My parents finally left Jamesport. They were both retired so it’s not like they missed a ton of work while I went through physical therapy at the hospital. However, even though I had been released from the hospital for a month, they still stuck around. My mother had used my bedroom while I was in the hospital and my father and his new wife, Charlotte, stayed at a hotel. When I came home, my mother moved to the couch in my apartment that I shared with two roommates, Claire and Eloise, and my dad and Charlotte came every weekend.
Apparently I really liked Charlotte, or so my mother told me. I just have no memory of it so it took a bit to let my guard around her.
When it came to divorces according to all involved it was very mutual and without much drama. My mom was still single, but she was a big online dater. Who knew that was actually a thing?
It took a while to convince them to leave. I get they were concerned for my health and well being, but their hovering and jumping at everything I did with the hope I remembered something, was not helping.
Despite pretty much being brain dead, I made a full recovery physically. While I appeared to be fully functional I had not gotten the past ten years of my life back. Occasionally something would seem familiar but it felt more like a dream after you wake where the memory is just out of reach. At this point, I just had come to terms it wasn’t going to happen. My curse would be that I would have this gut reaction to people, places, and objects that I had no actual recollection of.
I know they meant welI, but I finally just had to tell my parents, “I love you, but go home.” It was actually Charlotte, who convinced them to give me space. She made it clear that them sitting around waiting for a change that may or may not happen wasn’t good for anyone, especially me.
My apartment door shut with a solid thud.
I let out the breath I didn’t realize I was holding as I pressed my back against the apartment door. Eloise chuckled from the couch where she was immersed in killing zombies in her game. Claire was wrapped in a hand-knit blanket clutching a steaming cup of coffee and a reading device. Kindle, she called it.
I was still trying to wrap my mind around how many things had changed.
Just a few months ago I was super excited to get a pink Motorola Razr. Now anything that is a flip phone is considered a relic. And now there are things that do it all, you have an iPod, Phone, book, computer, and so much more in one device. It seemed just like yesterday to me that I signed up for a facebook account, and now apparently I’m a social media manager at a company with one of my roommates. Who knew that was an actual career? And apparently it paid really well too. Of course not enough to live in Jamesport by myself, but in comparison to most jobs it paid a lot.
Eloise promised to give me a crash course in all the social media platforms when I was ready, however I wasn’t sure I’d ever actually be ready. There’s apparently more than two. I only know my username and passwords for myspace and facebook. Hopefully I didn’t change those at any point. And I’m supposed to be some sort of guru when it comes to the social media universe.
I’m so screwed. I didn’t really expect to have to restart my life at 24. Scratch that, 34.
“So they’ve finally gone?” Claire asked.
“Yes, they are definitely gone, for now…” I replied.
“Oh good, so I can pull your porn box out of hiding?” Eloise asked without looking up from her game.
My eyes grew wide in horror. Claire smacked Eloise.
“Don’t be a jerk, Eloise,” Claire said with her southern drawl.
Eloise laughed and paused her game before looking up.
“Dude, I’m kidding. I only hid your sex toys.” Eloise smiled innocently. Claire smacked her again.
“Seriously, Sarah, don’t trust anything this ONE tells you. She’s just messing with you. I think…”
“I can’t really complain about your parents being around at least. Your mom cleaned this place top to bottom. I didn’t even know the floor could be that color!” Eloise said with a big smile.
I chuckled. It was hard not to. I already was getting used to the two women I lived with. I never thought at my ripe age of 34 I’d be living in a small apartment with two other women. I pictured myself being married with two to three kids, a few dogs, a house, and you get the idea, “The Dream”.
At least I had a successful career. I shouldn’t be too down on myself about where I was at this point in my life. It could definitely be worse. I could have a great career that I have no idea how to do…
Eloise said our job is pretty cool and totally understood that I lost 10 years of my life and they aren’t going to fire me for essentially not knowing how to do my job. There are good companies out there, afterall. It’s already terrifying enough wondering how I’m going to go about my daily life not knowing basic shit everyone else knows about, or wondering if I’ve already made an ass of myself to any of the cute guys that I see in my neighborhood or office. Though that could also be a good thing, I could really play up the amnesia card.
