He poses a threat to himself. What the hell was that supposed to mean. A faint mumble in the distance and yet it was very quiet. He lay there with his eyes closed, unaware of space and time and – what the hell was that supposed to mean. A threat to himself. Someone had been in the room a while ago. He wasn’t exactly sure of when that had been. Could have been five minutes ago or a week. Could have been a man or a woman or something in between. The voice didn’t have a specific undertone. It didn’t seem worried. It didn’t seem judgemental. But they were talking about him. About him who didn’t even know what season it was. And yet apparently he was a threat to – whoever.
He had tried to remember who he was. Pictures passing by, small fragments of the past.
Emily at the garden.
Emily taking her first steps.
Just a tiny baby girl, wearing red shorts and a white tiny shirt with big red dots. Taking her first steps. A tear was running down his cheek and he knew that it was a tear from that moment in the past, not actually rolling right now.
Nothing was ever rolling anymore, although he heard wheels somewhere near him. The sound of a metal cart, one of those cleaning carts maybe. What’s a cart anyway. The words in his head couldn’t paint a clear picture of the surroundings. He knew he was in a bed but he wasn’t sure, what a bed looked like. It was soft but he felt tucked in real tight. As if sewn to the blanket. He couldn’t lift his eyelids. He couldn’t lift anything.
“When he comes to, if he ever comes to again, he’s going to pose a threat to himself.”
He wasn’t so sure about that. Or if he had not already come to. His mind was clouded and the pictures had grown more vivid by the hour. The longer his eyes stayed shut, the more he could hear and smell his memories. They all smelled like detergent. A heavy scent of freshly cleaned floors.
Emily playing on the freshly cleaned floor, after the woman had scrubbed off the blood from the kitchen floor. He had cut himself. While cutting something else? Preparing food?
Emily tripping and falling into glass shards in the bathroom. She is now a girl, grown out of being a toddler rapidly in his memories. The bathroom had smelled like detergents for two weeks afterwards.
And later the bathtub smelled like lemon.
And his wrists smelled like medical sterilizer and fresh bandages.
And those scents are all he remembered for a long time.
He stares right into the broken mirror now, his eyes bloodshot and tired.
So that was him. A man in his forties. A man with scars on his neck, scars on his wrists, scars on his chest. A man who lived only to care for that little girl. Who could not remember his own name. But he did remember Emily.
Her hair smelled like flowers, right after she found her way into life. Took her first breathe. Did not cry. But she would cry a lot throughout her childhood. He could see her stumbling into the bedroom. A blurry image, he could not get a hold of. Her voice breaking into stutter and screams.
A door opened. A door somewhere close. “Are we awake today?” A woman sounds in a hurry, routinely not expecting a reply. Her steps echoing from a hard floor. The clicking of a button. The sound of a curtain being pulled open. And suddenly, Emily’s face is getting lighter. She is fading and her place is taken by a very white wall. Astonishingly white. An old TV mounted on one of those robotic arms springing from the wall.
“How?” he asks. His voice is faint and barely a voice to begin with. The woman he can’t actually see screams just like Emily. “Oh God, you scared me, sorry. Are you awake, Sir?” What else would he be.
“How am I a threat to anyone?” he repeats.