I know what a cup is.
I know that it’s cylindrical in shape (It follows, therefore, that I know what a cylinder is (also a cube, a sphere, a torus, a tetrahedron, etc.)). I know that a cup is made from kiln-fired clay and usually has a ceramic glaze. With effort I can even remember some of the chemical constituents of the glaze from my college days, although I can’t actually remember the name or location of the college I attended. I know that a cup has a handle. One is able to drink from a cup. Obviously one is.
I know that Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated JKF in 1963, who was then murdered by Jack Ruby, who, himself, then died – I believe – of lung cancer.
If I concentrate I can name all of the planets: the two gas giants, the inferno that is Venus. I am also aware that Earth has an atmosphere composed of oxygen, nitrogen and argon. The boiling point of argon is -185.8˚C. I know these facts and lots of others. They are ingrained in my mind. Less esoterically, I know what a toothbrush is, which means, therefore, that I haven’t forgotten what teeth are. A comb. A car. I know what trousers are. I’m not a complete idiot.
What I don’t know, however, is who I am. How old I am. Whether I am married. If I have children. If I have brothers and sisters. Whether my parents are alive or dead. Whether I have a job (although I have an inkling that I must have, and that it is some way concerned with the creation of some kind of object. My mind is, therefore, not completely anaesthetised.
My senses are mainly intact, I think. With some effort I can smell: although the odours that surround me are unfamiliar. I can see: not completely see, just lights and pixilated shapes. Sometimes these shapes are moving; ghostly figures of indeterminate composition. I can also hear: muffled, indistinct sounds, like someone has hung a wet towel over a speaker, but sounds nevertheless. And I can feel pain. I can certainly feel pain.
If I try to move my head, for example – even the slightest of movement – I feel pain; pain that would force me to scream if only I were able to scream. Pain unimaginable in its scope, its magnitude. I experience similar pain when I try to move my arms, my legs, my shoulders, my hips; if I try to move anything. I am immersed in pain. Suffocating in pain. Trussed and bound like an animal in pain. The pain overwhelms me; it transports me to another place, another universe, another dimension.
I am lying in bed. I know what a bed is. Most of the time I am on my back. Less frequently I am lying on my side. Above me is a row of soft lights: four in total. A constellation of circular lights. Never moving, never changing. Sometimes there are voices.
Most of the time the voices are female in nature: whispering female voices, soft, gentle, unintelligible, comprised not of words but of muffled arpeggios. Occasionally I hear a man’s voice: deep and unconcerned.
This my life: no day and no night. No weeks. No months. No years. Just pain and more pain.