If... (03)

Remember how I said earlier I felt things familiar yet strange. After my first meal with the Ishikawa family, I knew why. Something was not quite right with me. I had not realized then the magnitude of my anomaly.

So, just what was wrong with me, you would ask.

I had this problem what people call ‘amnesia’ or ‘loss of memory’. I remember some things but not many things, and sadly, important things. I remember the names of things and not remember why they were there, if you understand what I mean. I recognise a bed as a bed, a chair as a chair and a wardrobe as a wardrobe. But why were they there or why were I there in the room, I had no idea.

It was during dinner time when Ishikawa asked me for my name and I had given him a blank look, just as my mind had gone blank. I could not remember. How could I not? I began to panic, just as anyone should. I suddenly felt alarmed. I should have a name, everyone has a name, but what is mine? Why can’t I remember?

“Is there anything wrong?” he asked. “Surely I’m not being intrusive here asking for your name?” he laughed slightly. “Well, not after I had gotten you back and nursed you back to health, after my daughter found you lying unconscious on the beach, ermm, three days ago.”

“No,” I said. “But what?” Too much information at any one time. Unconscious, beach, days ago… what is going on here? I looked clueless.

His smile was gone. I saw his brows come slightly together. He looked to his left at Kei, a lady whom he had introduced earlier as his daughter, and back at me again and was silent, perhaps thinking of what he should say next. I fidgeted.

“You were in a pretty bad state when Rika saw you,” Kei suddenly said.

Rika? Another name to remember. Could it be the lady who had appeared in my room before disappearing? I had no time to think about that.

“I am truly sorry,” I said. “I must have behaved badly and you must have think me rude. I wish to tell you my name. However you must believe me when I tell you that I have no idea.” I could tell him the slight throbbing I felt on the back of my head even now as we spoke as I badly tried to recall things, but I didn’t; it won’t make him believe me more nor less.

He tried to look sympathetic. “But why?” his tone was flat.

I wish I could tell him. I remained silent. He gave a sigh and got up from his seat. I could not see from his face what he was thinking, then he smiled. “It’s okay. Come join me at the living room. You can watch some television while I do some reading, and we can talk.”

The living room. It was a spacious room with tall ceilings and long walls. There were windows everywhere, but it was currently so dark outside, I could see nothing beyond. We sat in the middle of the room where the sofas were placed perpendicular to one another, forming a L shape. We sat on either side. Ishikawa took up the papers on the coffee table in front and started reading. I looked at the television which was switched on for my sake but paid absolutely no attention to the contents in it. I was very conscious of Ishikawa studying me although he appeared to be reading his papers. I fidgeted more.

I wish he could ask me outright what bloody hell is wrong with me! instead of pretending to be cool about the whole thing. I could take it no more.

“You said you found me?” I asked, quite abruptly. He seemed surprised and placed his papers on his lap.

“No, it wasn’t me. My daughter did.”
“No, my other daughter, Rika.”

Rika, Ishikawa Rika. A beautiful name. I even thought so when I first heard it. I looked around.

He seemed to understand why. “She must have gone outside,” he said. “She likes to go out there,” he smiled, “that’s how she found you. You should be glad that she does. You see, you were there in a pretty secluded part of the beach. Quite very far from here. Normally people who come stay here in the inn will not wander that far. You would have, you know, if Rika hadn’t walked that far.”

I should be grateful to her. That was what Ishikawa was telling me, indirectly.

When a gust of wind blew in, I smelt tanginess in it. I think we must be very near the sea.

Ishikawa spoke again. “But… ah… I guess I made a mistake.”


“Well,” his tone became apologetic. “I should have listened to Kei and called for the ambulance instead.”

“I guess so,” I said when I saw him pause, and only for the sake of saying something. I smiled to cue him on.

“But I thought you will come around in a couple of hours. So I suggested that we get you back here and into a bed. But you never did wake up and just slept and slept.” He laughed.

I would laugh along if I hadn’t remember Kei saying I looked pretty bad when they found me, but now, as he was saying, I looked fine. Something wasn’t right. I became wary.

“And how long was I in slumber?”

“Days. Three?” He was thinking. “We are all so glad now to see you waken. But I guess we are faced with another problem?”

He was right, absolutely right.

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