CHAPTER 4: Remembering
The two of them sat at the kitchen table. Cara rubbed her hands together then on her pants to wipe the sweat off. She repeated the process several times.
“Relax,” Mike said and held her hands to make her stop. “You got this.”
She smiled and shrugged but did not share his confidence. This was her third try at taking the stupid test. If she failed this time it was back to square one. Meaning a different plan because she would not try again. The first two times she could accept the failure because she was able to blame her lack of study time. Between teaching and raising her own kids there was no left-over study time. This last attempt though, she had study time. Mike was a huge help. Which meant she needed to reciprocate the kindness. It was time he knew the truth. The kids were going to hate her for telling him but it was time.
Granted, three weeks ago she wondered if her idea had been wise. To have him help with the kids seemed like poetic justice and her entitlement. But now, they were all in it pretty deep. She was pretty sure she knew how Mike was going to react since she had known him for so long. His reaction to being wronged was predictable. But she would not blame him. This was going to hurt.
When she brought him home from the hospital his reactions were funny to her. Even with amnesia and not knowing his name he still felt entitled. But over the course of the few short weeks he spent with her, his attitude softened. His entitlement almost vanished. He once again became the man she had fallen in love with so long ago. The man she had nearly forgotten about. Now, he sat across from her at the kitchen table once more. Although she would have loved to keep him there she also knew he deserved to know the truth of who he was. Since his memory hadn’t returned, she was the only one that could tell him.
That first week he was home was a rough one. Every day she had to come up with some kind of lie or excuse to keep the ruse going. Why were there no pictures of him in the house? He liked being the photographer. Could he see their wedding photos? The albums were lost during their last move (of all the rotten luck!). Why didn’t any of the clothes in his closet fit? He had gained a lot of weight and refused to accept that was his new size. He didn’t want to invest in “big guy clothes” and accept this new size. So many lies and stories she thought for sure he would catch her in one. Lying wasn’t in her nature so it began taking its toll. At the end of the first week, she was just about ready to surrender and tell him the truth when he walked into the kitchen with Andrew. The two were talking basketball and he was giving pointers to Andrew. The two were actually talking! Andrew seemed to be listening and engaging in the conversation. Later, when she saw him playing basketball in the yard the ball went into the hoop. That didn’t happen for Andrew. His game was improving.
So, she did not tell Mike the truth. After that first week things got better.
He spent time with the kids. All of them. He went to Carly’s school for parent day and she thought she was the queen for the day. He helped Patrick with reading. He played basketball with Andrew. Whatever they needed he was there for them. The kids loved him. Not only that, but he looked like he was actually enjoying himself.
Everyone was going to hate her for telling him the truth but he deserved that much. His memory had not come back and she could help with that. Yes, it was definitely time. A deal is a deal. He allowed her time to study and he cleaned the house and he spent time with the kids. She could tell him who he really is.
Her phone started ringing interrupting her thoughts.
“Don’t just look at it, answer it,” Mike said smiling. He held her hand as she answered with the other.
Her head bobbed up and down slowly as she listened.
He looked at her as she disconnected. No emotion showed on her face.
“Well?” he asked.
“I did it,” she said hoarsely. “I passed.”
“I knew you would!” he said excitedly and stood up quickly. The chair fell back but he didn’t stop. He grabbed her and picked her up in a hug. “I knew you would do it.”
They broke from the hug and looked at each other. Suddenly, they kissed each other. It was the first contact they had with each other since she picked him up from the hospital.
“Wait,” Cara said quickly and pulled away.
“It’s okay,” Mike said. “I’m ready for this,” he held onto her.
“No, it’s not that,” she said attempting to pull away but not really wanting to. “There is something I need to tell you.”
“Is it the fact you hate real estate?” he asked.
“No,” she said. “Wait, who told you that?”
“Your sister,” he said and let her go. He picked up the chair and straightened the table. “She said you were only doing it because of the pay. But you don’t really like it.”
She looked at him.
“Kristen and I discussed it, I can stay on at the store for a bit longer. Why don’t you back to school and do something you love? You don’t have to settle.”
Her voice was gone.
“You deserve to be happy, babe,” he said. “Now, should I start fixing some dinner? Or maybe, we should go out and celebrate. I will call the kids. Andrew is at his friend’s house but should be home soon.”
She closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead with her hand. “We really need to talk.” Even though she really didn’t want to have that talk now.
