Amnesia

By Heather Scrooby

Romance

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357
13 mins

Chapter 5

Philip had been very busy this week since they had arrived back from Mauritius. Yesterday evening he had only come home after seven, which was unusual for Philip, he normally kept business for business hours. He was off overseas this morning and would only be back in a few days. Jane was unconcerned however, as she had a lot on her plate. She was having vivid dreams and she was sure they were memories, but they were not consistent with what she knew of her past life. The dreams were scattered and elusive, so there was nothing that she could really pick out, but she was having them more and more frequently. She had spoken to Philip about going to see a hypnotist to give them some order and make sense of them, but he had been completely against the idea and had basically forbidden it, not in so many words, but his reaction had left her in no doubt.
She had however made an appointment for today regardless. He need not know about it she thought. All she wanted to do was to make sense of the meaningless images in her head. Right now though, she had a routine appointment with Dr. Joseph, their family doctor. He had looked after Philip since he was a tiny baby and thought of Philip more like a son than a patient and as so his wife, Jane, was treated as a daughter. She enjoyed seeing Dr. Joseph. He always told her lovely tales about Philip’s childhood – never the same ones. He was very good in that way and Jane found him entertaining and always looked forward to her appointments with him. She wanted to ask him if there could be anything that could be preventing her from falling pregnant. She was not desperate, but she was a little concerned as she felt that four years of trying without success was a long time and she wanted to rule out any possible problems. Just to be sure.
“Jessica, are you ready?” Jane asked, walking into her rooms.
Melissa answered her. “She will not be too much longer madam.”
Jane sighed and looked at her watch - they were going to be late again. “Melissa, she needs to be ready by seven thirty, she has been late every day this week. Next week I expect her to be ready on time.”
“Yes Madam.” Melissa said almost absently.
Jane wanted to bring her to task about her attitude, but she was never outright rude and other than subtle signals, there was nothing that Jane could complain about. Jessica came running into the room.
“Where are your shoes?” she asked.
Melissa rushed forward with shoes in hand. Jessica snatched them from her and quickly put them on. As she stood up, Melissa handed her the school bag.
“Thank you.” Jane said to Melissa, then turning to Jessica “Hurry we are going to be late.”
The car was waiting out front for them, a sleek dark blue Mercedes Kompressor. Jane helped Jessica into the back seat and then got into the driver’s side. The car was idling already. Thomas, the butler, always arranged the car to be ready for Jane in the morning when it was school days. In the holidays, this was not necessary but during school terms the car was always ready for her. She dropped Jessica off at school, walking her to her classroom. She was so late all the other children were already in class.
“Sorry Jessica is late.” Jane told the teacher. She was running late for her appointment with Dr. Joseph now too.
She rushed back to her car and drove to Dr. Joseph’s office, he had just finished with a patient when she rushed in.
“Hello Jane my dear.” Dr. Joseph said coming toward her, he kissed her on both cheeks. “You look lovely as always. How is the Ruffian?”
“Philip is well. He has been really busy this week though, you’ll have to tell him to take it easy next time you see him.”
“I’ll do just that, and how is the little mite?”
“Jessica is well, I just dropped her at school.”
“School? How old is she now?”
“Four.”
“My word, time flies. Well, let’s get a look at you. Come sit on the bed here.” He patted the bed and reached for his stethoscope. He gave her a thorough examination while he told her the story of Philip breaking his arm when he was twelve years old, reminiscing how he had not cried or complained as he had not wanted to worry his mother and consequently how it had taken a week before his mother brought him to Dr. Joseph who had to re break the bones to get them to set correctly.
“All well,” he said leading her to a chair when he had finished the story, which as always ended at the time the examination ended. She was never sure if he timed the story to end with the examination, or the examination to end with the story - either way it was always to the tee.
“I wanted to ask you about falling pregnant…”
“Ahhh, yes, I did tell Philip his options, being sterile, he can never have biological children, but there are still options available to him. Like sperm donation.”
Sterile? Philip can’t be Sterile! Dr. Joseph obviously saw the concern on her face and he took on a stern demeanour.
