Cold...I'm so cold...

My body shuddered as light filtered through my closed eyes. I was freezing, lying on my back. I wondered why I wasn't snuggled under warm blankets. I felt air on my nose and mouth, cool and moist, and a weight pressed lightly against the lower half of my face.

"Please, help me. I'm so cold," I mumbled, trying to open my eyes. My eyelids felt heavy, and just cracking them open felt like a monumental effort. I saw the shape of a person to my right, blurry and dark.

"Here you go." I felt a warm, scratchy weight laid across my body. My shivering slowed as the blankets warmed me. "Is that better?" The voice was female, with a trace of a southern accent.

"Yes, thank you," I murmured. My throat felt sore and dry. I blinked, squeezing my eyelids as hard as I could a few times, and the room came into focus around me. The light was low, but I could make out that the walls were painted a pale aqua. The woman next to me was dressed in hot pink scrubs, her highlighted hair pulled back in a functional ponytail.

"How are you feeling, hon?" she asked. I guessed she must be a nurse, based on her outfit.

I thought about her question. How did I feel? My head was throbbing above my left temple, and my abdomen ached. I felt sore all over, like I'd been ten rounds and come out the loser...

Ten rounds? What does that mean?

I tried to answer, but the oxygen mask muffled my words. I lifted my hand to take it off, but my arms felt leaden, so the nurse reached over and removed the mask instead.

"I ache. My head hurts. What happened? Where am I?" I asked, sounding plaintive.

"You're in ICU, hon. Do you remember why you're here?"

Why am I here?

My mind strained to recall, but everything was dark. There was no picture in my head to tell me what happened.

"No," I whispered. There was nothing. I felt tears prick my eyes. How could there be nothing?

A look of concern crossed the nurse's face. "Let me go get your doctor." She scurried out of the room.

I lie in the bed, trying to fight back waves of panic. I tried with every fiber of my being to recall something, anything...

I couldn't even remember my name.

The door to the room burst open, overpowering the soft beeping sounds of the machinery in the room, and a man entered, followed closely by another man in a white lab coat and the nurse. I raised my head up to try and get a better look, and black spots swam in front of my eyes, making me dizzy.

"Oh, God, baby, you're awake!" the first man exclaimed. He was tall and handsome, with dark hair and dark blue eyes. He crouched beside my bed and gently took my hand in his. "I have been so worried about you." He kissed the palm of my hand, and I fought my impulse to pull away. Something must have showed on my face, because a look of incredible hurt filled his eyes.

I looked pleadingly at the man in the lab coat, who I took to be the doctor. "What's going on? Why am I here?"

"Do you remember the car accident?"

"Car accident?" I repeated stupidly. "No. Is that why I hurt?"

The doctor ignored my question. "Tell me what you do remember." he asked, his voice gentle.

The tears sprang again to my eyes. This time, they trickled slowly in warm rivulets down my cheeks. "I don't remember anything," I said, a sob catching in my throat.

The man holding my hand bowed his head. "Oh, God," he breathed. "This is not happening." His shoulders began to shake as he cried, head in his hands.

"Can you tell me your name?"

"No." I wanted to sob in frustration, but it hurt too much, so I let the tears run down my face silently.

"Your name is Amanda Peterson. You were involved in a car accident and hit your head on the windshield. For some reason your airbag didn't deploy. The head trauma is the cause of your amnesia."


"Will I ever remember?"

"It's too early to tell. Some patients regain full recall, others get bits and pieces, and some never regain their memories." He paused, as if struggling to think of what to say next. "At this point, it's impossible to say what will happen." He looked uncomfortable, as did the nurse next to him. "Mr. Peterson, we'll give you some time alone with your wife." They left, closing the door gently behind them.

So, the man beside me was my husband. I now noticed the plain white gold band on his left hand. He raised his head to look at me. His face was red and swollen from crying.

"Mandy, I'm so glad you're awake, but..." he broke off and looked away.

"But what?" I asked, feeling frustrated. I hated not remembering what happened. The loss of control, the feeling of helplessness...I just wanted it to stop. My head ached.

"I'm so sorry," he sobbed, laying his head on the edge of the bed. Instinctively, I smoothed his dark hair. It was coarse curls under my fingers. "I tried to get the doctor to tell you. I didn't want to be the one."

"The one to tell me what?"

"We lost the baby."