Very gradually the sound of church bells filtered through his subconscious. The room was in darkness and through that darkness he heard his Anna calling to him. His mind in a turmoil he struggled to remember where he was. What language was Anna speaking? Although it wasn’t English he understood every word. And Anna what was she doing here? It was more than five tearful years since her passing but here she was calling to him to get up to go to church. They never went to church, he used to joke it was against his religion. And the church bells what was that about? They lived nowhere near a church. At that moment Anna came into the room a young dark haired Anna with a high collared white blouse, a wide black belt, a floral skirt over a hooped petticoat and black ballerina shoes. She opened the shutters. The shutters? They didn’t have shutters they had curtains the same as all the rest of the houses in their road. Come to that how come Anna was so young. Was he dreaming now or was he dreaming before and had he now woken up to reality. The view from the window was of mountains with their snow covered ice topping. He rose from the bed and crossed the room making toward the window but he stopped in his tracks as he caught sight of himself in a mirror. A much younger him; a slimmer him, a blonde haired him; he was mystified but continued toward the window. The scene was at once familiar and completely unexpected. The square had the church in one corner, a café and shops filled the sides of the square and the mountainous backdrop completed the revealed picture.
Slowly he became aware of other voices penetrating his thoughts. “Will he recover?” a voice said. A voice he recognized as their son Robert. “I’m afraid there is little chance of that,” an authoritative voice replied, “it’s only the support machine keeping him alive. There is virtually no brain activity at all; it is a very deep coma, even the support machine is struggling.”
“We must keep him alive while there is any chance of recovery” he heard his son say. “No. no, no,” Graham screamed although no sound was heard,” you can’t do this to me, let me go let me join my Anna I don’t want to be here”.
Quickly he showered and dressed in his tan slacks and a wine red shirt more and more he identified with his surroundings here with his French speaking Anna and as he did so his former life faded and disappeared.
“I’m afraid it’s no good Robert” the consultant said “I’m afraid we have lost him”.