“You are about to enter a world of pain.” Walter from The Big Lebowski.
A slow rumble of pain brings me up from nowhere. From nowhere to a world of pain. Only pain. My back (I have a back?) is held in a vice. It is a dark, oily metal thing. Not the beautiful vice I used to play with in my grandfather’s garage. A beautiful curved thing with a rich patina attached to a desk. The crank was a metal cylindrical rod with two large round balls on each end. The balls kept the crank from from sliding all the way through the hole. Despite my grandfather’s warnings, I used to place the index finger of my left hand in the vice and slowly tighten it just until I couldn’t take my finger out but before I crushed it. The vice that held my back has been cranked beyond the crushing point.
My eyes open to a harsh, mustard white glare and deafening noise fills my head. I recognize nothing in this place.
“What happened, what happened?”
“You had surgery.”
There are curved planes thrusting up out of the glare. The planes originate behind me, wrapping around and above, moving in and out of the glare on metal gears. Black noise slashes zaggedly from the right and something brown and square presses in from the left. Above me, my memory is spread out like cards from a rolodex between a magicians hands. One finger flips them in a blur in one direction, the other finger flips them back. Back and forth, hunting for the memory “surgery” but not finding it. Flip flip flip flip flip no surgery flip flip no memory flip flip who am i? flip flip flip is this hell?
Eyes above a mask drift up from behind the brown square on my left.
“Do you need some pain medication?”
“This is your button.”
“Press the button for the pain medication.”
“Do you need more pain medicine?”
“You have to tell me now if you need more because I won’t be able to give you more after we leave this room.”
“Yes, more.” I have a voice.
The planes are moving, resolving and softening into what looks like walls and doors and a ceiling. The noise is still cutting through in jagged black streaks. I see eyes coming closer, looking at me. I recognize these eyes and the hair. I see Krys and her eyes see me and they blink wide open with love and worry.
Oh god, I know who I am.
Brni behind and to the left of Krys. I can’t reach him. He’s moving behind me. I can’t see him. They are gone. I am gone.
A woman in a mask is telling me I have a red button for help and blue ones for lights and TV.
i don’t understand what you are saying. i can’t see what you are showing me. i won’t remember. please stop and go away
Krys is standing over me. Brni is here.
I made it back.