How did I get here? Who am I? Why am I here? What happened before this moment where I find myself in the middle of a thick purple mist?
I frantically looked around me, seeing nothing beyond the purple mist but the body below my head.
Clothes. I had some nude-colored clothes on, unstained and loose. Over the plain t-shirt I had on was a metal tag on a string hanging around my neck. I reached for it and held it up to where I could read it.
TEDESCA OANA BENESCA-EDWARDS.
What is this? My name? Why am I here? Where do I go? Do I even have anywhere to go?
The word echoed a few moments, then silence fell again. I decided to take the risk and move from the spot where I stood, taking one careful step at a time, further into the strange purple mist.
“Hello?” I called again, but again there was no reply.
The floor beneath my feet was smooth, almost like it had some sort of polish to it.
I took step after careful step, simultaneously looking around, frantic eyes never fixed on one spot for more than a minuscule moment. I saw no holes or vents in the floor. I saw nothing above my head or anywhere else around me. Where is this mist coming from?
“ANYONE?” My voice scratched my throat. There was still no reply—there was barely even an echo. I fell to the floor in a heap of helpless tears. I didn't want to see purple. I didn't want to be confused and helpless and scared. I held my face in my hands, letting my eyelids droop. All I could see now is black—the color of sleep, as I like to think of it. All I could think of was a sad song on a piano for whatever reason. I knew it wasn't real though; it couldn't be. All there was around me was that stupid mist.
“Teddy?” a soft, hurting voice said. I almost didn't want to look up for the fear I was just imagining things, but I did. No purple. This time, it was just orange. “I hope you can hear me. The doctors said you would.”
“Who are you? I can't see you. Where are you?” Once again, my eyes searched for answers I wasn't about to get. Getting to my feet changed nothing. I saw no one, nothing…
“I just came by to tell you I love you. You're strong, and I know you can pull through. I've got to go to work and get home to take care of the little ones though so, I'm sorry I can't stay longer. Don't give up though.”
“Didn't you hear me? WHO ARE YOU? WHERE ARE YOU? I DON’T EVEN KNOW YOU! HOW CAN YOU LOVE ME?” Confused tears rolled mercilessly down my cheeks now, and there were scratches at the back of my throat again. It was as if the cold, hard, white marble floor brought me some sort of comfort, because just moments later I was glued to it again, this time sprawled on my back and staring at the orange mist.
Next thing I knew I was being aroused by the sound of a sad child speaking to me. I couldn’t quite decipher what the kid was saying at first; all sounds were muffled as if the source was being smothered by a pillow. But when I opened my eyes, everything became a beautiful light shade of green. I should have been calm, but confusion overrode all other emotion.
“…and I don’t know anything about this sleep you’re in, but I hope you wake up soon. The doctor said there’s some special term to it, but I don’t remember what it was. He just said that you should wake up soon, but in the meantime, you can still hear me…”
“Who are you? Why are you talking to me?” The green mist around me became slightly more gloomy, like rain clouds with a greenish tint.
“…but I did make you this drawing. I know you can’t see it right now, but it’s of the four of us together and happy again. It’s been the hardest on…”
“Four of us?” Everything became more grey. Confusion. But there was still a little tint of green, as the voice still echoed.
“… he’s been distant without you. He hasn’t played with me as much or laughed and smiled so much as shut himself in his room. He’s forgotten to take his anxiety meds without you there to remind him, I think. He misses you. We all do.”
All I could do then was cradle my head tightly in my hands in a fruitless attempt to make the sudden crash of pain and ringing in my ears go away. I slammed my eyes shut, and in a dark flash behind my eyelids, I saw myself in what seemed like a moving car. Out of the windows were passing headlights, on the steering wheel a small screen…
I opened my eyes and the immense pressure I felt in my head ceased. All was red for a moment, until I fell into a slumber again and there was nothing but black.
“Hey, mom.” Again, I was aroused by the sound of a voice, this time a teenage young man.
I let my eyes pry themselves open, seeing a thinning blue mist.
“I miss you a lot, you know? I mean, I know it’s been a few weeks since I’ve actually come to visit you, but… it’s just hard seeing you so still and almost lifeless…” The teen proceeded to sob. I felt short hair and a smooth forehead pressed to my left forearm, and a hand holding mine. There was nothing there that I could see.
The little ones.
The four of us, together and happy again.
“…mom!?” I took in a sharp breath and sat up. There was no more marble floor. In my hands were hospital sheets, and beneath them was a bed. To my left stood a teenage young man—my 16-year-old son—stiff and startled with disheveled brown hair and bright green eyes of surprise.
“Teddy?!” In came the first voice. I hadn't realised before that it was my husband. “It's me, babe. It's Enzo.” I lifted my arms to embrace him as he came to my bedside, but my arms didn't move. Enzo’s arms held me and my chin rested on his shoulder. I saw the room around me, but again all I wanted to see was black, and so I pressed my eyes shut trying not to let the threatening tears escape.
“What happened?” I forced the words, hoping it wasn't what I thought I saw in that deep, long, and dreadful sleep.
“You were texting me and—” I cut him off with my bawling. I knew exactly what he said after that without even listening. I was driving. That's the flash I saw.
“Mom?” The second voice I had heard in my sleep chimed in from the door. Enzo let go and wiped my tears for me before sitting in a chair beside our son.
“Beatrice! Come and sit, baby.” She did as she was told and sat on the edge of the bed.
“You've gotten so big! Not so much a little girl anymore, are you?”
“Well, you did take a really long nap.” She giggled, and it broke my heart not to be able to hold her and tell her the truth.
“Henry, why don't you go get a nurse?” Enzo implicitly ordered. He got off his chair and headed for the door, only taking a moment to look back at me.