Gray’s mind appreciated the bitter sweetness of his name. Graham. Gray. Gray. Graham. It was as if the universe was teasing him, his name a constant reminder on the monotony of his life ever since he woke up in that hospitable bed 3 months ago, a year of memories missing from his life, and patchy memories of the year before that. He didn’t know who he became, who he was in the past year or so. He didn’t know who he was. But the name fit. So he went with it.
He was Gray.
He humorlessly rolled his eyes at himself. He wondered if his parents ever thought this would happen to him, knowing how well the name would suit him. But death doesn’t discriminate between the sinners and the saints, he supposes.
He woke to the lack of a shit show that was his life. Everything was ready, everything was too perfect, to prepared for his return. No frantic calls from friends or concerned text messages from anyone. He healed, and then thrown back into a work environment he didn’t even remember. The same schedule every day of every week, living in an average apartment. An average, run of the mill life. No friends, no social life. Just work, doctor appointments and a hole in his chest, a void that never seemed to fill no matter what he tried. The bare basics of a life he wanted to live.
There was no real purpose, real motive to his life. He just got up, completed his day to day chores, went home and slept.
As he paces down the street, he zips up his jacket to protect the wind and rain against his chest, he doesn’t bother lying to himself about his emotions. He’s confused. He’s lonely, and frankly, desperate. His blue hood goes on top of his head, as a foot steps in a puddle, his empty face rippling amongst the grey sky behind him. He smiles crookedly to himself, even the weather was grey.
He wasn’t anxious, and he’s pretty sure he wasn’t depressed. The term was incorrect, much like a baby putting a heart shaped block in a square shape. He wasn’t depressed, but he was missing something. A gaping hole in his chest somehow, craving something he’s never experienced himself. Reminding himself of what he can’t remember. He pulls his hoodie on his head block out the rain.
His mind draws back to a question - Can you truly miss something you’ve never known?
The answer should be simple - can you truly miss something you’ve never known? But it’s not. Because he’s missing something. Something big, but he doesn’t know what. How do you find something if you don’t know what that something is. Gray's pretty sure the answer to that is simple. You can't.
Or you have to get really, really lucky.
He doesn't consider that a quality of his.
He glances down at his watch and muses to himself. Today was different than his monotone life. Today, his work ran overtime. Which sucked- but extra pay was alright.
A flash of lighting struck in the sky, and Gray’s head snapped up, eyes reflecting the striking phenomena. He smiled at the white streak in the sky after it left, because for a split second, seeing the lighting, he felt like himself again. Not worrying about what memories he lost, about who he lost, it was just him and the raw, uncontrolled electricity, feeling the thunder reverberate through the charged atmosphere surrounding him. It was like the whole earth came alive.
It was only dark clouds in his eyesight, surrounding the hustling city. His muscles were tired, his mind was sore and his bag growing heavier by the minute. But the rain belted harder upon him, and he continued to walk faster home among it. His waterproof jacket putting up to the test when he can’t say the same about his socks.
Gray longingly looked at a bus passing by. Despite the overtime, didn’t actually get paid till a few more days, and he didn’t have enough to afford to put money on his bus pass. Can’t spend money you don’t have. So he walked.
Across the road, a little coffee shop came into view in the distance, one he’d only been to once or twice. He checked his watch. 6:45pm. That meant the waitress’ shifts would be changing now.
He paused in the middle of the walkway, staring at his watch, and then through the window of the shop, giving a clear view of the counter. Sure enough, he saw one of the waitress’ grab her bag and leave, a blonde bloke taking her place. His brows furrowed. How did he know when the shifts changed? He never asked any workers their in his brief conversations - did he? Was he a stalker now? No, that couldn’t be right. He only ever ordered. He did a double take of the waitress, her brown ponytail commonly worn in the city. But he knew he’d never seen her before.
He shook his head at himself. Okay, his mind was going weird places they should not be going. He continued to walk home, and he noticed the waitress walking in a parallel direction to him across the road, if slightly ahead. He did a double take. This was his normal route home, he was not stalking her, even if he did know when the shift ended. No! No- he was not thinking about this, his mind was being ridiculous. Taking in stupid information again. Things no one else in their right mind would ever make note of.
He focused on the sound of rain around him, hoping it would drown out his thoughts. To stop the spiral his mind would quickly form. It was then a scream was let out.
Gray’s head snapped up, just in time to see a thief snatch the waitress’ bag. Her face was not one of fear, but anger, irritation and fierceness. Currently holding onto the shoulder strap, in a game of tug of war with the thief in black.
