Ernie scanned the room for what seemed like the millionth time. He was struggling to remember…anything. Lucidity came and went and he was looking for clues to fill in the ever growing gaps in his memory. But he didn’t see anything besides little gifts and trinkets that visitors left. His children and younger brother mostly. When they came he recognized them but sometimes got them mixed up with each other. To be honest though, just recognizing them was good enough. There was a picture of his wife…sometimes, like today he recognized her too. He always knew she was someone important to him, but there were times he didn’t know why.
On better days, he could remember the home they shared, he and his wife, for nearly forty years. But as it came into focus he tried to grab it like a drowning man grabbing a raft, but he couldn’t fill in the details and it slipped away. His world had been reduced to a small room with a window that looked out into a courtyard, he could see some trees over the top of the far side of the courtyard but he wished they were closer. When they came in and took him down to the dining room to eat, there was a big window facing the outside and the woods beyond the building. But they never let him sit there and just look.
And so it was back to his room with the TV on the old movie channel. He remembered some of the old movies but mostly it was like he was seeing them all over again. Anyway, these were strangers play acting in a fake world that had nothing to do with him. They passed the time for awhile, but he couldn’t watch too long. He needed to remember…and the TV just got in his way. Once he recalled the day they brought him here, telling him it was for his own good. He asked where his things were, things that were important to him. His daughter hugged him and said “daddy, you don’t need all those things. We picked a few things out for you.” But none of them were of any use to him. They provided weak clues, there had been things with deep, rich memories attached; but they were long gone.
And so he sat there day after day, fighting to remember, looking for clues that weren’t there, listening to people talk about him…”he doesn’t remember much does he?”.
And he felt more and more frustrated. But mostly what he felt was fear; unrelenting fear, fear that he was lost forever.