rude awakening.

Just think about it. We’ll have a blast, yeah? My family is harmless!

I don’t know Derek, you know that I’m a nervous wreck when it comes to the idea of meeting your family…

Candice, we’re been dating for three years and you’re still afraid of meeting my parents? Haha!

Okay, we’ll go to the reunion! Just…don’t leave me alone, okay?

You’re acting like we’re both still twenty! You’ll be fine, I know you will.

I hugged her and rubbed her back. She buried her face into my shoulder and started giggling.


That was one of the memories that kept replaying in my head. I can hear everything, but I seemingly can’t respond. I say things, but it seems like nobody is able to hear me. It’s like some weird alternate reality…


Somebody call the doctor. Now!

I heard feet shuffling and Candice fighting back her excitement.

Derek, can you hear me? If you can, blink twice for me, please.

It was so bright. I hadn’t seen light in what felt like years.

Tubes…eggshell walls…beeping…Candice…doctor…What happened to me?

I thought that I was saying all of this aloud, but again, my thoughts betrayed me.

Derek, blink twice if you can hear me.

I blinked twice. I could see again, but I couldn’t shield my eyes from all the light. I could hear Candice and my mom. They both seemed to be quietly holding in their excitement.

Do you know who you are? Can you introduce yourself to me?

I opened my mouth, but no words came out. I was absolutely parched. The doctor and nurse noticed and slipped tiny ice chips in between my lips. With one small push from the nurse’s hand, my tongue and jaws began working. I took the ice chip in and pressed it against the roof of my mouth. It was a whole new kind of beauty. Having ice melt into water inside your mouth felt so satisfying, I just couldn’t figure out why.

Can you introduce yourself to me?

I’m Derek Stafford…

The room erupted with joy.


Two days had passed since I had finally awoken from my slumber. Remember how I said that my life had changed? Well, the information that I would soon learn nearly came to destroy me.


Mom, did you meet Candice? She’s sweet, huh?

Yes, I did. Take it easy! Try not to move so much. You’re going to need physical therapy before you try moving around like normal again. 

Mom, how hard could it be? Learning how to walk is simple.

I smiled. My mom seemed to have aged more than I remembered. She came over and gave me a kiss on the forehead. She motioned toward the window.

People have been leaving you gifts for quite some time. Candice even started a few time capsules for you.

And for the first time, I was finally able to put the pieces together.


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