Lela Marie De La Garza
"Hi..." I say tentatively.
"Hi. I'm Kevin. We've met before."
I didn't remember of course.
"I'm Joan. But you probably know that if we've met before."
"I do know that. You don't realize it, but there was a time you didn't remember your own name."
"Do I have a last name?"
"Hutchinson. Hutchinson. Hutchinson." Sometimes repeating a thing several
me to remember it. Mostly not.
"I'm Joan Hutchinson. And you are?"
He must have told me that before. But everything flies out of my mind as soon as
I hear it.
"Hi. I'm Joan. And your name starts with a... "K", doesn't it?"
That makes him look happy.
"Yes. It's Kevin."
I try to concentrate.
"Kevin. Kevin. Kevin."
They keep telling me about an accident. I don't remember it. I don't remember
here. I don't have any short term memory or any long term memory--but sometimes I get a flash--a picture in my head of something that happened yesterday or last month or five years ago. For just a few seconds now it's clear: I'm sitting across the table from Kevin in Banjoles--a small restaurant painted a weird pink color. Our waitress is named "Salli"--at least that's what it says on her name tag. She has short blonde curls. "What can I get for you?" I order a bacon club. Kevin has a seafood salad and a baked potato. He's wearing a blue plaid shirt open at the neck... Then the picture clouds and closes.
The man sitting in front of me looked happy, but now he isn't.
"I was driving," he says.
I don't know what that means, but I do know what to say.
"It's all right."
He shakes his head.
"I had the green light. The guy plowed right into me. But maybe if I'd been faster. Maybe I could have stopped in time."
"It's all right," I say again, helplessly.
He looks at me.
"Maybe it will be. They say you'll get your memory back. They say I'll walk again. Then we can start over."
Start what over? I think. I don't say it, because I don't want him to look any sadder. A bell rings somewhere. He takes both my hands in his.
"It's time for me to go."
"I don't want you to go. Because if you do, I won't remember you were ever here."
He looses my hands gently.
"I'll come back. I'll always come back."
Then he wheels himself away. A nurse comes in. She looks familiar, but of course I don't recognize her.
"Did I just have a visitor?" I ask.
"Yes you did."
"Was his name K-K-Kenny?"
"That was Kevin. He's your husband. Did he tell you that?"
I look at my left hand and see the gold band on my finger. I wonder what it's like to be married.
I don't know the way to the dining room, so I follow the nurse. I do what the others do, getting a tray, putting it on a rail, sliding it along. Someone puts a piece of meat on my plate; someone else a dollop of mashed potatoes with brown stuff (I should remember what it's called, but I don't) on top. A woman ladles out a helping of little green things. She has short blonde curls. There's a flash across my mind.
"Is your name Salli?"
"No," she answers.
The flash is still there.
"Do you know Kevin?"
"I'm afraid not. Do you?"
"I used to," I say, concentrating fiercely.
"And I believe...someday...I'll know him again."
Lela Marie De La Garza has had work published in Behind Closed Doors, Pound of Flash, ChickLit, Daily Romance, Creepy Gnome, and Mad March Hare. She was born in Denver, Colorado in 1943 while her father was serving in WWII. She currently resides in San Antonio, Texas with three-and-a-half cats, and a visiting raccoon.