Another 20 minute story:
I know I’ve lost these keys before—I remember—and, if I can recall where I found them last time, I might find them again.
The shelves are dusty. Iris did that. Was it yesterday I thought I heard her asking if I’d walked the dog? Do you have an early meeting today?
If my son visits later, I’ll ask him to help me find what I’ve lost. Iris would. She’d hover, trying to stop me from getting frantic, spray water on my temper. “Relax,” her favorite word. I’ve forgotten the anger passing between us, my son says. A blessing.
My son wonders if I remember this day or that. The doctors told him to. How can you recall what you’ve forgotten? “Oh yeah,” I say to him, “That’s gone,” and I laugh, “but that’s my life, not yours. Why do you remember?” Maybe I’ve said so before.
He means to be good. Lately, when he’s away I can’t bring back his face. Sometimes, he disappears even standing right here. It’s what they give me, what that stuff is supposed to do.
Everything seems cramped, each direction a wall. Outside it’s tight, crowded.
Iris grabbed my hand at night, just before sleep. The last thing she did, at night. I feel her squeezing sometimes.
They say the last time I got sick, I hit her. I hit everybody, orderlies and nurses. But it wasn’t me who send her away. Something took her face too, and nothing to fix it. Her face comes to me as a stranger now. All of it’s stranger, new, bound up in knots so it’s never coming free, no matter I what expect, ever.
Now nothing is ever expected, never.