“Jane dear, Philip did ask me not to talk to you about it. Understandably you do not want anyone to know, but I am his doctor. When he came to me a few years back to see why you were battling to conceive and I found out he was sterile, he told me the whole story about Jessica. He could not hide it from me after all. I knew Jessica could not possibly be his biological child.”
Jane felt like the wind had been knocked out of her, as though she had been physically punched in the stomach.
“You know though, God looks after those as good as Philip is. He was willing to take Jessica as his own before he knew he was sterile. Now at least, he has a daughter in every other sense of the word. If he had been a selfish man and had not taken Jessica on as his own, he would never have been a father. He really adores Jessica, talks about her all the time. You are very fortunate.”
Jane did not trust herself to speak so just nodded.
“So what did you want to know?”
“You already answered my question, you mentioned sperm donation. I will look into that and discuss it with Philip.”
“Sperm donation is not the only option. Adoption is worth discussing. You would be giving a child a good home and family that they might otherwise not receive. But since your eggs are viable, I would assume you would want to have your own flesh and blood?”
“I will have to discuss it in more detail with Philip. It is a decision we have to make together. Thank you for your time Dr. Joseph.” She stood up to leave.
“Send Philip my regards and look after yourself.”
“Will do! Bye.” She sat in the car for at least an hour after her appointment in a state of shock.
Philip is not Jessica’s father? Then who is? She really needed to find out the truth but it was not something she could discuss with Philip over the phone so she would have to wait to confront him when he returned home. She wiped her tear filled eyes and checked the time. She was now late for the hypnosis appointment and would have to hurry. Hopefully she would have the answers she was looking for shortly.
“Mrs. Whitlock, you may go in now.” The receptionist said, indicating the door.
Jane had been late, but luckily, the hypnotist was still busy with the previous client. Jane took a deep breath and entered the room apprehensively. There was a desk towards the back of the room with what looked like an outdated computer sitting upon it. There were no chairs in front of the desk and the room looked almost abandoned. The dingy beige carpet that was in the reception area continued into this room. There was an armchair and a settee of an old brown material. The overhead lights were not on but a small lamp next to the settee gave off a soft glow. The whole effect tough was dark and dingy. If Philip were to see this, he would have freaked she thought. As it was, she had not had a choice. Philip’s refusal to give her money to go to a hypnotist had forced her to make a plan with her budget and this had been the best she could do. If it had not been for this morning’s shocking discovery about Jessica’s paternity, Jane would have backed out of this appointment. As things stood now, she really needed some answers and was willing to get them any way she could.
“Mrs. Whitlock come in” a short man with brown hair said as he walked towards her.
In different surroundings, she probably would have felt completely at ease and confident in his abilities, but in this dark dingy office, it was hard to think of him in a completely positive light.
“Take a seat,” he said, gesturing towards the couch. He walked forward and lowered himself into the armchair opposite her. “Relax,” he said smiling at her as she made a visible attempt to get comfortable and steady her nerves.
“I’m Garrett. If you don’t mind, before we start, I would like to find out more about you and what you are hoping to gain from hypnosis.”
“I have amnesia…” she hesitated.
He nodded at her, “Go on!”
“Well, I think I have started to regain my memories, but it’s all jumbled and I can’t make head or tail of them.”
“When did your amnesia begin?”
“Five years ago.”
“Do you know what type of amnesia you have?”
“The doctor mentioned something about retrograde amnesia…”
“So you have no memory of anything prior to the past five years?”
“Yes.”
“Do you have any memory problems now, in the last five years?”
“No. None at all.”
“So you don’t have anterograde amnesia.”
Jane gave him a questioning look.
“Anterograde amnesia is when you are unable to remember events that happened recently. Basically it is an inability to transfer memories from your conscious short term memory to your permanent long term memory. Do they know what caused the amnesia?”
“Trauma to the brain.”