“What? You’re freaking me out. You’re not leaving me, are you?” he forced a joke. His phone started ringing. “Hold that thought,” he answered.
His face dropped as he listened.
“We have to get to the hospital. Andrew has been in an accident.”
She called their neighbor and asked if she could watch Carly and Patrick then headed to the hospital.
“He was riding his bike home and was hit by a car,” Mike said. Cara already knew because he told her before they left the house. He was just saying it again to process. “I knew I should have gone to pick him up. I told him I would but he insisted on riding his bike.”
“It’s not your fault,” Cara reassured him. She was worried about Andrew but she was also stressed by the fact they were heading to St. Marks of all places. If familiar surroundings and routine were to bring Mike’s memory back stepping into that hospital would do the trick. And she hadn’t told him the truth yet.
“Mike, there is something I need to tell you before we get to the hospital,” she said.
“What if we need to donate blood? What if Andrew needs blood?” he asked.
She looked out the window. “You said Andrew was okay,” she said.
“That’s what I was told but you never know.”
A pit formed in her stomach. “If he needs blood you can give it to him. You’re the same blood type.”
He nodded. “Good. Good to know.”
“Mike,” she started again. “I really need to tell you something.”
“Now?” he asked.
“Yeah, now,” she said.
“What is it?” he asked annoyance coloring his words.
“We’re separated,” she said quickly before anything else could interrupt.
“What?” he asked. “You really are leaving me? And you’re telling me this now?”
“No,” she said. “You left me. And the kids. Six months ago. We are getting a divorce.”
“I don’t know what you’re saying,” he said. “That doesn’t sound right.”
They pulled into the hospital parking lot.
“Okay, but…” she tried to explain.
“I don’t know what you’re saying.” She could tell he wasn’t really listening to what she was saying. “We will discuss this later,” he said and climbed out of the car.
“Oh, I don’t think too much later,” Cara said to the empty car before getting out and running to join him.
She walked into the hospital and saw Mike just standing there.
“Are you okay?” Cara asked.
He blinked several times. “I work here. This is where I work. I am a doctor.”
She nodded her head.
“Doctor Fields said my memory would come back and it is. It did!” He smiled as he looked around. “The brain blur is finally coming into focus.” He started laughing. “I remember. I remember you.” He said pointing to a nurse. “You hate me.” He walked around the room. “I remember you,” he pointed to another person. “I remember this place.”
Cara stood behind him.
“I remember everything,” he said and picked Cara up and hugged her. “I’m back.”
She could feel his embrace soften until he set her down. He looked down at her. “I remember everything. You and I…we’re not…but you…”
“I know,” Cara said. That was all she could say.
“Maybe we should just find Andrew.” All the excitement in his voice was gone.
They were given Andrew’s room number and walked quietly down the hall. When they turned a corner and entered Andrew’s room both parents were relieved to see Andrew sitting up in his bed watching television.
“You’re okay?” Cara asked rushing to him and kissing his forehead.
“Yeah,” Andrew said a little embarrassed about his mom’s show of affection.
Mike walked to the other side of the bed. “You sure you’re okay?”
“The guy just knocked me down really. He wasn’t going fast at all. But he was so nervous that he insisted I come and get checked out. I think he thought you would sue him or something.”
Cara breathed a sigh of relief. At least that worked out. She looked at Mike. “I am so sorry,” she said.
Andrew looked at his mom then his dad.
“Dad remembers everything,” she told Andrew.
Andrew looked nervously at his dad. “Does this mean you’re going to leave again?” he asked.
Mike swallowed. “It means your mom and I have some things to discuss. But that is nothing for you to worry about,” he kissed Andrew’s forehead. “I think I need to get some air,” he said. “I will call you later?”
Cara nodded her head and tears formed in her eyes.
“I’m glad you’re okay, buddy,” he said to Andrew and forced a smile. “I will check on you later, buddy.” He would have preferred to have more control over his voice than he did but he needed to get out of that room quick.
Mike slid out the door and closed it to make it easier. It did not make it easier. He could hear Andrew grilling his mom with questions that she didn’t have answers to. How could she? Mike didn’t have the answers himself. But he needed to find some place to sit because getting his memories back was causing the room to spin.
He found the chapel and sat down and put his face in his hands. Why did he have to get his memory back?
4 thoughts on “A Christmas to Remember 4”
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Merry Christmas and thank you for the stories!
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Thank you for reading and happy new year!