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sexta-feira, 1 de julho de 2011

Chance of an Amnesia


It was very strong. So much that I was unconscious for 2 days. When I woke up I could not remember who I was.

Amnesia.

Like in cartoons, but real.

I stood at the hospital for a few days and when I was finally well enough to go, I had to go with an old man and an old woman which doctors said were my parents. I had my apartment on the other side of the city, where I used to live by myself, but It was not very safe to leave me there by my own yet. So, my parents took me to their home, the same that one day was also my home, even if I could not remember.

In the car, on the way, I looked in silence to the city and I could remember that streets, but I could not answer to myself what was my name. I knew what was a name, I knew people had names, but I could not tell what was mine. I didn’t knew my age, didn’t knew where I was born, I could not remember something or someone which were part of my story. And, what was my story?

They told me the life I had before the accident was full of conquers, people and things, just like I knew the life of a person had to be. I was 27 and had a job that when they told me which job it was, I didn’t believed. But then, the same way it happens when we realize we are breathing all the time without thinking about it, when I though about my job, I could see right there inside my head that I knew what I had to know to do that job.

They told me I could play the piano and, as soon as I could, I sat in front of it just to see what would happen. I knew what was a piano, the object, but I could not see a story between that object and me. I moved the keys up and down and, when I was already starting to give up, my hands started to play, creating sound, moving my fingers in a way I could not imagine I could do. I knew how to play and now I knew I could play, but I had no memory about how or where I had learned it.

In my life of before, there was also a woman. She came everyday to my parents house just to see me. Her eyes looked at me concerned and from to time to time I could see in that eyes that she liked me differently than the other people. They said she was not only my girlfriend, but my fiancee and we had plans to get married at the end of that year, if the accident never happened.

I could not remember any of this.

I could not remember her.

I could see she being sad because of it, but I also could see how happy she would look because of how interested in her I was, or the way she could capture my attention, the way I looked to her, the same way I used to look in the past, as if we had traveled back in time, back to our first days. Talking to her was different from talking to other people.

These stories about who I was, about my important job, the pretty woman I had and how much I liked all that, little by little, made me feel less lost and, in a strange way, even happy and proud about the person I used to be.

The doctor said that my interest in these stories was good, that I should talk more with people I used to know, visit known places and as soon as possible, try to live the same life I used to live before the accident. Before long my memory would be back and everything would make sense, I would not even feel, it would be no more just a story of someone that despite the fact everybody saying it was me, to me, he was not. The things I remembered of my work and also about the piano were good signs. I had no reasons to worry.

At that first two weeks I stood at the house of my parents, I met again a lot of people. Cousins, friends, uncles, aunties and even my three brothers. I could hear, talk, walk through the house, open the fridge and even if I had no memory about living there, I was always feeling familiarity with everything. In fact, some little things, I don’t know how, I just knew, like the right way to pull the drawer of the flatware, so it would not be jammed, or the password from my computer.

My mom was upset that I could remember about a drawer or the password of a computer, but I could not remember her. My father, on the other hand, didn’t care much about me not remembering him, but all the time he was telling me about how the things I have done and conquered in my life of before were important, “of great value”, and how fundamental it was not to lose myself out of that path. He was the main responsible to make me go back to work, to live in my apartment and to have back the routine I used to have before the accident.

The doctor said that if I was feeling good enough, it was a good thing to go back to work and to stay by myself, but I had to visit my parents every week and if I had any problem I had to call him.

And than we did it.

At work, since I could remember everything I needed to know, I just had to learn once again the names of everyone. And it was not so hard, I felt like I already knew that names, even though I could not recognize anyone. They were always saying I was the same person and, with a certain frequency, I would say or do something which was the same thing that I said or did, in my other life, when I had faced same situations.

I was good at my job. I could get along with everyone. But days were coming and going and I could not remember a thing.

That woman, so beautiful and interesting, with time, was also recognizing me. She used to say that if the doctor didn’t had all that radiographies proving that my brain was still healing, it was very possible that I had already remembered everything and I was just pretending. I could not remember the things I had lived with her, but I could accept they had happen. Inside me, I was always trying to find the weight of that things, and I didn’t cared if I didn’t had a complete idea of what they may have been. Was hard not like to have the company of a beautiful woman, saying she liked me and with who was possible to talk about many things.

