Chapter 5: What i know, and what i don't



Before it was time for my appointment with the specialist the following day, a bunch of my relatives came to visit me in the morning right after breakfast. Before they arrived, my mum had made me put on a simple, black headscarf around my head. It took me a few minutes to actually agree to wear it, because i had never worn a headscarf since i left Sekolah Agama in Standard Two. I decided to just wear it, partly because i wanted to hid the bandage around my head, partly because i was a little ashamed that my sister, Shahirah was wearing one and i wasn't, and partly because i was too exhausted from crying last night to argue with Ma.

I asked her if the new me wore it frequently, and she said that i was quite disciplined in covering myself the way a Muslim woman was supposed to. It made me feel strange because i could not really figure out why on Earth i would do that. I mean, i know Muslim girls were supposed to cover their hair and all, but wasn't it a choice? I see Muslims wearing their hair out all the time and plus, my parents had never pushed me to wear it while we were in Australia. I never thought i would really end up choosing to wear it. I guess i had a lot of discovering to do soon.

My uncles and aunts looked pretty much the same as the last time i had seen them, but my cousins looked a lot older. Wow, puberty did them good, i thought.

"Hi Kakak!" said one of my favourite aunts cheerfully, with a warm and welcoming smile. I got a little jumpy because it had been two years(well, two weeks in reality) since i had last seen them. I held out my hand to greet them with the traditional handshake as sign of respect. I debated with myself whether or not to hold my hand out to my male cousins to shake theirs because they were older, but i decided against it. It was way too awkward because they had suddenly gotten twice as attractive since i last saw them, so i just gave them a quick smile and turned away.

Apart from my relatives asking me questions about the last things i could remember and what my last memory of them was, i was quite comfortable with them. It felt good to feel like i belong somewhere again, since i have known my relatives since forever. My uncles were always the master of jokes in our family, and i could not help but giggle along with everyone else. They were all just being themselves, and i love that about them.

Everyone except my parents and my sister left half an hour later to accompany me during my appointment with the specialist. My parents went out to ask the nurses when i could check out of the hospital, so i was left with Shahirah. Before the specialist came into my room, i noticed my sister who now sat on the visitors' chair next to my bed hold a rectangular-ish, frame-like item. She was so focused on the screen and tapped it repeatedly until i got too irritated and asked, "What the heck is that?!" in quite an impatient tone.

"This? It's a Note," she replied, holding the 'note' up casually, as if i would magically understand that it was absolutely normal to tap on something that looked like a huge, well-cut piece of rock.

"What note?"

"It's a Galaxy Note. Kind of like a tab. I mean, a tablet. It's uhh, a gadget, basically a really big handphone, see? You can play games and shizz and use it for social networking and chat and stuff," she explained, struggling to find the right words to help me understand as my face looked more blurred the more that she tried.

Fortunately for her, my mum came into the room and told me that my friends wanted to come and visit me again. Apparently, a lot of people had come to visit me while i was in a coma. Ma said that some of them were my juniors from school, while others were my high school teachers and my ex-classmates. Four of them had visited me quite frequently while i was out for the two weeks.

"They're your best friends since you were in Form 1," muttered Shahirah while continuing whatever she was doing on the 'note'.

"They and your other friends wanted to come and see you after hearing that you've woken up, but i told them it's not the best time, given your condition," said Ma.

"You told everyone i was awake?"

"Not exactly. Adik accidentally tweeted about it yesterday and everyone's been trying to get updates about you. Knowing these social networking sites, word spreads really easily. You're a bit famous on it right now, a lot of people are telling others to pray for you, " she said with a slight chuckle.

Once again, i did not bother to ask what a 'tweet' was because i suddenly got very nervous and anxious about people whom i did not know wanting to meet me. I always had a hidden phobia of meeting new people. That, and talking on the phone to people. Oh, and of spiders too.

 But of course, these people weren't 'new' people, not really. I just could not remember who they were.

"I don't want to see them. At least not yet. Do they know i don't umm, remember them?" i asked, trying to hide the panic away from my voice.

"I only told your teachers and your close friends. I told them to not spread it around in public, but just to the people who really know you," she said, suddenly looking a little bit concerned.

I definitely was not ready to meet anyone yet. The only person i would be glad to talk to right now was the specialist, so that they could tell me how to fix this damn amnesia that is currently ruining my life. Or maybe they could give me a time machine to go back to when i was actually twelve-years-old, back with my friends and my amazing life. Yes, that would be pretty useful too.

I was starting to take my headscarf off because it had suddenly gotten a little warm(or maybe it was just me), when my mum stopped me and informed me that the specialist was a man. I hoped i did not have to get used to wearing the headscarf all the time, because it's quite uncomfortable at times and sometimes i feel like tearing it off of my head when i start to sweat.

The specialist came in a few minutes later, dressed in one of those cool doctor coats and holding an old, green clipboard in his left hand. He was a Malay and rather old, probably in his early fifties but friendly enough to let me be comfortable to answer his questions. A lot of his questions were tough because i simply did not know how to answer them. He showed me some diagrams of the systems in the human body, and also some worksheets with mathematical questions which had a lot of letters in them.

Ma had told him of the subjects i had learned when i was in school, and he was trying to find out whether i could still remember what i had learned. The diagrams about the respiratory system and the structure of an animal cell looked oddly familiar to me, even though nothing popped into my head when he asked me to label the parts because i simply could not remember where i had seen them before. When he told me the answers, i was a little surprised to realise that a part of me had known it, only i could not remember it on my own.

I told the doctor this, and he tried testing me with more diagrams. The same thing had happened to most of them; i somehow have heard of the answers but could not pluck the terms out from my mind. It was like trying to answer a tough quiz question. You know that you have read or learnt it before, but your mind gets blocked and you can't seem to get your finger on it. Then when they show you the correct answer, you get that 'OHHHHHH' feeling.

It was the same for the mathematical questions, only after the specialist had shown me how to answer an algebraic equation only twice, i could immediately do the other questions without getting a single one incorrect.

So it was proven that i could not remember academic stuff i had learnt, but i was a super-quick learner, as if i only needed to be told something i had remembered only once again for me to be able to remember it for good. Everyone would have called me a genius if it really was my first time learning all this, only it wasn't. I was re-learning, and apparently, i'm a very quick re-learner. Maybe all amnesiacs were like that.

Unfortunately, we found out that i could not recall any memory between the end of my last day at school in Australia and the moment i woke up from the coma. So it seemed that the damage in my brain was worse than the doctor had hoped. I started to wonder how exactly i had hit my head so hard for my brain to lose all five years. It seemed unlikely, but here I was.

He said that the only way to recover one's memories is by reliving through them, or by going to places that can stimulate my memories again. Having such an enormous gap of memory, the chances of me remembering everything again wasn't very promising. It was not impossible, but he said i should not put my hopes on it too much.

I was to see the specialist once a week, and a psychologist once a fortnight. My parents were told to help me regain my memories again, but at the same time i should allow them to do it at my own pace. I may get shocked if i knew too much at once, so i was to learn and re-learn my life slowly.

Being the normally-polite person that i was, i thanked the doctor as he left. We checked out of the hospital an hour later. I was going home.

I hoped home had not changed too much, because honestly, i was not sure where home really was anymore.

To be continued...



Please read the first four chapters if you haven't already and want the story to make more sense :)
Thanks for reading! I'll try my best to write more frequently insyaAllah.

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