What‘s in a name? 

The woman can’t remember her name. The man, who claims to be her husband, calls her Lil and says it’s short for Lilia. She’s certain this name must belong to someone else, an impostor maybe. But if so, then who is she?

The man calls himself Doug.

Supposedly, they’ve been married for thirty-two years.

How can that be possible?

She stares at the ceiling, trying to recall—yet again—the series of events that brought her here. Her thoughts are a looping circuit and end, inevitably, where they began.

In her mind’s eye, the woman sees herself slumped against a wall. The man named Doug crouches, staring into her eyes. His mouth moves but she can’t grasp anything he says. She hears only a rush of white noise, a constant buzzing that emanates from somewhere deep inside her brain. The buzz remains faintly detectable, even now.

How much damage has been done?

Her eyes swivel as she attempts to anchor herself, to allay the anxiety creeping beneath her skin. Cables sprout from a nearby monitor, connecting with soft pads that are, in turn, attached to her chest. Her heart can’t be trusted to sustain its rhythm. The doctors claim she was lucky not to have suffered a cardiac arrest.

She doesn’t feel particularly lucky.

The man named Doug says the accident was caused by faulty wiring in their washing machine.

Apparently, it happened in the blink of an eye.

The doctors can’t be sure whether her confusion is temporary, or a more permanent condition—it’s too early to tell. Injuries incurred through electrocution can be complex and difficult to ascertain with any exactness, so they say.

The man named Doug likes to talk. He says she had been a teacher of literature, a professor no less. Is she still a professor, given present circumstances? Or has all that shifted, along with the very foundations of her identity?

Answers remain elusive. 

In any event, she suspects things will never be the same.

The woman turns to see a vase on the bedside table; it is filled with tall, white flowers. She concentrates, trying to recall their botanical name. Words rise to the surface of her consciousness—bees, pollen, rain—but instinctively she knows none of these are correct.

Her eyes well as she looks towards a shaft of sunlight that tumbles through a window and spills across the cold, grey floor.