I felt like I was floating. It was dark. I felt like I was floating upward out of a void in total black. Slowly the void began to lighten, tinges of pink and red started to take over the complete darkness. My eyes were closed. As I came aware of my body once again I felt soreness all over, my right arm throbbed, and my head was beginning to pound. I was laying down in a bed, the smell of antiseptic filled my nose. The bed felt unfamiliar, hard, not at all like my normally fluffy bed. It sounded like I was laying on paper or plastic under the cloth sheets as I tried to shift to a more comfortable position. I groaned in pain after the shift. I heard what sounded like a shocked sob and I blinked my eyes open. Faces stared down at me. My mom stood to my right, my Dad to my left with a woman I didn’t recognize clutching his arm, my sister stood beside my mom with her hand over her mouth nearly in tears. They all looked so different, older. There were two women who looked excited and happy despite tears streaming down their faces standing at the foot of my bed, neither of which I recognized. One was a tall, beautiful, skinny blonde woman in her thirties wearing a fitted pale blue suit like she just came out of a Law and Order episode, and the other was a shorter brunette with thick rimmed glasses and an overly large green sweater wrapped around her. The blonde seeing my eyes open, suddenly rushed out of the room, touching my mother’s shoulder and whispering something into her ear before disappearing out of my sight. I blinked a few more times to unblur my eyes and looked around the room at the people standing around me. I tried to move my neck but it was held in place by something. I tried to lift my arms to my neck, but my mom grabbed my hand tightly.
“Don’t move” my mom said quickly as she reached out to gingerly touch my shoulder.
I licked my dry lips and tried to ask the question where am I? But all that came out was a croaked, “Where?”
They all looked at each other and in the end my mother took a deep breath and said, “Honey, you were in an accident. You’re in the hospital, you’ve been in a coma for over a week. Your doctors…” she had a sob get caught in her throat before continuing. “Your doctors weren’t sure you would wake up. We’re all so happy you woke up, you don’t even know how close it was.”
The blonde burst back into the room with a doctor and nurses trailing behind. The Doctor pushed through the crowd and pulled out a light from her pocket and started shining it in my eyes.
“Sarah, glad to see you’re awake, how are you feeling?” The Doctor said as she poked and prodded me to see my neurological reactions.
I tried to open my mouth but everything was so dry. I managed to get out a “Water?” The Doctor smiled and nodded to a nurse who disappeared for what seemed to be two seconds and reappeared with a cup and she popped an ice chip in my mouth. I sighed in bliss as my mouth rehydrated almost instantaneously. Once the ice finished melting in my mouth I tested my mouth with my tongue before trying to speak again.
Everyone looked like they’ve never been happier to hear someone speak as when I said those two words.
“That’s to be expected, Sarah, the fact you woke up is a great sign, but it’s only the beginning of a long road ahead. I just have a few questions for you then I’ll leave you with your family for a bit. What is your full name?”
“Sarah Eva Sinclair”
“Good, when’s your birthday?”
“May 18th, 1982”
“Great, and who is the President?”
“Bush.” Everyone gave a gasp. I looked around at suddenly worried faces. The Doctor had a flash of concern over her face then smiled again.
“What year is it?”
I looked around at the suddenly very concerned faces of mostly strangers.
My parents both looked they were about to burst out in tears, and the blonde women at the foot of my bed did.
“Is that not right? How far off am I?” I asked trying to look at the faces of these people closer and started to realize how different the familiar faces looked, I noticed they looked older when I first woke up, but now I was seeing how much older they looked. My parents definitely didn’t have that much grey in their hair last time I saw them, only a couple weeks ago. And my sister who I thought was just wearing a bunch of makeup was definitely no longer looking like a freshman in college.
That’s when my Dad spoke for the first time since I opened my eyes. “Sweetheart, it’s 2016.”