It's funny how one's memory becomes so selective with time. Why are some details so vivid in my memory, while others are merely a blur? I can remember what I was wearing; faded blue jeans, a red wool sweater and black loafers. I can still smell the distinctive aroma's filling my apartment; popcorn, coffee and strawberry scented candles. I can even tell you the score of the New York and Detroit game, 89-94. I also remember that the clothes in the dryer were white.
I can't, however, remember what day it was, or what time it was when I left. To be honest with you, I don't even remember exactly what he said to me. Slamming my apartment door, starting my car and driving for three hours are also not very clear to me. It is only when I touch the back of my head and feel the tender scar, do I even remember the accident. And unless I see the hospital records, I usually can't tell you much about the doctors and nurses who tended to me.
But the flowers, now those I remember. Red, white, yellows… every colour of the rainbow. Roses and tulips and carnations, the room was flowing with bouquets of all sorts. I remember how every time I woke up, I could look around my room and find a new arrangement. The fragrance of the flowers managed to mask the sickly hospital smell. At times, when the drugs were at full strength, I would forget about the wires, the monitors, and grave faces of the doctors and make believe that I was an enchanted princess. The flowers, gifts from my subjects and the doctors were my servants.
He was my prince. Every sweet word uttered from his mouth is etched in my memory like stone. Waking to him stroking my face and seeing his eyes glisten with tears, showed me how much he cared. Seeing his drawn face and blood shot eyes, I knew, he would prove to my family the same thing. My prince was constantly by my side. Protecting me was what he always claimed he wanted to do, I suppose this is what he was trying to accomplish.
When trying to remember my hospital stay, I can seldom recall a conversation with my parents or sister. The accident was before they completely stopped associating with me, so I wonder why they wouldn't have come to visit. I once asked him about it and he took my hand and simply said, "Those who love you, came to visit you and those who don't, you shouldn't waste your time thinking about." I didn't try to argue. That usually just causes unwanted problems. Why bother trying to change the mind of a person who cannot be changed? So, instead I decided not to bring them up anymore. Deep down I know they love me. We just can't see eye to eye on certain matters anymore.
I would still like to know why they didn't come see me. Or why Julie and Anne, my best friends, were absent too. It's at times like this that I take great comfort in my unreliable memory. Maybe, like the way I can't remember the colour of the car that hit me, I can't remember any of their visits.
I can vaguely remember a visit from my life long friend, Kathy. I remember her sitting down and looking as though she were in a rush. As she asked me how I felt, she kept looking behind her shoulder at the door. I wonder what she had to do that day. It must have been pretty important; because when we used to talk she would always pay full attention to me. I remember Kathy kissing me on my forehead and leaving quickly after he came into the room and told her that he wanted some time alone with me. He likes having me to himself.
About a year ago, I found a stack of cards from my family and some friends in his toolbox while I was looking for a hammer. There were two from each Julie and Anne. After I found the cards, I felt better. I wonder why he didn't give them to me. I guess he forgot about them. He doesn't have the greatest memory either. I know now that they at least cared a little. It would have been pretty sad if none of my family or friends had even sent a card. The hospital is not really in the best location, so maybe it was the traffic that kept them away.
When I found the cards, I thought about calling those who had sent them. When he wasn't home one night, I even searched for my phone book. I couldn't find it. I seem to misplace a lot of stuff now. I wasn't always so disorganized. Before I moved in with him, I could find everything in my apartment. It must be the additional space. When I didn't find the phone book, I decided that I might call my parents. I didn't though, because I wasn't really sure what to say. I couldn't bring up the cards, because that was too far in the past. They probably thought I received them while I was at the hospital, so I thought it would be better to let them think that that was true. He would be arriving soon anyway.
I still haven't called anyone who gave me the cards. At times I feel compelled to ask him about them. I tried once to ask him about who actually called, or sent anything to me. He got pretty upset, and so I dropped it. I think he thought that I felt as though he did not do enough. Of course I assured him that I fully appreciated all he did for me. He told me that if I really meant that, then I would stop asking about others during my stay at the hospital.
My family stopped calling me just a few weeks after I was released from the hospital. I guess I can't blame them. Him and I are usually too busy to talk to them anyways. We don't use the phone much anymore. When it does ring, sometimes it sounds so foreign to me that I forget what the sound represents. That's just another way my memory tends to fails me. I forget simple details that at one time had significance.
Julie and Anne haven't called in years. I hope they aren't mad that I didn't call and thank them for the cards. I'm sure they'd understand if I told them the circumstances, but something always keeps me from calling. Maybe it's better this way.
Every once in a while I remember something new. Like recently I remembered something else about Kathy's visit. I remembered her coming in with a small box. She placed it on my nightstand, but when I woke up it was gone. At first I was sure that the box was real, but then I started to doubt my memory again. Now I think I could have confused some facts, because I remember him giving me the gold cross I wear around my neck that same day. It was in a small box just like the one I thought was in Kathy's hand.
I love that cross. I feel safer when I wear it. To me, it symbolizes all the good that he possesses. It reminds me of how much he cares for me. The cross shows me how much I need him. What would my life be without him? I don't speak to my family, and I hardly have any friends. He is all that to me. He often reminds me of that.
He is my family. He is my friend. He is my prince.
back to the Short Story Page.Faded Memories, 30 December 1999