Ididn’t care as to what she was saying. I simply kept walking.
A minute later, as I stepped inside after paying the entrance fee, I felt quite familiar. The kids were playing at the football ground. I know that I had never been here before but some memories were ringing a bell.
I could clearly see myself as a young, 15-year-old boy playing soccer with some friends – a young boy with silky black hair wearing a pair of light green jersey running after a football. These memories were coming in front of my eyes.
No, that cannot be me. I must be thinking of a movie’s scene.
As I turned back to leave, I saw Kiran standing right behind me holding a photograph. She wanted me to have a look at it. In the photo, the same boy I was thinking of was standing holding the same football wearing the same jersey and shorts.
“Who is he?”
“This is you when you were young,” Kiran tells me.
“That… that can’t be tr… true.” I looked back at the ground where the kids were playing coming up with new memories now.
The same kid was dashing and fell down hurting his knee. He then took the penalty and the goalkeeper was unable to stop the football, resulting in a goal point for the opposition team.
Yes, these memories were very true. But why was I unable to recall these incidents of the past.
I was confused looking at the football ground and the places surrounding it for they seemed familiar making me think of my past.
In a conversation with the psychiatrist a day before, she said, “I have figured out his disease. But I still want him to be here.”
“What is his disease?” Kiran asked.
“It’s called Dissociative Fugue Disorder. This disease involves unplanned travelling to a different state and forming a new identity.”
“Take me home please,” I tell Kiran, feeling ill and uncomfortable.
“Sure,” Kiran lies with a secret plan.
The psychiatrist’s words follow: “The way you told me Kiran, that your husband left Pakistan for the US and after he was brought back, he refused to accept that he was your husband Hannan. Why? Because he had formed a new identity as…”
“Jason something,” Kiran finished understanding her husband’s case.
“This disease can be cured.”
“Can you tell me something?” Kiran asked her. “What causes this disorder?”
I hold my head as new memories popped in front of me. Kiran was driving the car gently but impatiently. I was expecting that we were headed home, but she was headed somewhere else.
“Some incidents in life,” the psychiatrist narrated, “with which a person is unable to cope causes it. Now you told me that two years back he was unable to cope with his mother’s unexpected death.”
“So his mother’s death resulted in this fugue disorder?” Kiran asked.
“Exactly. Now what you need to do is quite simple. First of all you need to make sure that he’s calm during the duration of the treatment.”
“Take him to all those places where he has spent his childhood.”
Kiran rushes towards a stairway inside an old building, holding my arm tightly and pulling me with her.
“Where are you taking me?” I question trying to resist. “What is this place?”
“I want you to observe,” she instructs, “look around carefully.” I let go off my arm and stop walking with her.
“Calm down,” she says, “and then see if it rings a bell.” I take a breath and then look at the apartment on the left.
Yes, the house seemed quite familiar.
In the recollection I could clearly see a young boy walking with an older man who was probably his father who was holding some shopping bags.
“Dad can I help you with these?” the young boy’s voice echoes.
I am getting really tensed now. I should run away now.
I turn around and rush as fast as I can.
“Hannan!” Kiran screams.
I keep running until I’m out of the building and my feet trip over something.
A few days earlier I said to Kiran: “I remember I was an undercover cop in San Francisco, investigating my friends’ wife’s murderer.”
“What?” she asked feeling weird. “An undercover cop?” I wasn’t paying attention and looked outside the window.
She, however continued speaking: “You always wanted to be an undercover agent when you were here with us two years back. Don’t you remember anything?”
“Can you lend me some money, please?” I interrupted her.
Today, I wake up with a blurred vision. Everything seems different; I know who I really am. I’m not Jason Brown but am Hannan Khan.
I remember now. My mother died due to lung failure. I could have saved her but couldn’t manage to do so. Yes, I was guilty. I couldn’t cope with what I was responsible. So, I left my city without informing anyone and started a new life.
“Honey?” Kiran’s voice disturbs my thoughts. I look at her sitting on the same bed where I was lying.
“Do you remember now, Hannan?” she asks feeling really concerned.
“I remember everything,” I speak honestly. “Some memories have still not recovered completely, but I remember being a part of this home.” She smiles feeling really thankful.
“How did you find me in San Francisco?”
“We all thought you were dead. Mr. Faheem, if you remember our neighbour, was in San Francisco and saw you there. He informed me and then we planned a way to get you back; the most difficult part for us was how to go around your newly formed identity.”
“Right,” I stay silent for a couple of seconds and then speak up, “how is Umar by the way?”
“He’s fine but is upset with you.”
“I’ll make it up to him. Everything’s going to be fine and we’ll be a family again.” I look at Kiran who was really happy on what she just heard from me.
It’s been three months since my recovery. I’m absolutely fine now and living a happy life with my family. But after the psychiatrist’s advice, we are moving from here. Yes, we are shifting from this house and moving to another apartment.
Right now, I am standing next to our building with Umar looking at the movers who are carrying our furniture.
Umar does not seem to be happy.
“What’s bothering you?” I ask him.
“I don’t want to leave my friends.”
“Come on, you’ll make new friends there.”
“But I like it here. I’ll miss everyone here.”
I can’t answer him for a moment, but I speak anyway. “Look Umar, we’re not leaving the city. You can come here every weekend and meet your friends.”
“Really?” he asks hopefully.
“I promise you, I’ll drop you whenever you’ll ask me to.” He was smiling now. I look up and see Kiran coming towards us. As I look at her, I realise how much she has suffered because of me. I really am thankful to her for all she has done for me.
“Is everything good?” I ask her.
“Yep; they are ready to leave with our stuff within a few minutes.”
“So we better get going,” I say taking out the car keys.
Kiran takes the car keys from me and says, “Let me drive.”
I don’t answer because I’m a bit overwhelmed after hearing this. She leaves and Umar follows her. They reach towards the car and she unlocks the front door.
I follow them happily wondering what more does anyone want when they have a caring and supporting family.
“They say every ending is a new beginning. And this is what’s happening with me right now. The end of Jason Brown’s life is but a beginning of Hannan Khan’s new life.” •
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