Most people shot thru the forehead with the bullet going into the brain and out the back of the skull- are dead. Those are the lucky ones.
I survived. The Doctors and the Press think it is a miracle. Some folks think it is a gift from the Gods. They even wrote an article about me before I “died” a second time. It was titled: “Eternal Youth. Gift? Or Curse? You decide.”
I don’t have to decide. I know.
You know me as “Bullet Brain”, and that alone shows how little you know…or care. My family knew me as: Dad, Son, Brother, Uncle, Friend, husband, or co worker. And now…no one knows me…not even me.
All it took was a single bullet, a lot of blood and gore, and a healing process that changed the shape of my brain…and altered my mind. I have died twice…once with a bullet in my brain. The second time wishing I could put a bullet thru my brain. Maybe when the reset button hits again…I will be able to live. Again.
I never saw it coming. I mean who does? One minute I was in line at a Starbucks getting a cup of Joe, like every other Joe. (and yes, before the bullet hit, I was that old- that what I just wrote is funny to me.) I heard a commotion, turned to look outside to see what is was. That was all it took for me and a nine millimeter slug to make acquaintance. The Papers all stated I was just an innocent bystander. Hit at random by a bullet not even meant for me.
My old life and family will tell you differently. They will claim that I was in the right place at the right time, because God wanted me to be special. They were just happy I survived…for a while. Later…well..we we will get to that in a minute.
The bullet hit just the tiniest bit to the left of the bridge of my nose, almost parallel to the tear duct of my left eye. It went in a straight line scraping a trough along the entire base of my brain from the Prefrontal Cortex straight back to the Medulla Oblongata - and out of my skull. Along the way, it ground a neat round tunnel down the exact middle of my Corpus Callosum - which acts as a boundary/gate connecting both hemispheres and limiting their interaction. Remember that…it is important later.
I was dead. I didn’t know it. I didn’t know anything. It didn’t even hurt. Not really. By the time any of my brain could recognize that a bullet just went through it; there wasn’t any me to tell that to. I was dead.
Then…I was alive.
So first we will skip the six months in a coma. Those are pretty much the same day…over and over again. The outside world is aware that time is passing. Sadly, except for a few Doctors, nobody knew how much activity was going on in my brain. I sure didn’t. I was just like the folks who visited me, completely unaware that anything was going on inside at all. Oh, and the folks that visited me? Well, except for my faithful wife- who showed up Religiously every morning, and every night…except for the two times a year she went to spend two weeks with the grandkids on the West Coast. She believed in miracles. She got one.
During those six months- to the stunned stupefied Doctor and Nurses- my body changed. Grew stronger, longer, younger. My brain, it appears, was making just as dramatic changes too. For one thing, my Prefrontal Cortex grew back almost the entire track of the bullet. For another, the pituitary gland, which is usually the size of a pea, grew to become the size of a large walnut. For another my hippocampus and pituitary gland grew to become one giant organ...the size of a lemon.
What that all means in layman’s terms is this: I was back in Puberty controlled by the Pituitary Gland, but under the direction of thought and planning from my Prefrontal Cortex. My hippocampus (now a new hybrid organ) kept few memories of the old me, made room to have many new ones, but kept shadows of those I loved somehow.
I had a remarkable memory when I was alive. Now? What I thought was remarkable, was merely mundane. My new Memories are eidetic and never over crowd my capacity. I no longer prune anything to make room. And if you think being able to remember everything is a gift…you have forgotten how much you have forgotten. There is a reason we forget…and move on. I could move on, but never forget. And that, my friend, is not easy.
So, lets cut to the chase.
I woke up.
Picture this…if you can. You are in your late sixties standing in a Starbucks to get a coffee. You turn your head at some commotion. There is a sharp pain in your forehead. That’s it.
The next moment (which is six months later) You wake up. Fully conscious. You are not in a Starbucks. You are not in your late sixties - well, at least you don’t seem to be. You body is young, lithe, well formed. It is both taller and stronger than you remember. There is hair on the top of your head, and not on your back, stomach, or thighs. And that hair that is there now…is red. Not white. Red.
