Chrissie was just ten when she'd asked her father when he would get Old Timer's Disease. Sam remembers that. He'd chuckled at 'yet another funny thing' his little girl had said, before he'd corrected her articulation. In the years passing, that particular incident had slipped his mind, but Sam recalls it now.
He sits in his basement, the doctor's preliminary diagnosis running through his head.
Alzheimer's cannot be accurately diagnosed until an autopsy is completed, the MD had said last week back in his office, but you are exhibiting the symptoms.
Sam might find it ironically funny if he were to think about it, but he has too much else on his mind.
The children have been told. For hours Sam had talked to the three of them in detail. How many times had he asked: do you remember?
They were all married, although there were no grandchildren yet, and Sam feels a little grateful for that. In time he wouldn't've known how to enjoy them.
Sam would like to go for a drive, clear his head, but Eleanor has taken his keys. A precautionary measure he understands, but he can't pretend he's not angry.
That had been the first sign. Those keys. He'd been going somewhere and standing by the car door, it had taken him awhile to understand what it was he needed. He'd gone back into the house. Keys, he told his wife, her face inquiring as he searched out the living room. Finding them, he then headed toward the door, stopping just before it, unsure of what to do next.
Sam? Eleanor had called across the distance of the room. Is there something wrong?
Embarrassed, he'd shook his head and hastily went out the door, his destination still unclear.
Later that night, when he and his wife were laughing about his forgetfulness, Eleanor had kidded and said, Oh, Sam, when you get Alzheimer's, how will I ever know?
From the autopsy, dear, he says aloud, crossing the room.
He gets the lock key from the hook on the wall and unbolts the cabinet before him. Takes out his rifle and reaches for the bullets on the shelf.
It wasn't just the possibility of peeing in potted plants or traveling in a globular motion, yet never getting past the living room door, which troubled him. No, one day he might wake up and wonder who the lovely looking woman was laying next to him and question why she was in his bed.
Sam shakes his head at the thought as he loads the gun. Too many things, he thinks, wistfully. Too, too many things he never wants to forget.
About the author:
Gwendolyn Joyce Mintz is a poet and fiction writer living in New Mexico. She raises turtles and performs comedy for fun.
© 2011 Word Riot