My life has been a struggle but has also been exciting. As for the moment, there are lots of things I don't remember.
I had moved back to my hometown in 2017. I hadn't been here in 25 years. "Wow, feels good to be home."
This was a place I tried to run from for 18 years and now, 25 years later, I am running back.
The lake was always so inviting. I live on a lake called Texoma. It is right on the red river between Oklahoma and Texas. I am originally from Oklahoma too but have lived all over since I graduated high school. Illinois, Virginia, Florida, Mississippi, and Texas. But I had been to far more places than that.
My family is here in Oklahoma. But as for my small town, I wanted to be as far away from it as I could. That was the teenager in me. Now, in my 40's, this small town in the sticks is really a good place to be, I think.
I keep seeing new faces and others I remember and have missed. My best friend Vanessa is one of the ones I missed tremendously. She keeps saying I need a man. Even to this day.
"Charlie, you need a man. You've been divorced for 7 years now. It's time to start dating." The phone seemed to be my enemy when it got to that part of the conversation. "Come on. Come over and we will have some sister time and talk about hot guys."
"Sure thing." I drove the 2 and a half minutes to her house and we talked throughout the night. It was like we had never been apart.
The days were going by as I noticed people looking at me. I wasn't sure why. Did I have something on me? Was it my Harley Davidson tattoos or my tongue piercing? I was starting to get a bit self-conscious. It was like they knew me or something.
I worked at a convenience store. I hated it really, but I saw so many people from high school, it was like a reunion every day.
"Hey, Micheal! I almost didn't recognize you!"
"Oh my God, Charlie! How long has it been? Like 17 years?" He asked.
"More like 25." I belted with a laugh.
"Wow, that long? Have you seen Theo yet?" His excitement grew as he raised the question.
I was confused. Who was Theo? So I just answered his question and went on. "No, not yet I haven't."
"Good. I want to be the one to tell him you're back." His smile was so wide, I swear I could see through him.
"Um… Ok… if that's what you want. Go for it." I'm screaming inside. Oh God, who is Theo, and what kind of trouble have I gotten myself into. I should have answered honestly, but that is so ridiculous to come out with so quickly.
The days flew by and I saw so many new people. People that I recognized and vice versa. Some said they were from here, but I had no clue who they were.
As I walked to my car, one day after work, I was approached by a guy. "Hey, Charlie!" He shouted as he ran toward me. I was a bit creeped out. I didn't know who he was, so I acted like I didn't hear him and drove off.
Later, mom and I decided to go through some old photos, mostly family photos. It was nice taking a trip down memory lane. There were so many pictures from so many different places my mom, dad, my brother, and I had gone.
This particular weekend, I had happened to have off. I decided my son and I needed some fun, so we went to the lake. We're in the water splashing and having fun with so many others there until I saw that same guy. He was calling my name. I told Chris it was time to dry off and leave. "We will hit a movie later." He got all excited.
"My choice?" He asked. "Because I want to go see The Emoji Movie."
"You bet," I whispered, so the guy wouldn't hear our plans. I felt as if I had a stalker.
Finally, Sunday morning. Mom wanted us to go to church with her. She actually wanted me to start working there in the nursery. So off we went. It was so surreal. Seeing all those people that had watched me and my brother grow up. There was no one there my age anymore but him. Omg, why was he here.? Who is this guy?
After church, I hurried to my car. I told mom we had plans. I just wanted to get out of there.
As I got into my car, my mom walked over. "Aren't you going to say something? He is hollering at you."
My frustration level was through the roof.
"I guess," I mumbled.
"Ok. Have a good day. If you need us, call my cell. Your dad and I are going to a friend's tonight.
"Ok, mom." I hugged her and she walked to her car.
"Charlie!" I heard from where my mom had been standing. "I thought I'd never get your attention. Micheal told me you moved back." Before I could say anything, he decided to continue. "It has been like 24, 25 years since we have seen each other."
Now that confused me. Who was this guy, I thought to myself? I just looked at him dumbfounded. I couldn't speak.
"To celebrate this momentous occasion of reacquainting ourselves, let's go out." He paused. "Charlie, would you go out with me?"
I just stared at him.
"You look so confused." His observation was true. I was very confused.
"Not to be mean or anything, but I don't know you. What is your name?" It was like I hit his emotions with a sledgehammer. He looked so devastated.
"You were my high school crush. We like went everywhere together, you, me and Vanessa." His disappointed words blew me away. He started walking off.
"Wait, wait!" I let out. "I need to explain."
He turned around and walked back. "So you do remember me and lied? Was I that much of a loser, the moment you move away, you forget who I am?" He inquired of me the truth.
"Not exactly. There was no lie." I explained.
"So what then?" He seemed to be getting angry.
"Well, in 2014, I was in the hospital for 2 weeks. While I was there, I had started to choke on nothing." I laughed. "Who does that?" I questioned, not needing an answer. "I couldn't catch my breath, so I ran out to the hall after a nurse. No one was answering when I hit the call button. So while I ran to the hall, I passed out before getting there. I passed out straight into the thin edge of the metal door, splitting my head open and cracking my skull and cracking my skull on the back of my head when I landed."
"Omg, ouch." He raised his finger to my forehead and ran it down my long scar. "Is that what caused this?"
"Yes," I explained. "But it doesn't stop there, I had such a bad concussion, I had a stroke the next day. I had amnesia for like 6 weeks. I didn't even know my own kids." I looked up at him. I saw the worry in his eyes. "The doctor said there may be a chance I will never remember everything. So I am sorry if I don't remember you, it's not because I forgot you, it's because I have forgotten part of me. But there is a funny side. When people ask me about it, I must tell them they should see the other guy."
He chuckled at that then looked at me with those intense eyes. His glare and worry had softened into understanding. He turned around and walked away. I don't know why, but I was devastated. But then, he started walking back to me.
" Hi, I'm Theo." He stuck his hand out and I gave mine with a smile. "What's your name." I gave him a smirky smile and laughed.
"Well, Charlie, how would you like to go out and have some fun and maybe talk about ourselves a little." He smiled at me with the most courageous smile.
"Yeah, why not," I said. He spent the entire afternoon with my son and me.
It is now 2021, and he is my best friend and he is married to an amazing person… me.
✴✴✴✴this story is true to a point. I did have the accident and the stroke. I also had amnesia for 6 weeks and have memories still coming back. I also live in oklahoma and have been everywhere but that's as far as it goes.
I really hope you enjoyed this bit of fiction. I am actually glad I could use some of my real-life experiences in a story.✴✴✴✴