A time to look back…
The room is very quiet, and I must be alone here, or at least, I cannot see anyone else within the view I have. There is a window, through it I can see colours of autumn: rusty and yellow leaves that belong to a tall tree standing alongside the wall of the building. But I cannot see the ground. Maybe this room is on a first or second floor.
I am lying flat on my back, and I appear to be wired to various instruments. I have no idea where I am, why I am there, or how and when I got in. After a few minutes of reflection I try to move my right hand: but it stays inert on the light sheet which seems to cover my body. Am I dreaming? The bit of sky I can see out of the window seems real enough: a pale blue canvas with small white clouds, and those appear to be moving with the wind.
Something – someone? – is moving in the room. Then there is a voice: “How are you feeling, Julian?” I know this voice, but cannot name the person it belongs to.
“You have been asleep for sometime,” the voice resumes, “it will take an hour or so for you to feel okay again, aware of what is going on. For now I expect you cannot do much talking…”
The voice is correct: I cannot speak. I cannot even think of how to speak. I cannot see the person who’s speaking either. But then I don’t know how to move my head. “Everything is fine, please don’t worry, you must feel strange, and you probably don’t know what you’re doing here, but for now it does not matter.” So I think, I must wait, I cannot rush anything, I must take this, whatever “this” is, a step at a time.
I close my eyes. Slowly the mist begins to lift. A name comes to my mind, associated with the voice: Helga. The name is there, floating in my mind, but it does not tell me who Helga is, or was, or will be. In the room there is a faint scent. A scent which has a name also: Sarah. Where is Sarah? I know who Sarah is: she’s my wife. Probably Sarah knows what I am doing here; and maybe that Helga – whoever she is – might know too, and furthermore knows where Sarah is?
Images invade my mind, as through clouds, images that say: Berlin. Am I in Berlin? I was, we were, but we have come back, Sarah and me, I am pretty sure of that. “Take your time, Julian,” says the Helga voice. “You are not in danger, and soon, your wife Sarah will be here.” So the connection is there: Helga knows Sarah.
I close my eyes again, and start drifting back, somewhere. In the dark corridor where I seem to be floating, I hear footsteps, light footsteps. Those footsteps are familiar, although I couldn’t say why, nor whom they might belong to. A lighter silhouette is moving towards me, imprecise, surrounded by a sort of halo. Am I dying? Or am I dead already?
All of a sudden, I know. I know what I am doing here, or, at least, along this corridor: I am due to meet Melissa, of course… But who is Melissa? I open my eyes, I am now in total darkness, and I am somehow convinced, on my own. Then, slowly, the room – if I am in a room at all – becomes lit by a feeble sparkle of day light. Is it morning?
A voice, that is not Helga’s, says: “Julian’s popped up again, are you sure this is okay?” I know it is Sarah speaking, but I cannot see her.