Isolation Island 2 - Dream Archaelogy
I dressed. My clothes were on the back of the chair at the foot of my bed. Grey boxers, grey tracksuit bottoms, grey T shirt, grey cardigan and black trainers.
The Colonel took me round the house: two bedrooms, one toilet, one shower, one kitchen and a communal area with seating, two tables, a chess set and a jigsaw of the Cutty Sark.
Before going out I went into the bathroom to pee.
In the bathroom was a mirror. The word came to me as I looked at it. It showed my reflection, my face.
For the first time, or at least the first time since my memory was wiped, I saw myself as others saw me. The face reflected back at me was white, male, still youngish, whatever that means, short brown hair, blue eyes, shy blue eyes that seemed afraid of my own gaze.
So this was Terrence. This was me.
What was I before I came here? Who was I? Why was I here? Where was here? Thoughts raced through my head.
How long had I been in my bed with the Colonel on lookout? If felt like a long time, like the sleep was a deep, wide ocean distancing me from my former self.
A memory came back to me. I remembered that while I was lying there, while I slept, life went on in my head. Dreams, instinctively I knew the word, recognised the meaning. Dreams are a nonsense, a surreal jumble of thoughts with no meaning, and yet - and yet - they are constructed from memory. From my reality. Like a building constructed using the reassembled bricks, stones and rubble of the wreckage of the building before it. If I studied the bricks, if I studied the stone, I could find out about my past. Dream archaeology.
I concentrated. I tried to recall the 'dreams'. Images flowed through my mind. Words flowed alongside, issuing meaning, or at least trying to. I am in my lab. I am searching for a cure. The virus. A young girl is there, though she shouldn't be, she doesn't belong. My daughter. A fog. Bodies. Piles of bodies in the street. My lab again. A warthog. A woman. A woman I recognise as my wife. Bodies. The virus. My lab. A fog.
No. No. No. It was too much. I couldn’t handle the flood of images, of dreams, of memory. I had barely woken from my slumber, it was too soon to try testing my memory. Should I even be trying? If I’d consented to having my memory wiped, for whatever reason, why should I go against myself, fight my own will, by searching for memories?
And yet. I studied my face in the mirror. This was the face of the old me. The face in my dreams. The version of me who no longer existed.
Terrence had no right to this face. He had done nothing to earn it, it bore the lines, wrinkles, scars, tan and mischief of another life. Terrence was a fiction, somebody else’s creation.
I peed and washed my hands. I dried them on the towel that the Colonel had given me.
There was nothing more to do here. And yet - I looked one more time at my reflection. 'I am Terrence' I told myself, though my reflection looked back at me doubtfully.