Jeanette laced up her sneakers and stood, stretching her arms towards the grey sky and feeling a small pop in her lower spine. She grinned as she lifted each leg and stretched with foot in hand, feeling her joints work out their conflicts. She bent her body toward the ground, her hands dusting the uneven path covered with pine needles. She was grateful for the pull in her calves, her body saying it was ready for this. It had been waiting. She had been waiting.
A year ago she had been running along this same narrow path, breathing in rhythm as the soles of her feet landed on the dirt and leaves. She had been thinking about an argument she’d had with her husband when her right foot landed wrong, twisted painfully, and she immediately lost her balance. She tumbled off the trail, landing on the foot that had already broken, and fell into a tree.
Jeanette had awoken in the hospital. A redheaded nurse told her that she had suffered a broken ankle, a broken wrist, and she’d been in a coma for almost a month. A strange man had been sitting in the chair beside the bed. He had a scruffy beard, dark circles under his eyes, and he looked to Jeanette as if he were on the verge of tears.
“Oh, Jeanie. I’m so glad to see you awake. I’ve missed you.” He bent close and Jeanette jerked her away from this unfamiliar man’s chapped lips. “What’s wrong Jeanie?”
“I’m sorry, you must have the wrong room.” She called out to a nurse passing by her room. “Excuse me, I think this gentleman needs directions to the right room.”
“Jeanette…this is your husband. He’s been here every day looking after you. A loyal one, he is.” The nurse said, with a smile on her face. “Sure he hasn’t shaved the scruff in a while, but surely you recognize him.”
Jeanette squinted at the man and frowned. “I don’t know this man.”
A visibly upset Kevin had left the hospital after a long discussion with the doctor, but he had returned a while later with photo albums. Jeanette knew the woman in the photographs was her. She recognized her own face, even in the older pictures from her childhood, but she couldn’t recall any of the memories depicted.
Over the months, as her mind had worked to recall her past, her body had been itching for something that she hadn’t been able to find. Now that the memories had come flooding back just a day earlier, she knew what she’d been needing.
As she started off on a slow jog, she savored the misty air of the forest and she knew she was finally herself again.