With time, my job, my relationship and everything else, returned to the same routine they had before the accident.

I was living through these routines. Things were gaining “normality”, but I was just learning the way things worked, I still could not remember things.

Nothing.

One day, I had a dream about being in a pool, then suddenly, like a flush, all the water and me were sucked into darkness. It was like a tunnel and, in the end, it had a very bright light. When I reached the light I woke up and felt something moving inside of my head, I almost could feel a set of memories being built inside it. At that day, I remembered the most faraway memories of my childhood.

I saw myself watching cartoons. Running. Playing in a beach, covered by sand and ice cream. Crying because a dog tried to bite me. Wearing not very comfortable clothes in a Christmas Eve. I remembered that my parents were really my parents.

Than, week after week, a memory returned, always something of my childhood, and I noticed that not only the returned memories were from that time, but they seemed to have a logic. I was a little older from one memory to the other. For some reason that not even the doctor could explain, my memories were returning yes, but in chronological order.

And that was not all.

When a memory was recovered It was like living the moment again, with great intensity. It remained in my head for days.

In my mind it was not a bad defined and colorless image of the past, like a distant memory usually is. It was like it happened just there, the day before, maybe at that day. The contours, the colors and the feelings, were all very well defined.

Then time passed.

Months passed.

And again some more.

I kept collecting memories and reviving who I was. I could remember now that first experiences which shape the basis to what a person person may become. Now, I even could talk about the teenager I was.

And that was when things became hard.

I could have fun with the people from my work, I could do well all the things that job demanded and, yes, it was a “promising, respectful and not to everyone” kind of job. But I was there now, doing all that, being all that, but it was not some new experience, not a novelty, and to do it when it was not a novelty, was not something that I could do and feel satisfaction.

I could not feel happiness waking up to do that. It was like something was wrong and I could not understand why. That routine seemed wrong to me. I was always waiting for the weekends, I was waiting for the holidays, I, sometimes, locked myself on the toilet to sleep a little, to have a dream, to take myself away of that place for a while before the next task of the day.

At the same time, that woman was no longer a set of actions synchronized to treat me in a special way, because of the accident. She had now a personality and intentions that, time to time, made me feel lonely, wishing to go somewhere far away from her, or to be quiet, speaking no more. Sometimes I even could feel the certainty that I could never share a life with that person. Never.

It was hard to motivate myself to live the days. It was hard to live the days. But I could not lose control and throw all away, after all, that life wasn’t mine. I was there just for a period of time, just until my memories return and I would become again the person who was the true owner and builder of that life. At that moment, it was just handed over me to take care until the owner come back. I had no rights to change or move things. That life wasn’t mine.

Combined with these feelings were my memories. I looked to this life and to the person the memories I had at that moment could tell me I should be, and I could not understand how that life was mine. It had no sense. How have I stopped there? Why I chose that paths? How my decisions may have take shape? In which moment I have become something else?

In a Tuesday morning, I called to my doctor, the way he said I should call if I had any problem. Based in "statistical data" of many people who had amnesia, he said I had to calm down and “do not lose control”. Once I had my memories back I would also have the answers I needed. The bridge between what I knew I was, because of the revived memories, and the life I had at that present time, would, sooner or later, be build. I just had to keep going a little longer. The explanation to all that was about to arrive.

I agreed to keep going.

Time came. Time passed. Then more time. More time. And a little more. The answers didn’t came and things became worse.

Worse to a point they became unbearable.

I was trying very hard, but I could no do the things people were always telling me I used to like to do. Neither could I spend more time with that woman. Before things get any farther, my doctor gave me a license to stay home a couple of days, to put my head back in place, away from everything, to get rest of the routines, the people and their pressures.

Those were the longest days of my life. I could not use that days as vacation. My body was away of that life, but my head was not. My head was working, this time not on the past, like it was since I had waked up from my accident, but on the future. I was the person I was at that moment. If that life and that people made no sense, and if I was so unhappy about it, I had to take some serious actions. I had to take as mine that life borrowed to me and then change whatever was necessary to make it something with sense.

But what if it was a mistake? What if once all the memories return I end up finding out that this life was the right one?

But what if my memories never came back? What if an answer never came up?

I made a research, I read, I wanted to understand my problem and I found out that the doctor was not telling me one part of the story, one part about the possibility of my memories never return. I had to do something or, if the owner of that life ever came back, there would be no life for him to assume.

