The pleasantness of the summer air could be felt all abound. The fresh grass and its dark hue were evident in the sprawling lawn that met the entrance of St. John’s hospital. 13 February 2012, a somewhat momentous day for a seemingly unlucky date. He stood up from his bedside, slowly being dressed into a crisp white golf shirt with dark denim jeans. He still had that beaming smile and handsomeness. Although the summer day made everyone content, behind his smile lay some hidden doubts and trepidation. He would venture out into the world for the first time since that tragic day two years ago. Suffering from amnesia, only two people could be his answer in their search to find him again.
Dan was always a bubbly guy, full of enthusiasm and joy, yet he also had his moments of charm and subtle humour that enthralled his ‘audiences’ at parties. He made great friends wherever he went, but none of his friendships could compare to that which he had with Mark and Laura, his best friends. The three always had a ball together; it seemed nothing would pull them apart. Over the last few years though Dan’s character started changing…his sensitivity enwrapped him to the extent that trivial matters would grossly enrage him. He was beginning to lose trust; Mark and Laura felt he was beginning to become distant. Dan’s sudden shift in character may have been attributed to his new found addiction with making the quick buck, engaging in drugs and his continuous pursuit of women for casual sexual affairs. Mark and Laura loved Dan dearly but slowly their concern grew for him…they were losing Dan. The thought of Dan not being present in their lives would feel like a gaping hole in a relationship that the three strongly created to last for a lifetime. Laura tried using her feminine touch to console Dan and make him realize he had everything, not least their great friendship.
Mark never really took the matter seriously, citing Dan’s odd behaviour as just a random moment of madness occurring momentarily in Dan’s life; to Mark the situation was just that… temporary. He convinced Laura sooner or later Dan would come to his senses. Laura though had growing concerns; Dan confided often in Laura because of her soft and consoling nature. Mark was straight to the point whenever he argued with Laura about the situation …yet he did also deeply fear that his great buddy was slowly drifting away.
One chilly morning Dan got engaged in an argument with Mark and Laura. The argument seemed like the normal spat that the three would encounter amongst each other from time to time…yet this time there was an eerie feeling. All was not well; Dan’s temper was flaring. He had started throwing objects in disgust and anger. He felt betrayed by Mark and Laura. He was hurt and his trust for them was dwindling by the moment. Mark and Laura had given an ultimatum: either Dan would stop his addiction for drugs or he would forever lose them both. Dan’s cursory volume was raised. He grabbed his car keys and rushed out into his plush new SUV vehicle. Dan sped off in full throttle. Mark and Laura feared for the worst. A loud crashing sound was heard in the distance. Laura screeched in agony!
Dan was paralyzed from the bottom half of his body and suffered from amnesia after the accident. Mark and Laura were devastated! They seemed to have lost their true friend, even though in physical terms he was present. Dan was ordered to go through a rigorous regimen that would help him to walk again as doctors assured Dan’s parents that there was some hope of Dan walking again. Mark and Laura blamed themselves for not taking action soon themselves to help Dan. It seemed that soulful and playful friend with whom they shared so many great moments had temporarily left them with this agonizing pain.
Laura and Mark often visited Dan at St.John’s in the hope one day he would regain his memory. Each moment shared was precious for them, even though Dan could not recognize them nor seemed to participate actively in their talks. Dan was physically recovering and was on the path to walking again. Dan felt like he was in a never ending bad dream…he felt like a stranger in this new world he was confronted with; surrounded by unknown people and the agony of having to go through excruciating pain. He often pondered about the circumstances that led to his accident…Mark and Laura were hesitant to bring it up, fearing it would cause undue stress and jeopardize Dan’s chances of regaining his memory. Although Dan was briefed about the moments before his tragedy, it seemed a foolish act that a man would take such a chance of proving a point and land up in a terrible accident…anyways to Dan it did; in many ways the old Dan had become foolish before the accident.
Mark and Laura held onto each of Dan’s arms as they slowly led him out of the ICU unit and slowly tagged along with him as he took his first steps into the huge hallway leading out onto that inviting lawn. Dan was not sure what he would experience…he desperately wanted to regain his memory and find out how Mark and Laura were such a big part of his life. He genuinely began to like them. Something seemed unique about their continuous support and assistance…why would two people go through so much Dan pondered…surely the old Dan meant a lot to them.
As he put forward one leg on the lush lawn, a slight pain hit Dan. Mark and Laura paused for a while sensing Dan’s slight anguish. But there was steely determination written all over Dan’s face. That encouraged Mark and Laura to walk further with Dan. The first step to Dan’s recovery was a major victory! As days went on Mark and Laura tried at various points to remind Dan of a certain memory or jog his memory by taking him to places where their friendship blossomed over the years. Dan tried his best to recollect or regain his memory…the exercise was slowly becoming futile. Mark and Laura’s desperation showed as the days went on. At one point Laura shed tears, feeling like the old Dan would never come back. Mark sat motionless one day, coming to a conclusion that seemed like a last resort…it was the only way for them to move on.
Mark approached Laura and Dan’s parents. There was a plainness in his face…it seemed like a blank slate, emotionless. Mark gasped for some air before he finally released some words. “I have had a realization. You may all not like this but I guess it is the best for all of us, most of all for Dan so that we can all move on peacefully. Dan may never regain his memory. I will always keep hoping some day that he will regain his memory. But maybe now we need to realize that new memories need to be made with Dan. We should feel so blessed we have him still with us here on this earth. There is nothing wrong in creating new memories with him. What do you all say?”
There was a slight silence. Laura and Dan’s parents realized what Mark was saying was true and also a significant step to take for Dan’s future. Dan’s mother nodded in agreement saying,” Mark you are right! There is much to be happy about and we can create a great new life with wonderful memories for Dan! We need to move on!” Dan’s father smiled at his wife, appreciating her strength and resolve. Laura couldn’t disagree as well…she just wanted things to be as they were before the accident, but perhaps the path they were to embrace would bring them to that point somewhere in the future.
A few days later Dan was sitting at the front porch of his place. Mark and Laura arrived, grinning like kids who had won a prize from a circus show. “Hi Dan” both shouted in glee, pacing quickly towards Dan. Dan looked up and smiled at both of them, his face beaming from the hot summer sunlight shining on his face. Dan glanced at Mark and Laura for a moment as they took their seats next to him…”you know guys I was thinking you have supported me so much over these last few months, I am so grateful to you both. I feel really blessed! You are the best friends I have had!” Mark and Laura somehow sensed the old Dan’s presence. It seemed he was back. Dan was back alright…but with a new life and new memories. Though the search for the old Dan was over Mark and Laura found something; they found a new best friend… they found a new Dan!
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