My stomach growled at me then and I realized I was hungry. I thought that perhaps all the confusion was simply due to my hunger. I walked over to the small kitchen area again and on my way I kicked aside the sheets and blankets that I had thrown onto the floor. Something fluttered into my vision. I paused and looked down. Next to the sheets was a small piece of paper. I bent down to pick it up. The paper was stiff and as I turned it over, I realized I was holding onto a photograph.
As I sat back down at the foot of the bed I inspected the bent image. In it were three people standing in front of a building and smiling at the camera, arms around each other in familiarity. One man had blonde hair and a forced smile, eyes squinting against the sun. His outside arm was bent so that his hand rested against his stomach and his other draped over a woman’s shoulders. The woman did not have her arm around him, however. She stood with one arm outstretched, a grin expanding across her face, and the other around the third person. The woman had dark, curly hair and wore a button-down with the sleeves rolled up and the buttons done just up to reveal the slightest line of cleavage. Her face was filled with joy, shown by the fan of wrinkles at the corners of her dark eyes. She was a beautiful woman.
The third was a man slightly taller than the first with dark brown hair and genuine no-teeth-showing smile. This man held the woman around the waist in a way that might suggest the two were intimate. I looked closely at this man, realizing I knew him from somewhere. Comforted by the recognition, I stared at him, searching the image further as if it might eventually show me the man’s name. However, the more I stared at the flattened ears and rectangular jaw, the more I realized I knew him and the more I realized I did not know his name.
It suddenly dawned on me that perhaps the reason I was holding the photograph was because it belonged to me and if it belonged to me then the people in the photograph should have been people I knew well. However I only recognized one. I reached up to scratch my chin, rubbing my fingers against newly grown stubble in contemplation. That was the moment I realized who the man in the photograph was. The man with the dark brown hair was me.
However the most surprising moment of this realization was when I decided I needed confirmation. I couldn’t be sure, and this uncertainty scared me. How could I not know who I was? If I couldn’t remember my own face, my own name, then what could I remember?
I stumbled over to the other side of the cabin where the faucet and cabinets were. I searched in each one, looking for some sort of reflective surface. If I didn’t know my own name, at least I knew what a mirror was. In one of the drawers I found a set of silverware. I took out one of the large knives and stared at its dull surface.
It was a fuzzy image and somewhat distorted but I did manage to see the main features- the jaw the hair, the thin stretch of lips. It was the confirmation I needed but it did not answer anything. In fact, it only made me question more. I realized then I knew hardly anything about myself. Not only did I not know why I was in my current situation, but what my past situation was as well. I didn’t know those people in the photograph and yet I had my arms around them.
I put the knife away then, shocked. I reached up to my hair as I backed into the coffee table and nearly fell over. I sat down and stared at my own hands. For all I was aware, they were normal hands with nothing to distinguish them as mine. I looked at my shoes and suddenly felt a hatred for them. I can only guess the reason I suddenly hated everything around me was because I felt like I possessed none of it. Everything seemed like a hideous ghost to a past that I did not remember.