As an undergraduate, Sam studied neuroscience. In his proper mind, he will find what is happening to him fascinating. His brain was busy restoring neural networks, causing patterns of synaptic activity that made up memory, thereby slowly regaining his sense of self. Our memory makes us us. They are connective tissues not only between our past and present, but also between us and the people we love.
About a month after recovering, Sam said he wanted to talk. He asked a friend why I don’t visit more often, and this friend said we weren’t together anymore.
Sam asked me what had happened.
“You fell in love with me,” I said.
I did not know. That was the point in our story where his experience diverged from mine. “You were ready to move on,” I said.
“I feel like I have to experience the feeling of breaking up again,” he said.
When I got home by bicycle, I realized that I was doing that too. In the process of talking to Sam about our past, I made a new story, which ended with us returning together. I was daydreaming about the end of Hollywood, without questioning whether it was what either of us wanted.
Five months later, Sam was discharged. He dragged a slight leg to his bones and had a metal toolbox, but he left his beautiful brain alone.
After that conversation, we weren’t talking about our relationship, but he became an important part of my life again. One night, just a few weeks after he was released, I was at a party when a friend said, “It would be really hard for Sam to have a new girlfriend.” I shed tears.