Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Do I Dare Remember - Ch. 2

The next several days went by in fractured pieces, like a reflection in a shattered mirror. He would wake up for a short time, his old memories lingering like a dream but always gone before he could remember them clearly. Then his new memories would come back, from the grocery store on, and pretty soon he'd fall asleep. Sometimes there would be food near him, and he's eat. Occasionally he stumbled to the bathroom. And sometimes a woman was there. But he was never awake enough to properly comprehend all this.
He wasn't sure how long this saga had gone on. It could have been one night or a week. He was on a couch, in an apartment. It had that musty scent of a house lived in by older people. The smell of cigars and out of style cologne and years and years of memory. It was a familiar and somehow comforting smell.
He was hungry, and there was food. A grilled cheese sandwhich, sliced apples, and a mug of hot cocoa with marshmellows. As he ate and drank, the woman walked in. She was in her late sixties by the look of it, but still very mobile and competent.
"Oh, you're awake!" she said sweetly, "Feeling better?"
"Better," he mumbled, "Thanks for the... uh... the food." Words weren't coming properly. He still couldn't think straight.
"I'm Helen, my husband found you, remember?"
He nodded.
"And we're calling you Teddy, unless you've come up with something better."
"Teddy's fine. I'll be leaving in a couple of days."
"Where for?" she asked.
"To find some answers. I think maybe if I get out on my feet, they'll know where to go."
"Well, as soon as you're up to it, I'll go with you."
"Thank you, ma'm." He tried to sit up, cautious with the memory of the last time. The world spun and swirled, but not as much and he managed to retain conciousness.
"Well, I've got to run some errands, but if you need anything, you can use that phone to call me. I finally got one of those cell phones and it's #1 on the speed dial."
She left the room, and Teddy looked around. He decided to watch some television. Much to his surprise, he could remember which shows he liked to watch, who the characters were, and the plots. He tuned into The Simpsons and recognized it as a repeat, knowing how it would end. Thinking about it he knew the names and roles of Hollywood actors, too. It was just the details of his own life that eluded him. He wondered if he would retain specialized knowledge from his field. He had to be good at something.
He turned off the TV and stood up (again, with some difficulty) and made his way to the bookshelf. They say you can tell a lot about a person by their bookshelf. The Hatches had a few key kinds of books. Lots of books on grocering, food, and running a business. Several Romantic Fiction books. Some old school science fiction - Asimov, Bradbury, Verne, Wells - the greats. And several books on airplanes - the illustrated guide to bombers of WWII, a flight manual for another old fighter, some aerodynamic theory textbooks.
He skimmed a few things, but he couldn't find anything that sparked. Pretty soon he fell asleep, leaning against the shelf.