Bright flashes of light.
Tingling all over.
He gasped for air as he opened his eyes, only to blink a few times then close them again. Finally, after several attempts, he was able to keep them open.
Looking around he quickly realized he was in a hospital room. The odd scent was the alcohol and sterilization solutions. The tingling was his body trying to awake from a coma. He tried his hands, they worked. His toes. Legs. Minutes, seemingly an eternity later he managed to sit up. Everything felt strange to him.
He tried to swing his feet out of the bed to use the restroom, but felt weak and stiff, when he remembered the nurse call buttons, found said button and pressed it. Within seconds a nurse came in, eyes grew wide when she rushed back out only to return with a doctor moments later.
“This is amazing!” the doctor cheered, only to poke and prod around on Corbin, which he let happen patiently.
“I do have to use the restroom …” he finally remarked.
“Nurse, get the bed pan please.” the doctor ordered, barely able to contain his excitement about the miraculous recovery of a patient thought done for.
“Ah, no. I’d prefer the … conventional facilities.” Corbin argued.
“I am not sure your legs will carry you just yet. It is amazing they they work at all. You were supposed to be paralyzed. This is just short of a miracle.”
“The restroom… it’s becoming pretty urgent.” Corbin interrupted.
He was assisted into the room by the doctor and asked to leave the door cracked.
Finally back in bed, he had to endure dozens of tests until it got quiet again, but not until several different doctors and professors had stopped by to analyze him like a lab specimen.
He had answered their questions. Yes, he remembered his name. His birth date. What happened. Well, for the most part at least. It did appear that the past few years were missing. He had literally slept through them in his coma.
At some point a dark haired young man who introduced himself as Liam stopped by, evidently very moved to see him awake and so much recovered. He seemed nice enough, even though Corbin felt bad that he did not remember him. Listening to the stories the young man told, Corbin felt like he was reading a book, but here he was the protagonist.
Liam would stop by over the next weeks, occasionally he’d bring pictures or other people, whom he patiently introduced and slowly Corbin’s memory came back, incoherent though, like pieces of a 1000 part puzzle tossed to the floor. Putting the picture together was tedious, but more and more things began to make sense again.
Recovery was slow, but constant. While he would never make a career in athletics and had problems walking great distances, the day to day activities caused him less and less issues. He was home now. At least he was told this was his home. Nothing looked familiar. It felt quiet. Too quiet.
This soon changed. An attractive redhead stopped by, hugging and loving on him, crying with relief that he was well. His permanently disfigured face did not seem to bother her at all. Her name was Donna and supposedly once upon a time she had been his secretary – and lover.
She cooked for him, doted on him – and spend the night with him.
Definitely better than all those nights alone.
She came by often after that. It made him feel good seeing her, hearing her melodic voice, feeling her warm body next to his at night.
Over the past months he had several female visitors, all very different women of different ages, the one common denominator they shared was that they were all attractive and all elated to see him.
And all more than eager to take him to the bedroom. He went along with this at first, pleased to be wanted despite his apparent and undeniable disfiguration and physical limitations, until he was picked up by Liam one night, to have dinner with him and his wife at their house.
They had four kids, it was loud, chaotic, but nice and cozy at the same time.
Once the kids were in bed, he sat with Liam and Leonie over a glass of wine by their fireplace, trading memories of times long gone, watching them exchanging loving glances.
This is when Corbin decided, that this was what he needed.
The next day he found himself looking through old photos and found his wedding album. He seemed so young, so different, like another person. The woman in the images next to him was beaming, looking at him lovingly and eager to embark on their journey together.
Emily, his now ex-wife, had come to see him too, briefly. That look was no longer present in her eyes, had given way to a mixture of worry, pity, regret and a hint of disdain.
Still, the following day he visited her and their children. Or at least that had been the plan. He came to find that life had a way of moving on without him.
While he was in a coma, his little girl had blossomed into a teen and only marginally seemed excited to see him. His middle child, also no longer a lanky teenage boy but a young man in college, had moved out and lived with friends near the campus. His oldest boy was all grown up and had gotten married while Corbin was still in a coma. He and his wife both lived here but were at work. From Emily he learned they would soon start a family of their own.
The next generation of Bjergsens.
Not at all as he had pictured it, once upon a time, when he had imagined himself as a grey haired grandfather rocking happy grandchildren on his lap by the fire. He no longer lived here and at this point his three kids barely knew him. They were close once, but when he lost his ways and scoring with other women had become his focus, he inadvertendly had not only pushed his wife away, but also his kids. Jonah, his oldest, was the only one who had at least tried to retain some sort of relationship with his father, but eventually given up on Corbin as well. And from what he had found out about his behavior before the tragedy he felt it was probably best to keep it that way.
His ex-wife was pleasant yet cool towards him and it was clear there was no interest on her side to rekindle whatever they may have had at some point. Whatever he had done, had killed every last ounce of love she may have felt for him.
He apologized for whatever he may have put her through – and meant it.
She seemed appeased but still tentative.
Still, while the visit had not gone as he had faintly hoped it may, it made the next steps very clear to him.
One by one he gently broke it off with all the women in his life. The reception of the news was halted to say the least, but he remained stern.
One woman, a hot-blooded Latina did not take too kindly to the news. What she said he would never know, as Spanish was not his strong suit, but it certainly were no pleasantries as she ended her rant by slamming his front door behind her that the walls shook.
Then they were all gone.
All but one.
He took Donna for a romantic dinner, and asked her to go steady.
She was very excited about it. So excited that she kept getting nauseated all night. Maybe a stomach bug. Or maybe some other reason, Corbin suspected, and was not too certain how he felt about it just yet, but if it were to be, it would be.
Either way, this would be a new beginning for him. He felt that he had been given a second chance on life and was bound and determined to make it count.
He would ask her to marry him. He would ask her to move away with him, truly start over somewhere. As a couple. Or a family.