“Have you had another check up? With retrograde amnesia caused by trauma, it very seldom takes this long for memory to be regained. It also sounds like the only memory you have lost is episodic memory.” another questioning look from Jane and he elaborated “Episodic memory stores specific personal experiences like a visit to Spain or a memorable Christmas supper. Your procedural memory and semantic memory seems intact.” She gave him another questioning look. “Procedural memory stores information such as how to tie your shoelaces, drive a car, ride a bicycle and things like that. Semantic memory stores factual information independent of personal experience, for example different types of food, vocabulary and even capital cities.”
He seemed to know what he was talking about and Jane relaxed a little.
“I have been in constant contact with the doctor and been informed that initially my amnesia was caused by a neurological condition due to the trauma, but it has escalated to also being a psychological condition which apparently explains why I have not yet recovered my memory.”
“That is not uncommon, the psychological condition occurs when you lose faith in your own memory and accounts of past events.” She nodded - her doctor had said something very similar.
“So, you are wanting to remember your past? You came to the right place. However, I would like to warn you of a few things first; I cannot guarantee that you will remember anything. Hypnosis is a guiding tool. Contrary to the popular belief that hypnosis is a form of unconsciousness resembling sleep, it is actually a wakeful state of focused attention and heightened suggestibility. It is a naturally occurring state and happens to everyone many times each day. It will probably feel very natural, so expect to feel relaxed, not necessarily hypnotized. You can’t get stuck in hypnosis any more than you could get stuck sleeping. Your moral character and value system remain in place so you won’t and can’t be made to do anything against your morals. You will most likely hear everything and be aware of things going on around you. Many people remember what goes on inside a trance. Hypnosis cannot over ride neurological defects. It can however assist with psychological blocks and define memories that are attempting to surface.”
“I have memories that I want defined, they are so jumbled and out of sequence. I cannot make any sense of them.”
“We can work with that. I also want it made clear that you might never be able to get the memory back from just before the cause of the amnesia.” Jane had heard that before. “But we will try to start at the day the amnesia took place. That will give a good starting point and we can work our way back from there. Are you ready?”
Jane had been gaining more and more confidence in Garrett as their conversation had progressed. She felt much better and calmer and was satisfied that she was in capable hands.
“Yes.”
“Lie down on the couch, put your feet up, relax and take a deep breath.” She did as she was asked.
“We are going to use the progressive relaxation technique to induce the hypnosis state. Take a deep breath and as you let it out, close your eyes and begin to feel yourself relaxing. Now become aware of your arms. Good, that’s very, very good... now relax your arms, that’s right, you’re doing just fine... let them grow more and more comfortable, very good... let the muscles become loose and limp and even more relaxed, that’s right. Now become aware of your legs…” He went through her whole body, part by part. She could feel herself relaxing. His voice was soothing and she focused on it.
He repeated the whole procedure until she felt entirely relaxed and as if she was floating and weightless.
“Now take yourself back to the first morning before the amnesia. What do you see?” Jane was silent a while and then it came to her, in a dream like vision.
“A man is kissing my head…”
Garrett took her through the memories asking her questions, never pushing her. She felt calm and relaxed the whole time. Although the memories were making less and less sense as the session progressed.
“I’m going to count to five, when I reach five, your eyes will open and you’ll feel relaxed and refreshed”. He counted to five slowly his voice got less and less soothing with each new number. “On the next number your eyes will open and you’ll feel relaxed and refreshed. Five! Eyes open, feeling relaxed and refreshed.”
She opened her eyes. “How do you feel” he asked.
She debated for a moment. “Relaxed and refreshed but just as confused.”
He smiled. “I never guaranteed satisfaction.”
She laughed.
“But you did seem to have a clear account of what happened. There were jumbled bits, but it is a fantastic start for your first attempt.” He went to the desk and took a tape out of a tape recorder and handed it to her.
She looked confused.
“Some people do not recall what they remember under hypnosis, so we tape the sessions. We do not keep the tapes. You receive the only copy we make.”
“Thank you”.
So as it turned out two hours after she had walked into his office Jane emerged from the room more confused than enlightened. She had a dream like recollection of events, her jumbled thoughts had been reorganized and could be followed, but they did not fit the facts.
