“No. I am not Sam. I am Samantha!”, A six year old girl was heard telling her friends on her first day at school. Later, as the years passed, she found herself repeating the same words over and over, even now as she was having a long island chilled ice tea at a NY restaurant with some friends.
“My name is not Sam, or Sammy, it’s just Samantha!” She said to a nice looking guy with retro style hair and eye glasses.
“OMG! He called me Sam!”. She said few minutes later to her friends. “So her lame date was over. That was the excuse I needed to get rid of Kyle Anderson”. Her friends knowing her well laughed and cheered her up.
“I am just getting tired of beating that same dead horse over and over again, If I tell a guy not to call my Sammy or Sam, he should listen. Because I’m not a Sam. Sam is a boy’s name or to tomboyish for me. Samantha is a very pretty name isn’t it?”
Her three best friends Claudia, Sarah and Nassima agreed, specially Nassima who was passed by a boy by her family in Afganistan since they needed one member in the family to represent the family, work, study, and bring money to them. But at 13 she ran away in a train to start a life as who she was in another town. It was very hard so she managed to travel to London, married and divorsed a British banker who treated her badly and then she flew to America where she could be whatever she wanted to be. And she chose being a girl, a woman.
“You see? Nassima knows what I’m talking about, my dad wanted a boy so he kept calling me Sam. He taught me to play baseball, rock climbing, and do construction work and martial arts.” Nassima smiled and shook her head,
“I like both names, but Samantha fits you the best!”. She said as she tapped Samantha’s back, who was sitting by her side. Samantha continued talking to them and venting to the point of rambling.
“I tell the same thing to myself in the mirror and I tell the same thing to everyone who would give me that pet-name. I just hate it on me. I am a woman and very feminine, even though sometimes I might be seen as fierce or a little rough on the edges.”
Her friends laughed and agreed to that.
“Yes you are tough! And fierce too!”
She took a sip from her drink and ordered a new one. She then stared into the distance as she began talking again, “Let me tell a story, this is not a homophobic story or anything like that. I just hate to be called a name I don’t feel identified with, like not all Jennifer might like to be called Jenny or Jenn, or a Robert, may not like to be call Bob or Bobby not even Robby. Well, you guys know what I mean. Not everyone likes nicknames. You might be telling yourselves, why this long explanation? Who do I think I am anyways?
Well this is my story. I do not know who I really am, all I know is I’m a young girl. I was adopted when I was 3. I do not even know if Samantha Jackson-Williams is my real name, I assume not. As you may know I cannot remember many things clearly since I woke up from a coma few yrs. ago, but all I can remember is the name Samantha, and I refuse to part from it or being stripped of it. Since the coma everything gets blurry and hazed in my memory. My family and close friends were strangers to me until very recently. You gals, I met you in our therapy motivation group, and are the closest thing to me. You know how hard has being to me accepting all the many changes in my life and how much I hate changes. So my name is my only true identity and when someone tried to change it, even a bit, hits a nerve, really hard and deep and I just can’t take it.
Aside from that my fiancé Thomas was the only face I recognized for a while, then he left me. I began to remember him from a photo album he’d showed to me at the hospital when he went to get me. There I was in my white wedding dress, only 2 or 3 yrs. younger, smiling as he was kneeling in front of me kissing my left hand, and the expensive wedding ring on it, the same I’m staring at right now. But we never got to that wedding, because of my accident. But we were waiting for better times to do it, until out of the blue he became strange and distant. Now he broke our engagement off. Shaking me and basically shaking the solid floor under my feet.
We have no children together, at least, he said we wanted to wait before we had children. I think he wanted to wait, not me. Because the one thing out of the few things I can remember clearly is the fact that I love children, and motherhood seems the most natural thing to me, after you are settled and married. But again, what do I know? I barely woke up from a 2 1/2 yrs. in coma, few month ago and in few days I might not remember even saying this, who knows? I only know my name and few familiar faces from old yellow pictures I hide in my closet in a shoe box. There there’s a pic of two little girls, and a baby boy, I think they are of my older sister and I. The little boy, I have no idea who he is.”
“Be positive sweetheart”, Sarah said while she hugged her friend. Claudia and Nassima joined in the hug and agreed , “Yes stay positive, this too shall pass”. “We are your friends, and we are here for you.”
Back in Samantha’s house.
Samantha walked by her fireplace with a glass of lemon water and her old journal. She smiled to herself as she read it over and over.
“Today is October 13th 1996 and my Doctor said it would do me good keeping a journal or a diary. I’m to old for a diary so this will be my journal. Maybe my secret journal…I don’t know why but he said I should keep my journal private and secret”
“November 17 1997_Today I opened this notebook as I started packing all of my old stuff. We are moving out and into our new house before our baby is born. He will be born in a month or two, by the way I have two other children that for some unexplainable reason when I woke up I couldn’t remember their names or who they were, just their smiling faces and their small voices calling me. It was only two days after waking up from my coma and the Doctor had advised to my fiancé to tell me things slowly and with caution, little by little, since our children were hospitalized due to the same accident, and he didn’t want to upset me or for me to get worst.
So they avoided mentioning them and Tom completely denied their existence when I asked him if we had any children. But a week after or so from that journal entry two precious girls, one only a half year younger than the other, showed up in my room jumping on my bed yelling “Mamma. Mommy!”. I was thrilled seeing them and recognizing their tiny faces, yet there were so much blank space in my mind, so much to try to remember, like how old they were, and who was who. I was happy knowing that I was their mom. And that my baby boy had to older sisters who would help me taking care of him, if one day I couldn’t.
I was so happy. But I couldn’t stop sobbing because I couldn’t believe that a true good mother could ever forget these things, their own children. What kind of a mother was I? I kept asking myself. Yet I knew that those things that were happening to me could actually happen to anyone and has happened to other people as well. It wasn’t just me. It’s called Temporary Traumatic Amnesia. And my temporary amnesia was really, really traumatic to me and my family. But as the days went by with the help of my children and my man my amnesia started dissipating. Yet I continued having lapses of memory and blank spaces in my mind and any little change would upset me so much. And him leaving me was the worst thing happening to me. He took my girls and my son from me for a little while. Yet I managed to get them back. Now he is back and I can’t trust him or anyone anymore. Except you my close friends.”
Samantha couldn’t stop crying as she told her full story to her friends and her best friends could not stop crying as they hugged their very dear friend Samantha. They knew her and they loved her the way she was. That was all that Samantha needed at that moment.
To Be Continued…