Gray fought the urge to flinch, the sheer ferocity in her voice heard among the still belting rain.
It was then the strap snapped at the seams, the motion toppling the lady over as the thief dashed across the road to Gray’s side, cars honking at him amongst the screeching tires.
Before even realising it, he was sprinting after the thief. His mind zoned in on the mugger’s turning head and surprised expression. A voice in his head laughed at the rookie mistake. Cocky and confident, the self-aware part of Grays brain washing the question of where it came from away, compartmentalizing. Prioritizing the situation at hand.
Gray ran faster into the rain, gaining speed, artfully dodging the few pedestrians walking about, heads snapping at the chase scene happening. Gray kept running, advancing on the thief until he was nearly behind him. His eyes narrowed on the intersection barely 25 meters in front of him, the car headlights flashing by, an easy getaway. Lighting struck in the distance, the very thunder crackingling through his veins, making Gray fuel his muscles with one last boost. Now or never.
Gray left conscious thought behind as he fell backwards and slid against the wet pavement sending his leg out, timed perfectly, knocking the crook off his feet. The thunder cracking as the bag hit the wet sidewalk.
Graham rolled against the wet concrete, fingers clasping the broken bag, snatching it from the ground and pulling it towards his chest before the mugger could grab it. Doing a quick mental check of any injuries, all of which barely surface level, Gray looked up, predatory eyes locking onto the staggering criminal scrambling across the intersection. His eyes narrowed.
It was only once the crook faded into the night when Gray came back to the world, a big grin on his face. He looked around at the few pedestrians filming the scene, a few cheers being let out. He moved his shoulder back and grinned wider. He stared at the bag in his hand, he felt amazing, more alive than he’s ever been before. But confusion took over, as Gray slowly got to a seating position. He stared at the brown bag.
How did he do that?
“Thank you so much!”
Grays head snapped to the waitress who was running towards him, broken strap in her hand as she offered to help him up. Gray smiled and took it, throwing his signature charisma on show.
“I gotta admit, I was ready to chase him down myself, but damn was that impressive!”
Gray smiled like it was no big deal. He could play this off. He knew how he did that, wasn’t as lost as everyone with their phones out filming currently were. Noooo. Absolutely not. He breathed in the scent of rain when he realised.
He wasn’t even out of breath.
“No worries mate, Sorry about stealing your thunder though. I’m sure you would’ve taught him a lesson.” That earned a small laugh from the stranger as he passed the bag to her lightly grazed palms. Eagerly taking and sorting through it.
“Oh you know it, but seriously, how did you do that?”
The question struck true right through to Gray’s chest, because he wished he knew. He pulled that off perfectly. He was always considered an athletic kid in school, but that was school sport carnivals and this was- this was real life. Moves that required heavy training by only the best. His mind didn't even hesitate.
The back of his mind says the thought is familiar, but he shoves it aside, barely registering it.
She continued sorting through her bag, and when he didn’t reply, she took the questing look on his face the only way she knew how.
“Just making sure nothing fell out”
Gray’s wondering mind centered back to the world.
“Ah, okay. Would you like me to call the cops for you? I’d be happy to wait if you need.”
“No, No. That’s fine. I’ll call my girlfriend first. She’s always worried sick when I work the later shifts.”
Gray smiled, “well she’ll be glad to know you’re okay. I’m Gray, Gray Arden, by the way.” He held out a hand for her to shake, which she tool gladly.
Gray took off before things could get awkward, only sticking around for the two or so people requesting photos with him. Which was a foreign concept to him, and they turned out horrible with the rain regardless.
Gray nears his apartment, more spring in his step than before. He felt great. Better than ever before. This was living. He should be a stunt man or something. That way he’d get to do more of this kind of thing for a living. The thought was entertaining.
When was the last time he felt like this? So free and comfortable without some cloud reining over him, his life. The last time he remembers… was the few precious moments with Carmen.
The questions slither into his mind again. Why did she have such a hold on his mind? Why did she recognise him. He has no idea- no record of what the hell happened in his over year of missing memories, and she was his first- his only clue to stand a chance at piecing it together. To figure out what that something is. What is gone, missing. What teared his life to shreds.
A boot hits a building wall before continuing down the street. Who even was he anymore? What so key, so fundamental to his life that he felt like this without it? And what did Carmen know?
He enters his apartment building, up the stairs and into his flat, all cold and soaking wet. He looks out the window into the ocean of storm amongst the skies. He longs to be among the lightning. The question circles back to his mind.
Can you truly miss something you’ve never known?
Gray doesn’t have an answer. But thinks the word ‘miss’ has different meanings in different contexts.