Sunday, November 25, 2007

Memory, Part Two.

Joseph looked up as the doorbell rang. He stood to open it, getting up on his tip-toes to reach the doorknob. With great effort, he worked it open. Looking up, he spoke in a high-pitched voice: "Oh. It's you."

Casey looked down at Joseph's diminutive form. He resembled his father a great deal. Nodding his head, he made his way in, seating himself. Joseph plopped onto a chair across from him. "You took your time," he complained.

"I wasn't sure that I should come at all," Casey explained. "It's been a busy few years for me... and, well, I think you can guess that I've been rather dubious about your whole plan from the moment I heard of it."

"Can I?" Joseph asked in his child's voice. He looked Casey straight in the eye... then, unexpectedly, turned his gaze downwards as he burst into tears. "Oh, Casey, it's all gone wrong!" he wept.

Casey moved uncomfortably to comfort Joseph. He may have been Casey's old friend; but he was also a child, and Casey couldn't stand by while a child wept. "What went wrong?" he asked.

"For the first few months, I didn't remember... well, anything, really," Casey explained through gulping sobs. "I don't remember them at all, either. But after that I got memory back in big chunks. It was a combination of being a... an amnesiac and a schizophrenic. Sometimes I thought that I was just imagining it all - my whole old life. And other times... so much that I just can't remember, even now! I'm guessing that it's something to do with the capacity of my brain, or failure of the memory encoding, or transmission... I might have known, but I just can't remember enough!"

"Annabel didn't know what to do with me. She still doesn't. You'd warned her, I guess, but it wasn't enough. She's half afraid of me, now - and I'm so dependent! All the weaknesses of a three-year-old's body, with none of the innocence... it's torture!"

"And what about Annabel?" Casey asked. "What about her, especially as you... grow up?"

Joseph looked at him, tears drying on his face. A little snot slipped out; embarrassed, he quickly wiped it away. "Oh. That. She's my wife. But she's my mother. It's quite the tangle, isn't it? I... don't know what I want to do. I just don't."

Casey stood up, now that the crisis was over. "Do you want my advice?" he asked.

Joseph looked at him inquisitively.

"Don't. Just... don't. Think of it this way: You've been given a new lease on life. Take it for all its worth - forget your old life and just make a fresh start. It'll be simpler that way."

Joseph looked at him. Even in a three-year-old's face covered in dried tears, Casey recognized determination. "Maybe," he said. "But even with all this, I don't think I'm going to give up just yet." He stood up awkwardly, half-falling to the floor. "Do you want to stick around and reminisce about the good old days, or..."

Casey was already leaving. "Thanks, but I think I can tell where I'm needed." At the doorway, he stopped and looked at Joseph. "Remember my advice."

Deadpan, Joseph replied: "You know my memory."

1 comment:

King Kessler said...

Oh dear!

(Also, this is awesome.)