The first thing you see is a very nice elderly woman sitting next to you…tears are streaming down her face. You can see all the emotions pouring out of her face in a torrent every bit as forceful as the tears. Foremost among them is Love.
She keeps calling me: “Kevin”. I don’t correct her. For no matter that she doesn’t know my name (heck, I don’t either) a part of me likes this woman. Really likes her. To the point that if she wasn’t so old, I would love to go out with her. I would too, if she wasn’t older than my grandmother. Even though, to tell you the Truth, I don’t even know if I had a grandmother - or even a mother. As far as I can tell, I was born a fully functional young man…just out of Puberty.
Adult in every aspect except for, you know, having lived through my childhood and teen years. Nope. Nada. Zip. Blank. Zero. I was a newborn fully formed adult. How’s that for an oxymoron. Are you getting the hint? Curse or Gift? Is the line getting blurry?
Well hang onto your hats, we are about to lose our hat to the winds of change.
I was alive. Kevin was dead. Not everyone liked that situation. Least of all the old woman who I really kinda liked. She wasn’t alone in wanting “Kevin” whoever he was …back. At least four children of the nice old lady, and six more of their offspring, wanted Kevin back. Even if he was younger looking than any but the tiniest of the Grand children.
I sorta knew there was a Kevin somewhere in me. Because I remember distinctly that third day after I was born again (and that is true in more than a Biblical sense) thinking Kevin must have been a pretty good guy. Lots of love in that family and I have a soft spot for all of them. But I am not Kevin.
Oh sure, they showed me pictures of “Kevin” when he was eighteen and nineteen. Sure he looked a lot like me (Okay, exactly like me!) except he was a half foot shorter, a lot less muscled, and he had tinier hands. From the thick neck up…we looked like identical twins. Good looking guy that Kevin. LOL
But other than a vague deja vu feeling for the folks that loved “Kevin” - and he apparently loved them back - I didn’t know any of these folks. Nor did I remember any of the things “Kevin” did. It was clear that some general things were common to us both: I loved water, reading, and long walks. Apparently so did “Kevin.” He wasn’t a good singer, did not play an instrument, and couldn’t do high level math. I can do all of those. In fact, Math would earn my living…but that was in the Future.
I had a great week finding out how many people loved me as “Kevin” and a horrible year as (one by one) they found out he wasn’t me. None of those goodbyes were easy. None of them. And remember when I told you not to forget about not being able to forget? Well now is the time to remember that little fact. I couldn’t forget. I remember ever detail of every one of those goodbyes.
And not just for the ones who knew “Kevin.”
Because I had another sixty years of life and memories before I “died” that second time. This time, by will power alone. I had had enough. I wrote out a will. Left all my worldly belongings to the ones I cared about. I had out lived all of my first life’s important people, and most of my second life’s people were getting old now too. They wouldn’t let go. So I did.
Death certificate and legal name change, and a relocation to different country ended that sixty nine year stroll thru Life. Funny, now that I think about it, that is exactly how old that “Kevin” guy was when he took a bullet through the brain.
No bullet this time. Just will power and a strong powerful brain and a hybrid organ in it that was like having a reset button. It reset.
I woke up in Copenhagen (where I had gone incognito as a tourist). I was in a hotel room. Yep. My body was young, strong, and hair, once again, had turned red, from white and left my back and chest for the more normal youthful places, like on top of my head, a curly patch in my crotch and some soft eyebrows. I was young again.
Like last time, only a shadow deja vu of a whole lifetime of important people was left in my mind. It was, once again, a blank slate. The Maid gave me a weird look when I stepped out of my room. She looked me up and down.
“Are you the old man’s son? You look just like him! You could be twins.”
I hated being spotted this soon in my new life. Even though it was a tenuous connection…and I don’t think she would make it. I smiled back.
“He was my grandfather. He left for America a bit ago. He told me to check out of his room.”
She smiled when I handed her the key.
I know she was wondering how I spoke to her in excellent Danish. I know she was wondering how I knew that language.