Coming at me

It was coming at me fast, in the dark of night. I was gripped with terror, I wanted to scream but my voice was still. Legs gripped with paralysis stopped me from running. Then from within me , came an earth shattering scream. I sat bolt upright and I was awake, my heart pounding in my chest.

Still trembling, I went to the bathroom to splash water on my face. Looking back at me from the mirror, my face unrecognisable,  both eyes black and caked with dry blood my lips  swollen and split my ears looked like cauliflowers  and across my forehead a jagged line of sutures  disappearing into the hairline . My favourite blue shirt hung loosely from my torso, blood stained and badly ripped with buttons missing, apart from that the only other thing I had on was a pair of boxer’s . Sticking out of my shirt pocket was a piece of paper, closer examination revealed a train ticket to Wollongong.

Cradling my head in my hands, sliding down the side of the bath, I sat on the cold floor. Something in my life had to change, these blackouts were happening too often, only last week I’d woken up on someone’s verandah and now, here I am battered and bloodied with no recollection of travelling to Wollongong.

The sound of someone knocking on the front door roused me from the bathroom floor, throwing on a robe, I cautiously made my way to the front door. Opening the door just enough to peer out, I saw a rather good looking female police officer standing on my front step. ‘Shit!’ I  thought as my heart raced, ‘what on earth have I done?’. 

‘Well you’re alive. That’s good news’ she said. ‘Sorry’ I mumbled ‘What exactly have I done?’ ‘Well you asked me to marry you last night, but you were well and truly under the weather so I won’t hold you to it.’

‘You can’t remember anything about last night, I’m guessing’ she said. ‘No not a thing’ I replied. ‘Well if I can come in I might be able to shed some light.’ ‘Oh yes of course, come in’ I said, hoping the lounge room wasn’t too messy. We settled in the lounge room, which thankfully was tidy. She began to speak, 

‘Now Patrick, my name’s Chrissy. I was attending a private party last night at the Wollongong Hotel when you wandered into the function room, walked straight up to me, went down on one knee and proposed. Most of the guests thought you were a harmless drunk and saw the funny side. Unfortunately not my boyfriend, he got all macho and I’m afraid he assaulted you.

He was arrested and needless to say he is no longer my boyfriend. I took you to casualty at Wollongong hospital and they patched you up. You had become quite subdued and quiet by this time, so I drove you home. Luckily you had your drivers licence with your address.

The doctor took blood for drug and alcohol analysis, I rang the doctor this morning and got quite a surprise, you had zero blood alcohol reading and a negative tox screen, so no drugs. 

Your strange behaviour and obvious blackouts must have a medical reason.’

‘Well yes’ I said ‘I don’t drink alcohol or do drugs. I’ve begun to think I’m going out of my mind.’ 

Chrissy replied, ‘Fortunately my sister is a doctor and I’ve arranged for you to see her this morning.’ 

For the first time in ages I felt like something was going to change. I was worried about potential medical diagnosis but answers were desperately needed. 

Chrissy’s sister gave me a thorough check up, this included a brain scan. The scan revealed the problem – a benign brain tumour. I was referred to a neurosurgeon and a few days later surgery was performed to remove the tumour.  

Surgery was successful and blackouts are a thing of the past.

It must have been fate that had me wander into that party. Meeting Chrissy changed my life. We’ve started dating and I’m head over heels in love. Maybe the time will come again, for me to go down on one bended knee.

Andrew Ballard 

2020

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