The thing I wanted to do most but also dreaded was read my journals. I couldn’t do that with my mother constantly hanging about. Knowing me I probably wrote incredibly embarrassing or private things in my journals and didn’t want to open one at random and have either my mom or dad read a raunchy sex story over my shoulder. My roommates checked in on every once in awhile seeing if I needed anything, I think they were also trying to see if I needed to be rescued.
So far, I can see why I have Claire and Eloise as my roommates and friends. They both are in their 30s, like me apparently, I still can’t wrap my head around the fact I’m 34 freaking years old. They seemed pretty opposite in appearance and personalities. While Claire was blonde and demure, Eloise was dark and loud.
We apparently bonded over our mutual hate of spin classes after we all took our first class at the same time and immediately went and had a fattening brunch drinking Bloody Marys for hours to get the spin class out of our system. I could definitely see that happening, probably more than once.
I instantly felt a connection to both women, but honestly I wasn’t sure I could sit down and talk to either just yet. I knew my stash of journals would be in my room somewhere and I really wanted to tackle those first. The journals couldn’t lie to me at least.
“We should get out of the house.” Claire said putting down her Kindle.
“It’s a bit early to drink, don’t you think?” I asked.
“We can just call it brunch, then it’s never too early for booze!” Eloise cheerily said.
Brunch apparently was a common theme for us. Claire rolled her eyes, which she seemed to do a lot with most things Eloise said.
“No, I was thinking more just going to get a coffee. We can go to the place that Sarah found for us. Maybe that will trigger memories? And if not we get great coffee.”
“Yeah, I can get on board with that.” Eloise replied.
I wasn’t sure what to wear, so I put on some nice pants and a shirt thinking it’d be a hip coffee shop or brunch spot, but I felt completely overdressed for the dive when we arrived. Eloise looked right at home, but I had a hard time picturing Claire as a regular at this establishment. I was shocked that I had been a habitual patron.
The woman behind the counter smiled at me fondly and familiarly.
“Good to see you on your feet, Sarah.” The woman said with a slight middle eastern accent while handing the three of us drinks without even asking for our order.
“Thanks?” I said cautiously in return. I tentatively took a sip of my drink and it was the most perfect pumpkin spiced chai latte I’d had in my life, well what I remembered anyway. My caution dropped as I looked up excitedly at the woman and said a second enthusiastic, “Thanks!”
The woman chuckled and went to her next customer as the cashier rang us out.
“You wouldn’t know it looking at it,” Claire said, “but this is by the far the best place in the city for coffee and tea. You found it a few years ago and we’ve been coming here ever since.”
“I can see why. She just seems to know everyone’s order. Is everyone here regulars?”
“It’s weird, she just, like, knows your favorite drink or what exactly you need the moment you walk in. No one ever has to actually order. Or there are some that try to order something and she ignores them and makes what she knows they will enjoy. I don’t even think there’s a menu.” she said gesturing around the menu-less establishment.
Eloise added conspiratorially, “It’s like she’s psychic or something.”
“Or, she’s just good at her job,” Claire said sighing at Eloise.
We all sat in a booth to savor our perfect cups.
My eyes wandered around the shop, occasionally settling on the face of a customer hoping to recognize something or someone. Most people who came in grabbed their drink and left right away. There seemed to be a wide variety of people coming in and out. With the volume of customers, one would think the owner would class up the place.
My eyes finally landed on a man who just entered the cafe as the bell rang.
I couldn’t say I’d ever seen him before, but my gut said I knew him. He locked eyes and had a startled reaction before quickly turning away. He was a good looking Indian man, with a bit of scruff and circles under his eyes. It looked like he had been up all night and he had an even longer day ahead of him.
“The male nurse…” I murmured to myself as my eyes lingered on him.
“Do I know him?” I asked my roommates. They turned in unison to look at the man, both staring at him with confused stares.Their faces appeared as they were having an inner struggle much harder than my simple question required. He rushed to the counter and the barista raised an eyebrow at the man’s shady behavior but didn’t say anything as she handed him his drink.
After he paid, he left without a second glance.
“Yes?” they said in unison with a hesitant question lingering in the air.