“The past, the present, and the future walked into a bar. It was tense” - Lex Martin
Daisy opened her eyes and looked at the reflection in the mirrored glass in the hospital room. Who is that? She thought. The figure had several bandages on her face and arms. A nurse approached her bedside, saw her wide eyes, and quickly summoned other staff members.
“Code amber room 216” nurse Julie said softly into the speaker of the watch she wore on her wrist. That was code for “she’s awake, come quickly.” The message was spoken softly because other patients in the ward were trying to sleep. It was late - 10:26 p.m.; pain medicine was not due to be dispensed until 11:00 p.m. for those that needed it, so Julie was trying awfully hard not to wake them. Then she looked at Daisy and said
“Don’t be alarmed, that is your reflection. Your name is Daisy Ravenwood and you have been in a coma for eleven days. You were in a car accident and brought here to Trinity Hospital. You had to have surgery to repair some internal injuries but had a reaction to anesthesia and it sent you into a coma. What is the last thing you remember?”
The patient thought long and hard, but nothing came to mind. At last a faint thought - I have a Cocker Spaniel named Princess. Last year, in 2025, she turned 18; I’d been her guardian for two years. I hope someone is looking after her, she must be very worried.
The nurse looked stunned. “Daisy, it is the year 2020.”
“Let’s just take one day at a time. If I can help allay any fears or concerns, I will. The doctors and I are hopeful that your “memories” will return. I can only imagine what it must be like to see your own reflection and not know who you are - believe me, we will do whatever we can to help you. I’m going to turn out the lights so you can rest. You’ve had enough stress for one day.” She handed the patient a strawberry flavored sleep gummy.
“It’s all natural - melatonin, but it will help you to relax and sleep. It also has blackcurrant which will help you calm down. They are perfectly safe - I use them myself.”
Daisy felt a bit more comfortable with the lights out because she couldn’t see the strange reflection in the mirror. None of what the nurse said made any sense - 2020 indeed. Maybe this was a bad dream and she would wake from it soon. Her eyelids grew heavy from the melatonin; she would remember more another time. Just before she drifted off Daisy saw several men in white coats gathered outside the door talking to the nurse - she could not remember her name or how she knew her. This had to be a bad dream. To sleep, perchance to wake in 2026 again; but that was not to be.
The gathered figures left without disturbing her - they would be back and would fire questions at her, press areas of her head to get her to remember, show her pictures - none of which would mean anything to her. How did she know all that? She thought to herself - Princess, if you can hear me, I’ll be home as soon as I can. I love you. Joe, my Joe, where are you? A tear ran down her cheek as she thought about her soulmate. They had been inseparable since they met in April of 2024 at the Subway on the corner near her Dr.’s office. Both had ordered the same meats and toppings - even the same orange juice and potato chips. Joe had piercing blue eyes that melted her heart and matched her own. She would have to ask them tomorrow if Joe had called them or come to see her. She felt a warm blanket placed over her - that was a comfort, she was getting cold. Then she felt a prick in her arm from a needle and she was out cold in a few seconds - it was medicine to help her sleep.
The next day a stream of people, one after the other, asked her questions. The nutritionist wanted to know what her favorite vegetables were, meats, and beverages… Of course, Daisy had no recollection of having favorites - it was getting very frustrating. If only she could remember. Then she got visits from people she “knew” - that was hard, as she didn’t even know their names or where she knew them from. Were they relatives? Friends? It was all so confusing. Test after test was done and “vitals” were taken on the hour every hour. Daisy longed to see a familiar face or at least remember something from her past, anything. Would she recover? How would she return to work if she didn’t even know what her job was or the company that she worked for? Maybe she was a writer or someone who worked from home - nothing, no hints, no glimmer of hope. Before things happened, she had memories but as soon as they became the present - gone! Daisy avoided looking in any mirrors or reflections in the glass; it was too frightening to see a stranger; even though on one level she knew it had to be herself.
Daisy was sent to a sanatorium for her own safety/ wellbeing. With no memories of the past it was decided that she would not be able to function in society on her own without 24 hour supervision. She might burn herself in the bathwater, leave food cooking on the stove, lose her way on buses or trains, any number of catastrophes. Whispering Pines had two “residents” per room. The “guests” were kept on medication so they wouldn’t become a burden. Daisy became friends with her roommate, Mrs. Johnson. Mrs. Johnson was an empath (she could feel everything) so she was labeled as “crazy” and institutionalized. Daisy understood her and tried to help her new friend. She must have read about empaths and sensitives before being sent to Whispering Pines, although, again, she had no recollection.
Then one day in October, in honor of St. Francis of Assisi day, the “guests” had visits from therapy animals or their own pets if they had them. Mrs. Johnson’s dog looked vaguely familiar to Daisy. She knew those paws and those eyes from somewhere - but where? Mrs. Johnson introduced her to the dog who instantly took to Daisy.
“This is Princess, my friend for life. I can only hope that when I leave this world a good person will come along who will take care of her for me and cherish her as much as I have.”
Daisy smiled and said, “oh I am certain that such a person will definitely have a place in your life; in fact, she’s already here.”
“Oh Daisy, yes, you would be perfect to take care of Princess, thank you so much. You have eased my burden - I know she will be taken care of now.”
Mrs. Johnson passed in her sleep that very night. The next day they found a note from her in the form of a last will and testament that two night shift nurses had witnessed. It left all her assets, including Princess, to Daisy with the condition that Daisy take care of her beloved dog for the balance of its natural life.
After the funeral Daisy received the first of monthly installments from Mrs. Johnson’s pension. She was able to leave the Pines and pay for 24 hour nursing care in her own home.
“Princess, that was all your doing wasn’t it?”
The dog responded by putting her paw in her hand. Daisy knew - it was meant to be. The first nurse she had in the daytime reminded her of someone - Joe! The nurse was Joe’s brother - small world!