You don`t remember, do you? You were always that spiteful girl, ready to take another down at a moment`s notice. I think you viewed it as a game. I know you always enjoyed it, as I can still see your gleeful grin as you walked away from yet another sobbing victim clearly in my mind`s eye. It was you who egged your boyfriends on to dunk me in the toilet. You`re the reason I have that scar you were asking about that other day. I-I didn`t want to remind you. Not that I think you would relapse into that, I just- I don`t know. I think it was too painful for me, even then. Even now.
It`s not that I don`t really love you. As soon as I saw you- after- well, I knew you were practically a new woman. My woman, you know? Like fate. Our fate. I just didn`t want to ruin that with who you were then. Before.
I think it`s been really good for you. you`ve forgotten all of the pain you used to have. I was resentful, but even I could see that you only did all of that because of your own broken heart. It sounds cheesy, I know. Like some bland lie to cover up the ugliness of your past. I`ll admit, you weren`t the nicest person.
But we all knew why you did it. You`d have to be blind not to see your bruises. Every day, black and blue. Except your face. I suppose you told him that you couldn`t get disfigured, or you`d never be able to get married and get out of the house.
Gosh, Joane. It`s been years, decades. How could I remember every little detail about it? It`s been so long since you wanted everyone to call you Joanna, so long since you`ve been Joanna. You are Joane, my Joane now. Joanna really has nothing to do with it, with us.
I know I should have told you, I should have said something! It`s just as much a lie as telling you some story straight out. But I didn`t want to hurt you, and all Joanna did was hurt people… you are such a gentle soul, I know it would have hurt you. I`m sorry, okay? I thought it was for the best, for your own good. I didn`t know there were records left of who Joanna was, I didn`t know it would sneak up on you like that. Why would they have put a picture like that in the yearbook? Who would want to be reminded of that? I guess that was your old friends, taping it in as a joke. A laugh, to hurt someone like that. I`ve no clue how you got her to stay still like that, long enough to take a picture!
But don`t you see, Joane? You aren`t Joanna anymore, it`s like I`ve been telling you! You are Joane, my beautiful and lovely Joane. You pick up those dumb worms on the sidewalk, you wouldn`t say a mean thing to a dictator! You are so loving, so kind. I didn`t want to hurt you. I never want to hurt you.
Besides, after those months about worrying if you`d live at all, I couldn`t exactly deal the final blow then, could I? It wouldn`t have been fair or right. Remember, I took the Hippocratic oath. I couldn`t shock you to death right after I went to all that work to keep you alive!
Okay, so when they first brought you in, I wasn`t exactly excited to care for you. I thought you were still Joanna, I didn`t know all of that internal pain had left you with your consciousness. I guess I just didn`t think about it much afterwards, I got caught up in the routine. Changing banadages, checking your vitals, keeping an eye on your condition. People who are on the brink of death aren`t exactly on the top of my list for heart to hearts Joane!
And after we got to talking, and you thanked me so prettily… I wasn`t thinking about any of that then. I was thinking about your eyes, your lovely hair. your smile, shining at any person that came into your room. Even though they were all strangers to you! I will say though, it shocked your boyfriend through and through. He was just like your father, just as many ugly words came out of his mouth as couldn`t come out of that face. That face I started to hate, for being handsome to win you! And then, you were so sweet, every mean thing he said just seemed to slide off of you. I knew, when you said you knew he was lying and would never date such an ill tempered man, (being a very mild insult for all of the filth he kept saying to you!) I knew that you were my Joane then.
My precious Joane. My love. Can you forgive me for not telling you? For keeping this one secret all of these years? I know that this is a big secret, it covers the first half of your life! But my darling, my love, I just couldn`t do it. I`m not that strong a man. So can you let go of someone you never really were? As far as you, and I, am concerned, you were born the moment our eyes met in that hospital. Anything that happened before, that was another person. The same body, but another soul was there. Maybe the accident, I don`t know, chased the soul and spirit of Joanna out of you. Either way, can`t you see that you were never her? You, my Joanna, don`t have any of this as your past, because you didn`t exist then. You first came into being when that car first touched you, when the pavement made itself known.
Oh, don`t you see? You have never been Joanna. You are, you have been, my Joane. You were reborn, you were renewed.