Mia might look like a Millennial but she was born yesterday. Emerging from a coma with short-term amnesia after an accident, Mia can’t remember her own name until the Siri assistant on her iPhone provides it. Based on her cool hairstyle (undercut with glamorous waves), dress (Prada), and signature lipstick (Chanel), she senses she’s wealthy, but the only way to know for sure is to retrace her steps once she leaves the hospital. Using Instagram and Uber, she arrives at the pink duplex she calls home in her posts but finds Max, a cute, off-duty postdoc supplementing his income with a house-sitting gig. He tells her the house belongs to JP, a billionaire with a chocolate empire. A few texts later, JP confirms her wildest dreams: they’re in love, Mia is living the good life, and he’ll be back that weekend.
But as Mia and Max work backward through her Instagram and across Los Angeles to learn more about her, they discover an ugly truth behind her perfect Instagram feed, and evidence that her head wound was no accident. Did Mia have it coming? And if so, is it too late for her to rewrite her story?
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It seems as though I’m the kind of person who lands in the hospital in a cocktail dress on a Tuesday night with no ID and no friends. The doctor says I’ve been in a mild coma for the last two days like Peter Gallagher in While You Were Sleeping, a movie I seem to remember every word of. As for my name? No clue. All I know is that I hate my hair. Maybe it’s just coma hair (medical-grade bedhead), but still. You’d think they would have washed out the blood, not to mention a crust that feels like bridesmaid-level product build-up, but Brenda the day-shift nurse explains, “This ain’t a spa, honey. We only do blowouts on doctor’s orders.” And then she laughs. When she hands me an oversize cup of water a minute later, she looks at my hair like it’s the first time she’s noticed it and says, “You know, it’s actually cute.” Just being nice, I think. Either that or she has no taste. I can’t judge because I’ve only seen her in scrubs.
The doctors say that, amnesia aside, I’m mostly fine, but that doesn’t seem true. I definitely feel like I almost died. I mean, I didn’t see any of my dead relatives welcoming me to the other side but that proves nothing; if I can’t remember who I am, I probably wouldn’t recognize them either. That’s probably what happened—God sent Uncle So-and-So to pick me up and I just assumed he was a perv and missed the ride to heaven.
Though circumstantial, the evidence of my attempted murder is highly convincing:
• Blunt force trauma to the back of the skull. (Let’s hope that’s why my hair looks bad.
• Cocktail dress. (This should factor in, I think.)
• Blood alcohol of . . . I don’t know what the numbers mean, but mostly Grey Goose. Funny how I know what I drink, even if I don’t know where I live. #priorities.
• Someone (anon.) called an ambulance for me but didn’t wait around to hold my hand on the
I’m just going to assume someone tried to kill me. That’s what it feels like. Eight out of ten on the pain scale with a side of abandonment. If I find out I just slipped and did this to myself, I’m going to be really disappointed.
Halfway through Keeping Up with the Kardashians, which I’ve been binge-watching on the small TV in my hospital room ever since I woke up, my medical team walks in. They all smell like Purell, even though current research tells me they’re probably mostly spreading germs. Bad hair won’t be my only problem if I don’t get out of this place soon. And I’m pretty sure I’m not even a germophobe. I have a feeling that I’m really well-adjusted. Who the fuck knows, though. What does well- adjusted even mean? I might as well say that I love all kinds of music, even country. But no one loves country.
Brenda, who ordered me a special gluten-free, vegetarian meal because I “just look like a vegetarian, honey,” explains the facts to the neurologist, Dr. Patel. He’d be attractive if he didn’t look so much like a neurologist. If Queer Eye ever got their hands on him, they’d get rid of his rumpled, secondhand clothes and truss him up in a sexy, fuchsia shirt and slim-fit pants in his actual size. (You are not a 34-inch waist, Dr. Patel.)
“The patient can’t seem to remember her name,” Brenda says.
Kim, Khloé, Kourtney, Kris, Caitlyn, Kanye, Kendall, Kylie, and all the assorted babies . . . I know all of their names. But who the hell am I?
The neurologist interrupts Kim, who’s talking about permanent lip liner with zero expression on her face. “How are you doing?”
Why can’t I tune Kim out? It’s like my brain is hardwired to focus on her. Because she’s pretty? Because her problems are dumber and therefore less stressful than mine? Because of her butt? “I seem to be having trouble focusing,” I say to Dr. Patel. “I don’t know if that’s normal for me.”
Patel finally looks up from my chart. “Time will tell. Before I explain your test results, do you mind if I do a physical examination of your head?”
I might not have all of my memories, but I have a feeling I’ve been asked that before.
“As for the physical trauma,” he says, “MRI and CT are negative for signs of intracranial bleeding. The swelling in your brain must be going down, which is why you woke up. The headache probably won’t go away for at least a week.”
“How about my memory?”
“Your memory—” He stops for a second to look at an incoming text on his phone. “You have what’s known as traumatic amnesia, which means your memories will likely come back to you as your injuries heal. But there’s no telling when— and you might struggle for quite some time.”
The light-headed feeling hits again and my peripheral vision starts to blur, but I lean back and shut my eyes. No passing out.
“For now, I think you should try to reconstruct your life as best as you can. If you can get back into some old routines, you will increase your chances of remembering. Once you get home, surround yourself with familiar faces, go back to work—you might begin to remember things.”
Home. Routines. Wasn’t he listening? I don’t even know my own name or who cuts my hair.
“Girl, you gotta cheer up,” my nurse, Brenda, says. “I have good news.”
“Tell me it’s a cure.” Or an invitation to live on her couch. I’ll take either.
“Definitely better than anything the doctors are gonna do for you.” She looks up, waiting for my full attention.
“Well, I still suspect you’re a vegetarian, so you’ve got that to deal with—”
“How do you know?”
With a shake of her head and a If you have to ask, you’ll never understand look, she says, “I charged your phone. The intake nurse thought it was broken but I gave it a little check-up. It’s cracked, but it works.” She holds it out to me.
An iPhone, cracked to hell and splintered. I won’t be able to click on anything in the upper third of the screen, but only my banking and weather apps are up there. The important stuff is all at the bottom, within thumb’s reach.
My desktop background is a picture of myself. I’ve got good hair in it, at least. Gwen Stefani blond, all sirens-of- the-silver-screen glamour on one side and a buzz cut on the other, but salon quality; it doesn’t have that I buzzed it myself in a dimly lit bathroom vibe—I don’t think. I hold out the phone to Brenda. “Does this hairstyle seem like a weird choice to you, or is it just me?”
Brenda lets out a startled laugh. “Little weird. Can’t say I’m surprised.”
“Whatever, Brenda. You love me.”
She raises an eyebrow. “And you love quinoa.”
“Take me out to lunch and we’ll find out.” I look at the screen. It’s a lifeline to all of my friends and family—everything that matters. I mean, it’s one thing to lose your memory but another thing altogether to lose your phone. Email, texts, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram . . . Does it even matter that my memories aren’t in my brain? Everything that counts is on my phone. Hard data and digital evidence.
Including my name . . .