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Memories — When They Aren’t Awesome

What if you couldn’t remember the most important things about yourself?

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What if you couldn’t remember the most important things about yourself? 

There have been times in my life when forgetting would be so awesome. I was in a shoe store in New York City and I sat down to try on a shoe and missed the bench.

Yes, I did. 

Next thing I know I’m looking up at a circle of surprised faces. 

I’d like to forget that memory. 

And there are others like that lurking in my mind, waiting to flood my body with the same hot embarrassment. 

But what if you did forget?

Your name.

Where you live.

What you do.

Why someone is trying to kill you. 

Yeah, those are things you’d want to remember, things you really need to remember. Here’s an excerpt from Missing You

“What do you remember?” he asked.

A better question would be, what am I trying to forget? She shrugged, then wished she hadn’t. The movement upped the pain quota enough to make stars sashay across her view.

“Let’s start with something easy, like your name?”

Her name. Everyone had a name. She had an impulse to make one up. To write something onto the blank canvas in her head, but her mind refused to play. It didn’t cough up a single consonant, let alone a whole name. She pushed at the gray mist and it pushed back. It did open enough to let out a single emotion. Panic. It spilled through her like a tsunami, threatening to sweep her away. As if he sensed it, he grabbed her left hand, held it, a lifeline pulling her free of the dark undertow. 

“You really did scramble your brains, didn’t you?” His voice was kind, as if not knowing her own name was no big deal. “How about I call you Goldie for now?”

“Goldie?” From the jumble of letters in her head, the name formed into a row. So she did know the alphabet, in addition to the parts of the head. That was something.

He curled a strand of her hair around his finger and held it up for her view. 

To her surprise, she felt a slight, mischievous smile curve her mouth at the edges. “I wonder if it’s the real thing or out of a bottle?”

He chuckled, drawing her attention to his broad, well-constructed chest. When he went for the first aid kit, she’d noticed he filled out his jeans well, too. He walked with a relaxed but determined stride, and he had kind eyes, with a hint of sad lurking in their depths. He was taller than her and had an air of calm competence. She’d never trusted handsome men, though she had no idea why that was. 

“Even if it’s not natural,” he said with a grin, “you reminded me of Goldilocks when I found you sleeping on my couch.” 

“Are you one of the three bears?” He was big and woolly enough. His hair was dark and unruly, with the shadow of a heavy beard on the lower half of his craggy face. At the base of his throat, where the collar of his flannel shirt exposed the strong column of his neck, she could see a tuft of thick dark chest hair. No question the sum of his parts had a distinct teddy bear quality. A teddy bear packing a gun, she reminded herself. 

“I growl a little in the morning,” he admitted.

“Goldie does seem to fit.” She examined the name and found she didn’t mind it. At least there was no big bad wolf in the story. “It’s nice to meet you, Luke.”

“Nice to meet you, Goldie.” He held out his hand. 

Without thinking, she reached out with her injured right arm, but felt such a stab of pain from the movement, everything went black for a few seconds. From a distance, she heard Luke ask, “What’s wrong? Is the wrap too tight?”

“No. Higher up, I think.” A few deep breaths cleared the haze, but the pain stayed, clinging to her arm like a pit bull. She saw a tear in the dark fabric of her tee shirt. Around the tear, the material was stiff with dried blood and stuck to her skin. She saw Luke holding a pair of scissors and covered the spot protectively.

“Going to have to cut the sleeve of your shirt.”

His steady gaze reassured her. She nodded and lowered her hand. She wanted to look away when he inserted the blade of the scissors under the edge of her sleeve and began snipping, folding the soft cotton back as more and more of her arm was exposed, but she couldn’t. Whether she liked it or not, it was another piece in the puzzle of who she was. Up past the elbow he ran into the stuck-on material and, to her relief, stopped. 

“You’ve bled a fair bit,” Luke said. “You must have sliced your arm when you fell. Hang on.” 

He returned with a pan of warm water. He wet the material until he’d bared her arm to the shoulder, exposing an angry gash in the flesh of her upper arm. There was something not right about the wound, something that stole the warmth from her body, replacing it with the chill of fear. She looked at Luke, hoping he’d reassure her, but his face was grim and worried. A cop’s face, she realized. He picked up her discarded jacket and examined the tear that matched the wound in her arm. She saw him sniff it, the worry in his face deepening.

“What?”

“It’s—” he stopped, then said, his voice as grim as his face. “It’s a bullet graze. I can still smell the gun powder.” 

* * * * *

You can find out more about Missing You, by clicking here. 

Most of the time I’m grateful for my memory. I’m looking down the barrel of that time when memory will get fuzzier and fuzzier. What do you hope you won’t ever forget?

Perilously yours,

Pauline

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