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Main >> AR Stories >> 'A Forgetful Day'

'A Forgetful Day'
Author: skywavesage  

Chapter #: 1
Updated On: 03 February 2017 - Words Count: 965 - Number of Reads: 0

Morning Print
In the house opposite mine lives a stocky, sandy-haired man. This morning, he and I opened our kitchen windows simultaneously and stared at each other for an instant in a shocked surprise. I hurriedly looked up at the sky, as though to check what the weather was like, while he glanced sidelong to the driveway, as if to see if the mail had arrived.

I do not like my neighbor much. He is regular and orderly and leads an utterly blameless life. My wife Elysa tells me he leaves for work early each morning, and when he returns home late in the afternoon, he can be seen sweeping the front porch, taking the laundry off the clothes line, or washing the dishes. On Sunday mornings, he dutifully sets up the lawn sprinklers, and then scrubs and polishes his silver Lexus. Every other weekend, he and his wife have friends over, and the cheery sounds of laughter and the burning scent of grilling steaks waft over the fence.

I am nothing like my neighbor. I am disorganized, often late and dislike manual work. When I have spare time, I prefer to read books or watch football on television, rather than do any tiresome household chores. While I am witty and gregarious, her friends are prissy and pompous, and I am convinced I am allergic to them. I cannot understand why she got so upset when I skipped her family reunion to go watch the Rovers game at the stadium. It was, after all, the only time they will be in town this season.

Yesterday I went to see my doctor for an annual health checkup. He is a young doctor who takes a lot of notes on his laptop computer, and when he turned to look at me he did so with his head cocked to one side and a slight smile on his face that seemed to convey a private amusement.

He looked sympathetic as I grumbled about my performance review, where Mrs. Davis said I needed to be more “responsible” and “treat my students with proper respect”, as was expected of an elementary school teacher. He went on to ask me many questions about my eating habits and bowel movements, and subjected me to a long and uncomfortable physical examination.

Finally he announced solemnly that I had Hashimoto’s disease. I was alarmed, but he assured me it wasn’t serious, as it was still in the early stages and curable with the right treatment. He handed me a bottle of pills.

Now I see the bright neon post-it note on the kitchen counter reminding me to take my pills. Elysa already knows I will forget otherwise. She is out giving art lessons as she always is on a Saturday morning. She has many students, including my doctor who she says is very talented and likes to paint portraits of coastal wildflowers.

I swallow the pills, which make me feel a little drowsy. So I decide to sit outside on the sun dappled porch with a favorite book, and soon I lose myself in its beautiful passages. Around me drifts the dull churn of the washing machine from the kitchen, the rocky echoes of a plane far away in the sky, a solitary voice from the road.

Then the sharp metallic chime of the clock arouses me from my convalescence. I realize with a start that my girlfriend Elysa will be arriving soon, and I haven’t made lunch.

Anxiety hits me as I struggle to plan a menu. It was the day before (or was it last week?) when I invited her over for a date. She was alone on the street, I spoke impulsively, and she agreed. I wonder if I will have the imagination and energy to prepare something that she will like? Maybe today is the day that she will agree to go steady with me?

German potato salad feels too heavy and coercive, strawberry poppyseed would be better, gentle and sweet. I find a side of beef but cannot remember where I left the cast iron braising pan. Salmon is more wholesome anyway. I season and bake a pair of fillets. Then she is here, a little late, her cheeks flushed pink. She is radiant, beautiful, perfect.

In my haste, I trip over a rug and find myself on my knees, strawberries are spinning everywhere. But soon we are back together at the table, and she is flaking the fish with her fork.

We jabber away a mile a minute about 17th century Italian art, to which she is animated in her opinions. As she explains her origin theory of the Manneken Pis, I interject that kids are such a tiresome bother, and that I wouldn’t ever want to have any of my own. Her face abruptly darkens, and I am fearful that I must have said something wrong. But then her anger floats away like a cloud on a windy day, and she smiles again, reaches out, and gently caresses my cheek. I blush brightly, I feel like I am being blessed by a goddess.

She looks at the clock and reminds me that it’s time for my weekly swim. I head out the door as she hands me my bag. Red brick houses line the tidy streets, the pavement is well maintained but here and there cracked or buckled by the roots of mature shade trees.

I walk in an elation-induced stupor, buzzing like a fly on a lime twig. Oh how I long to be with Elysa, not just occasionally, but all the time! Why am I a human being, I ask myself, such a wretched condition! Why can’t I be the happy clothes in her wardrobe?


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