She remembered waking up in a bedroom to a man kissing her head, the feeling that washed over her was one of love and contentment.
“Your tea my love, it’s time to rise and shine.” The man spoke in a voice so familiar and dear to her, she knew instinctively that he was the love of her life. But it was very definitely NOT Philip.
She had looked up into a face so familiar and yet so unknown to her. He was tall and dark, with beautiful brown eyes. She smiled at him in her dream and reached out to him, pulling him onto her on the bed. “I love you” she had whispered into his ear.
“I love you too.” He had replied, kissing her head. “Now it’s time to get up, you’re going to be late for work.”
She had sighed and then followed him up and after he had left the room she had rushed to the bathroom and got sick, she felt terrible. The house she knew immediately was the house she had dreamed about before and she knew if she looked out of the window she would see the white picket fence. She was in a hurry. She was later than normal and did not want to be late for work. She had rushed out of the house, only stopping to pick up her handbag and keys that were set conveniently by the door, and to kiss her Irish Wolfhound puppy goodbye. Her car, a Jetta, had refused to start and the dream man had given her a lift. Things had gotten jumbled again after that with flashes of the day going by. Surprisingly, there were snippets of Philip, so some of the memories must be real. He was sitting opposite her at a restaurant, smiling at her. She sensed she felt a sharp irritation at him.
“I normally get what I want,” he had said. “I do not give up until I do.”
There were other images of Philip, but no other conversation. She was then in a toilet with a home pregnancy test kit in her hands. They were shaking. She felt fear, wonder and joy all at the same time. The pregnancy test was positive. Things from here had started to get fuzzy again and she had a memory of a Mall and buying a baby t-shirt with the inscription “I belong to Dad.” It was extremely cute. She arranged for it to be wrapped. It was a present for the dream man in her memory. She was going to walk back to the house. It was dark outside when she left the Mall, and she had a small twinge of fear but shook it off. She stepped onto the pavement and things went blank from there, no snippets or barely formed memories, just nothing.
The hypnosis session had not answered any questions for her, if anything it had only increased her confusion. She made her way to her car in a daze and headed instinctively for Jessica’s school. She had told the butler that she would collect Jessica today and the child had been so excited that Jane did not have the heart to let her down. Upon arriving at the school, Jane did a quick cosmetic check, fiddling with her hair and putting everything straight. Her eyes were still a little red, but not so much that it was immediately noticeable.
Jessica saw her coming from across the car park and the broad smile on her face wiped Jane’s tension away from her conscious mind, although it lurked just beneath her subconscious, threatening to overcome her at any moment. Jessica leapt into her arms and hugged and kissed her fiercely. Jane held onto her a moment longer than necessary. She loved it when Jessica was in this mood.
“Can we go riding together when we get home mom, before it gets too dark?”
Jane contemplated that. She really did not feel like riding in her current condition, but with Melissa having taken the afternoon off, Jane needed to occupy her daughter somehow and being in the house would make it too easy for Jane just to leave Jessica in front of the TV while she tried to make head or tail of what was happening in her life. Although all she wanted to do was lie down and try to figure it out, Jane decided that another afternoon would not make a huge difference and besides, most of the answers she would get from Philip and that would only be in a few days.
“Alright. We can go for a short ride.”
“Yay.” Jessica said, grabbing Jane’s hand and pulling her towards the car park.
Jane followed and soon they were on their way home, Jessica happily recounting the day’s events in minute detail and Jane, trying to focus on her daughter but failing miserably. Jessica is not Philip’s daughter, her mind kept saying in horror over and over again. Before long they were back at the house. Jessica ran in to get changed into her riding gear with Jane trailing behind carrying Jessica’s school bag. Fin was waiting on the steps by the front door and greeted Jessica’s enthusiastic and overbearing greeting with a calm patience. Although he loved Jessica and was very protective towards her, he did not jump and run and get out of hand when he saw her and when she played with him, he showed his affection for her by wagging his tail enthusiastically while his face pulled into a doggie smile. He watched Jessica run off to her room and waited patiently for Jane showing her his doggie smile and wagging his tail a little less enthusiastically as befitting his adult mistress. She was his everything. They walked together to her bedroom and he lay and watched as Jane dressed for riding. Fin’s tail thumped lightly on the floor. He knows where we are going Jane thought, smiling at him. He thumped his tail a little harder. Jessica came gushing into the room, all vitality and uncontrolled energy. Fin instinctively stood up and she reached her hand up to his shoulder.
