the memories she'd forgotten
She was 70 when it started, little by little the memories faded away. They were viewed as mistakes, but repetitive ones. Whispers began, they started to question, then the fighting began. She walked into rooms and conversations would halt. Clueless to the worried expressions, she would continue her routines. The tension was unbearable, no one agreed and no one argued, at least not in front of her. He made up lies to protect her and their family from the pain. He made her seem like the strong one. They worried about him when they should’ve been concerned for her.
At 73 he left her and left the family to wonder. What was he hiding? One of them knew she figured it out. The girl listened to her mother for days putting pieces of the puzzle together, phone call after phone call the girl figured it out. Then there was the letter. They found it in a hidden compartment in his desk. It was addressed to her. But she never knew; they took it from her. He wrote the letter to prepare the family. He knew and never told anyone, not even her.
At 74 she was consumed with grief and confusion. Why couldn’t she remember? She lost everything, forgot names, and made up stories. She was aware of her condition. She never left the house. Fearing to be out in public where she might repeat a question or get lost. She clung to the girl like she was her new safety net. She was scared after 50 years she was alone, no one to depend on. She hated him for it. How could he leave her? She grew fragile, everything upset her, and no one could deal with her. Except for one, they connected like two old friends. They understood each other; the girl was patient and made her laugh. They were inseparable, until the girl left her too.
At 75 she was alone again. Her heart ached, but she didn’t know why. She looked at pictures of herself and a girl. However, she didn’t know who she was. They looked happy, it upset her that she couldn’t remember. She grew weak and confused; they moved her. She lay in bed most of her days, frequently visited by people she once knew. They looked at her in pity. They would talk about the old days and all the memories they shared together, but she had none. She smiled like she remembered, but she didn’t she never did.
At 76 she stopped speaking, her time was nearly up. There was nothing left for her, she had nobody. The visitors stopped. She lay in bed, the hours flew by like minutes and there was a knock she didn’t bother to look. A now older looking girl sat beside her. She had tears in her eyes, but kept a smile. They sat in silence. She enjoyed the girls' company; she didn’t feel the pressure to speak or act like she was fine. They sat for a while looking at the pictures she had in a book someone had made the woman. A pointless gift, she asked the girl questions. The girl talked for hours filling in the memories she had forgotten. The girl talked to her like an equal not a child. She felt a connection to the girl but wasn’t sure why. For once in months she felt happy; she wasn’t afraid. Somehow she knew the girl was patient and didn’t mind repetitive stories. She talked to the girl for hours, telling her about a man she once knew that she believed to be her husband. However, she wasn’t sure what happened to him. The girl didn’t have the heart to tell her the truth. The girl felt that the woman knew deep down who she was, but didn’t dare to ask. The girl waited for the woman to fall asleep.
At 76 the woman left the girl.
Julianne H is seventeen and is a junior at Pembroke Highschool.