained ankle I was convinced was broken, they kept me in for two days to check me over from every possible angle when I told them I couldn't remember where I was born or where I grew up.
It seems that I was keen for no one else to know who I am either, as no records have been found of me aside from a passport, which was issued fifteen years ago. I have no way of verifying it is in fact me, but it looks like me with my natural hair colour, so I assume it is. I built everything I know about myself on that passport: my age, my name, my nationality, everything. Of course, my personality built over time, but there are still a few gaps. I doubt it’s anything like it used to be, how could it be? Every word my mother and father spoke to me is gone. Every moment that hurt me, or built me up, or made me feel guilty is gone. Every turning point in my life, every bad decision I made is gone. All these things that make us who we are are gone. So in the space of a few months, I had to relearn how to speak, the difference between right and wrong, how to smile and laugh, how to cry, how to dance, how to love, how to count and how to live. Still, no one knows what happened or who I really am.