Title: Left in the Dark
Author: Zev de Valera
Release Date: 04/12/2021
Heat Level: 2 – Fade to Black Sex
Genre: Contemporary, LGBTQIA+, contemporary, mystery, artist, PT, temporary disability and amnesia, accident recovery, PTSD, age-gap, over 40, kids, cheating, deception, family drama
Cal Restrepo, victim of a road rage automobile accident, emerges from unconsciousness into a world he does not recognize.
Under the care of the doctors at Wending Hills and the help of his friends and neighbors, Cal gradually recovers his memory and the full use of his body. Yet, so many of the memories do not fit what he feels is the “real” Cal.
Are his memories still clouded and unreliable, or was the Cal Restrepo who existed before the accident someone entirely different than the man who survived?
Left in the Dark
Zev de Valera © 2021
All Rights Reserved
“I’d like to keep you, but I have to let you go.”
The words immediately conjured in my mind the lyrics of some old country tune. They seemed incongruous coming from the mouth of the grim-faced, matronly South Asian woman seated before me. But, then, she merely appeared forbidding and matronly. Dr. Malhotra was a sympathetic person, and it was only her professional garb and tightly chignoned hair that gave a suggestion of the matron. Still, I found it difficult to imagine her plucking at guitar strings and warbling in a sad, twangy voice.
“Rothman and his physical therapy team have given you the green light,” continued Malhotra, “so there is no reason for continuing your—”
“For continuing your stay at Wending Hills.”
Dr. Malhotra removed her glasses. After closing the file that lay on her desk, she folded her hands over it and addressed me with an earnest expression. A classic physician’s pose—almost a parody.
I’m not a doctor, but I play one on television.
“I realize that asking you to reconsider staying on is a waste of time,” Malhotra continued. I nodded agreement. “However, I can—and must—insist on a period of home care.”
I imagined myself as a frail old man accepting soupçons of saliva-laced gruel from a sadistic nurse.
“Yes. Just for a few weeks. To ensure that you’re not experiencing any unanticipated cognitive impairment and to continue your physical therapy. POW will send someone to your home tomorrow morning.”
“Practitioners on Wheels. They do excellent work.”
I sighed, accepting defeat. I trusted Malhotra—though I’d always argued with her on principle.
“Whatever you say, Doc.”
Malhotra’s eyes narrowed. “I’m not sure I’m convinced by this sudden acquiescence, but I’ll take it.”
“So, I’m officially sprung?”
“Yes. A pity you don’t have an orange jumpsuit to take with you as a memento.”
I pushed myself up from the chair, feeling suddenly awkward. Like a kid saying goodbye to his mother as he set off for college. Happy, excited, nervous and sad all at the same time. Malhotra stood and pulled a business card from her lab coat.
“Please keep in touch, Cal,” she said, handing me the card. “My mobile number is on the back. Let me know how you’re getting on.”
I tucked the card into the pocket of my chinos, accepting this as a gesture of friendship. The visiting nurse would keep Malhotra apprised of my progress. There was no need for the extra effort.
“Of course. Thank you, Dr. Malhotra.”
I hoped I would never speak to her again.
I smiled, she smiled, and I turned to walk to the door, leaning heavily on my cane. I depressed the lever and pushed.
“Yes?” I asked, looking over my shoulder.
“You’re going to be all right.”
I passed into the hallway and closed the door carefully behind me.
I was going to be all right.
I’d spent more than a month in physical therapy, recovering the use of my battered body, and an equal amount of time with Malhotra, striving to recover my memory and work through the issues of a near-death experience and survivor guilt.
A relative term.
Meet the Author
Born in New York City and raised in the San Joaquin Valley of California, Zev now divides his time between Brooklyn, NY and Stratford, CT, where he lives with his husband, two cats, and two dogs.
Zev began writing when he was a child, scribbling observations of relatives and neighbors in a Mead notebook while the adults paid him no mind, and all the time devouring the works of Agatha Christie, Edgar Allan Poe, Jules Verne, and Phyllis A. Whitney.
Although Zev’s future career path would lead him far afield from fiction writing, Zev continued to scribble and—many years later—found himself a published author.