“Are you ready yet mum?” she asked a little impatiently.
“Yip.” Jane said, pulling on her last boot. “Let’s go.”
They rushed down to the stables, laughing and playing. Jane had phoned down to Joseph at the stables and asked him to get Bombay and Sebastian ready. So when they arrived at the stables, the horses were waiting for them. They had a lovely ride together, laughing and joking and connecting in a way they had not connected in a long time. Jane forgot momentarily everything that was happening in her life and relaxed and enjoyed herself. Jessica responded to Jane’s complete attention by opening up to Jane and sharing her thoughts. As it was the ride ended all too soon even though they had tried everything to extend their time together. They untacked their mounts themselves and cooled them down, still laughing and having fun, revelling in each other’s company. They walked to the house together as the sun was setting and stopped on the steps watching until it was quite dark outside and starting to get chilly.
There was a message from Philip when they eventually went inside. He sent his love and was sorry that he had missed them. He would see them soon. Jessica was highly upset that she had missed Philip’s call and that put an end to the joy and spontaneity of the day. They both went to bath and change before they met again for supper. Jessica was still upset about missing Philip’s call and Jane, in the time she had had on her own to change and bath had been besieged by her earlier worries and could not cope with Jessica’s current mood. So the meal was eaten in sullen silence and ended as soon as possible. Jessica went straight to her room and Jane followed suit, Fin on her heels, his tail firmly between his legs. The mood even affected him, Jane mused.
In the quiet of her bedroom, the thoughts raced through her mind. What was going on in there? Was she hallucinating … going insane? She pulled out the file containing the details of her life as determined by the detective. She had been born in Boston, England where she had lived for the majority of her life with very little travelling. She had spent time in France and Spain, but that was about it. She had met a South African man when she was nineteen and fallen in love. She had followed him to South Africa when she was twenty refusing to marry him in order to keep him in England. They had lived together in South Africa for a while. Jane had found an interesting job and although friends had been scarce she had settled well into her new life. While she was in South Africa, her parents had been in a fatal accident and she had returned with her boyfriend, Frank, for the funeral. He had put a lot of pressure on her to marry him during this time and in her grief, she had agreed to get engaged. They returned to South Africa to get married and wrap things up before moving back to England and it was during this time that Frank had shown his true colours.
With only a week to go before their extravagantly planned wedding Jane had discovered, quite by chance, that Frank was being unfaithful. They had been living together in South Africa for just under a year. Jane had confronted Frank and broken off the engagement. The whole wedding, which Frank had insisted on, was overly extravagant and had been paid for by some of Jane’s inheritance. There were no refunds. Frank had tried very hard to get Jane to forgive him but the trust had been broken and she held fast to her decision. He had promptly sued her for fifty percent of her inheritance due to the fact that she was seen as a common law wife. Although she had tried to argue that she had used much of her inheritance for the wedding, this was considered irrelevant as she, not he, had cancelled the wedding for reasons which she could not prove and had been forced to pay over almost every last cent she had.
Due to this, she had very little money with which to return home and had decided to keep her job and remain in South Africa for the time being. She had met Philip while working in South Africa and a few months later had somehow received the brain trauma causing her amnesia. The rest she knew. Apparently, she had only ever lived in apartments, so no house with a white picket fence. She had had occasional dates with men, but none were ever serious and she had never repeated the mistake of living with someone before marriage again. She closed the file after ten pm and got ready for bed. Tomorrow, I will try to find the house with the white picket fence she thought. Tomorrow I will look for answers.


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