I returned to that routines with plans.

At the following months I saved money and paid everything I had to. In these months I had the most sincere conversation I could have with my girlfriend, telling and asking her everything I though was necessary to be discussed if we really wanted to be together.

Coincidence or not, it was exactly at the first anniversary of my accident when I had the right amount of money I needed to be by myself for some months, and also in this same day, I had with that woman a final discussion. One year after the accident, I left my job, to my father’s disappointment, and decided to end to my relationship.

During that months I was preparing everything, I revived more memories and they helped making me even more certain about my plans. These memories were also important to make me see what I really liked to do in life.

That was the time to do it, to do what I knew I liked, almost as if I knew it was going to work, not even thinking about it not working, with great will and strength. Suddenly it was simple, it was fast, natural, intense and made sense. It worked.

I changed my life. I did what I had to do. I met people. I traveled, I went, I was there and back again. And then, time came. Time passed. Then more time. More time. And a little more.

More memories returned, but still had not returned the ones I was expecting for.

Two years after the accident, one year after my life change, on a Sunday morning, the memories which I was so eagerly expecting, finally returned.

It was just after I woke up. There was a sunbeam coming through the window and I felt like I was being pulled out of the bottom of a pool to the intense blue sky. My head was finally filled with the missing pieces. The answers. The bridge. Everything was there and it was very simple.

I ended up on that job because I was afraid. I was afraid things would never work if I tried to live a life different than the life everyone else was saying was the right one, I was afraid of disappoint my dad, of being too much different of the others and never be able to take care of me, of never have money. I was afraid of being a freak and end up running forever chasing plans and projects that would probably never give results and than I would never be able to do all the things deep inside me I knew I wanted to do, but I didn’t knew if these desires were correct or if they were just childish expectations about life. I was afraid to be wrong to miss so many things that I never did, like I have done them.

I got into a relationship which was wrong to me and almost transformed it into a marriage also because I was afraid. There was a time in which that relationship was good, but people grown up, people change and not all the time people go to the same direction. Marriage seamed to be an exit, an answer, a change which could push it all to a new condition, to a new routine, but it would never bring a new soul to what was already there. I remained in that relationship because I was afraid of being alone, afraid of never find something better, of never have sex again with a pretty woman. I was afraid to be too freak and end up by myself, or being an always edited version of myself, because if I was 100% me, nobody would ever like me. There was this fear that maybe there was nothing out there and lose all that years and all that was already conquered, would have no turning back, would be like chose to grow old alone and in silence. I was afraid to start over again and build up another failed relationship.

In one second It all came back, and it was quite strong. I sat and looked through the window, where the sun beam was still coming. I was breathing slowly, trying not to think, but with my eyes closed I could see the rails of my thinking leading me to the final piece of that puzzle. The one about the accident, that I didn’t knew how it happened. People told me that it was raining at that day and I lost control of the car in a turn, it may have skidded because of the wet asphalt.

Well, that was not actually true.

The truth was that the other me was not somebody else and the accident was not an accident.

It was the end of a line, the end of something that could no longer keep going. It was me driving a car, letting me be driven by thoughts which seemed to be much bigger than me or any strength, logic or capacity I could have. In the turn, on the rain, with wet asphalt, when the car skidded I lost the direction, willingly. At that day, I had the same feeling about my life, feeling it was not to me, that I could not fit to that routines and people, but I didn’t had the motivation and the certainty that I was right and all the standards people have made me follow were the wrong side. This time I was able to overcome this ideas and change my life, because of my revived memories, which could confirm all I was feeling so strongly.

I moved my eyes to some point in the sky of the city and I tried to reach that point with my thinking. I had survived to my own stupidity. I had survived to my own fear to be who I had to be.

Now, there, 2 years after the accident, I knew the answer, the answer that could have changed my life if somebody had told me. The answer I had find out because of chance. Because of a chance of an amnesia.

The answer was that I just had to forget everything that was bad and focus in who I was. But not who I was as a concept, but who I was as a fact. To do so, I just had to remember the experiences that had shaped myself, the path I have tread until that point, believing in what was right to believe, feeling the way I felt, wishing my own desires. This answer, every time I needed, would give me the necessary strength to make possible to change anything wrong or invincible in my way.

At that day, I finally remembered of myself and, more than that, I realized, I had never forgotten.