It’s September 2016.
I suppose anyone reading this already knew that, but I didn’t. Not until I saw Solveig’s phone. Craig reported me missing a few days after we split up – in July 2015. Fourteen months of my life have disappeared and I don’t know where they went. I don’t know where I was last Christmas, I’ve turned 33 without knowing it.
Every time I think about it, that riptide of pins and needles comes rushing at me, and I have to lean over and do some circular yoga breathing. I’m waiting for Solveig to bring me to the hospital for a brain scan, because obviously the A & E doctor the other night missed a pretty hefty concussion. She can arrange for that kind of thing, because she finished her qualifications – months and months ago – and she’s a proper psychologist now.
A forensic psychologist in fact. She’s always wanted to specialise in advising the police about the psychology of crimes, and that’s exactly what she’s doing. There’s some horrific spate of murders going on in the Western Highlands, and they’ve brought her in to analyse the crime scenes. That’s how she’s in touch with Mila and Henrik and why they asked her to look in on the nutcase they had just interviewed… and that nutcase turned out to be me.
Granny. I need to go and see my wee Granny the minute we’re finished at the hospital. If she hasn’t seen or heard from me in a year, she must have been doing her nut. I feel terrible for putting her through all this worry, even though I– well, I suppose I’m assuming I couldn’t help it, but let’s face it, I don’t have a clue.
Was it the attacker? Did he take me somewhere, tie me up, put me through something so horrific that my brain has blocked the whole thing out? The thought sends icy chills all through me.
Solveig explained how that happens sometimes, if someone goes through something traumatic their mind locks it away to protect them – but if that’s the case, I wish my mind hadn’t bothered. It’s worse not to know, because I keep imagining. Wondering exactly what it was that was so terrible. Because I’m pretty tough. I remember the initial attack fine. I’m not saying it was a barrel of laughs, but I’ve done a lot of fight training, I know that being beaten up wouldn’t traumatise me as such. So was it sexual? Torture? Some kind of mad mind games that screwed up my brain forever?
I hate this. I hate not knowing, I hate feeling as though I’ve lost my mind. For some reason the thought that Granny must have spent Christmas on her own last year keeps making me want to cry. If I could just get hold of a magic genie right now, all I’d want is to go back to a couple of days – or a year – ago when I was busy hating the wee man in orange who told me to cheer up. I wouldn’t even ask for Craig back, I just want me back.
As I was falling asleep last night, I suddenly got the weirdest sensation of floating. I couldn’t tell if it was dizziness or a memory, but I lay still and tried to remember. After a minute I realised that focussing on remembering was probably the last thing that would work, so I cleared my mind instead – thank you years of yoga practice – let it go into soft focus and dawdle through thoughts as it pleased.
It was a memory. I’m sure it was a memory. It drifted across the very edge of my mind, but I’m certain it was real. I remember seeing the night sky, moonlight peering out from behind cloud, and feeling the rise and swell of big waves. I was lying in some kind of boat or raft, and we were being battered about by what had to be open sea.
But that was it. I can’t even be 100% sure it’s a memory; it could be a dream or just some mad impression conjured up by brain damage. Excellent.