The Jacket part ii

It is important to capture our imaginations. Not just of grand and romantic ideas, but of day to day events. Take hold of the ideas we have and place them on paper for future musing. It is also important to appreciate art for arts sake. So there are two good things together when we have a story for the sake of story that captures our imagination of day to day events.

The following story is one of a sad event. I hope that it captures your imagination to create in you an emotive response. The beauty of emotive responses in literature is that the event is slowed down. Each word and moment can be re read and mulled over. The panic of an appropriate response or the rush of sadness that is experienced in events that happen to us is removed, and we get to take a look at the emotion that is not withdrawn like a scientific study, but not immersed like a life event.

So without further to do, 

The Jacket

 “Can she remember anything yet?”

“No. I am sorry Charles. I am afraid not”

“Is she back to functional?”

“No. Not really. It is as if she has reverted back to high school. With a little less independence”

“Does she have any long term memory yet?”

“Well, kind of. She seems to remember who I am. Well, not really. I mean, she remembers that I am the one that is supposed to take care of her” Clair had enough warewithawl to notice his face. “I mean. I am sorry. I know that is supposed to be your job. He sighed.

“I don’t think of it as a job. It is what I want to do. Is she learning anything?”

“She reads some. But it is usually the same books over and over. So no.” There was a long pause. The sun was setting outside, leaving long shadows from every object, and long strands of light coming in through the windows. The floors were red with flowered patterns, that matched the wallpaper on the walls. They stood on the second floor overlooking the entryway to the care facility. Charles had known Clare since high school, and he considered himself lucky to have her at the facility. At least she knew enough about the situation to be sensitive.

                “Uhm, Charles. I really don’t know how to tell you this. But, if her memory hasn’t come back yet, and I mean her ability to remember, not just her memories, then it will probably never come back. She won’t have any long term memory. She will always need a care taker. She also will never remember who her caretaker is.” There was another long pause. For Charles, time didn’t really register at the moment, but for Clare, the pain of having to tell him the inevitability of him ever getting his fiancé back, it seemed like ten or twenty minutes before she got the next words to come. “I know it is hard, though I don’t pretend to really understand, but the best thing is for you to move on. The life you had with her will always be a good thing. The way you treated and loved her is a good thing. But you won’t get her back. You have to let her go. That will take time. I suggest this be your last visit.” A minute passed, and Charles lip began to quiver. The tears slowly built up and began to roll down his face as he looked down and out into memories.

                “al…” he tried to speak. Took a deep breath, and started again, “Alright.” He wiped the tears from his face, but they were immediately replaced by more, that sparkled and shone in the late light. He looked at the floor, to the walls, to the ceiling, as though looking for a way out.

“Hey, uhm, I will give you your time. My mom made some fantastic dinner last night. I have some left overs. I will warm some up and have it waiting for you, okay?”

“Al… Alright”

“Alright. But you are going to need to say something more than that. She is just as spunky and outgoing as ever.” With that, Clair walked passed him and headed downstairs as though to the kitchen. In reality, she stepped in to the bathroom to take care of her own tears that were forming.

Charles slowly walked towards the room, 26a. That was the age that Abigail had sworn she would be married by. The 26 part, not the ‘a’. He stood outside for a few minutes. It would have been longer, but he did realize that he looked kind of creepy just standing outside the room. He knocked quietly.

“I am never going to answer if you knock like that. It doesn’t sound like you actually want to see me. Wait, who is it? Oh no wait. Knock again.” He smirked out a few more tears, and the knocked again.

“Come in.”

“Hello.” He said quietly. She just stared at him.

“Hello, my name is Abigail.” She got up from the chair where she had been reading a kids book, “The Queen and the Cornrow” one that he used to read to her for fun. They would make up their own story to the pictures. In a chest at home, he had pictures that they had drawn to the story. Some pages were stick figures they had done late in the early morning when they were both tired and high on sugar. Other pages they actually took time on, or glued in magazine clippings.

“Oh. My name is Charles.”

“Well what can I do for you Charles? Are you here to play a game?” He paused.

“I would love to.”

“Okay, well I have games, I think. They would be in the closet wouldn’t they?” She began going through the closet, throughout occasional things. A blow dryer, a jacket. “That is funny. I thought I had games. Well what are you hear for then if I don’t have games.”

“Actually. Well I am here to say goodbye… er I mean. To chat for a bit, and then say goodbye.”

“Do I know you?”

“Yes. Well you did.”

“I did?”

“Yes.”

“What do you mean I did?”

“Abigail… You got in a car accident. You had a head injury and you have forgotten everything. We were engaged.”

“Really? Hmmm. Hey are you crying?”

“What? Uh no.” She always had a knack for knowing when he was upset. Apparently it was obvious or she hadn’t lost all of her little quirks.

“Why are you crying?” He waited. “well?” She was also good at prying everything out of him.

“Because I have to say goodbye to a dear friend. Once I say goodbye, I never get to see them again. Though it’s really hard, because they don’t know I am saying goodbye.”

“Wow. That is rough. I am sorry to hear that.” She paused. “Hey, you know what helps a broken heart, a little sharing and caring. Let me show you something. Have a seat.

He sat down in a small chair close to the door. She went over to a draw and slowly opened it.

“Okay, you have to promise not to tell anyone. And to not think I am too weird.” That was another phrase she would use. Everytime before she mentioned some crazy idea she had or a dream of the future of what it could be like driving around the U.S in an R.V full of adopted kids, just to give them an adventure.

“Okay. I promise, with all my love.” She pulled out a jacket from the drawer. It was his. She had borrowed it often. He had had it for years. It smelled like him, had small tears and a few small stains, but was in general good condition.

“This is my special jacket. It is special because every time I am feeling down I put it on, and I feel better. You see, there are times when I feel like I am missing something. That something is just wrong like I am in a dream without any family and if I can just wake up I will have them all right here beside me. But when I put this on. It feels like home. It smells like home.” She paused holding and looking down at the jacket. “But recently. The smell has been fading. I don’t know what to do. When I feel down, I want to put it on, but I am afraid that it is going to lose all of its scent. What am I going to do?” She looked at him pleading. Tears began to roll down his face. Seeing her, even over something so small was unbearable. “Abigail.”

“Oh, what is wrong? Oh dear. Apparently you need this more than I. I am afraid I have forgotten how to cry. Here, put this on, it will help.” She stood up to give it to him, and he leaned forward to take it and put it on. “There. Now you will be better.”

He just cried. He couldn’t take it. He just sat their and cried as she tried to console him. In all honesty he was trying to stay their longer so that he could wear the jacket longer and give it his scent again, but he didn’t have the words to speak.

The sun finally set.

“Hey, uhm. It is dinner time, and I need to go soon. Are you feeling better.”

“Yeah. Yeah I am feeling better.” He lied.

“can I have that back please?” He slowly rose and took off the jacket. He placed it on her shoulders the way he used to. He went to hug her, but stopped, “is it alright if I just”

“Yeah, hear.” She hugged him, with energy.

“Wow. That is amazing. It smells like home again. Your pretty great Mr. You know that? You made my jacket smell like home. I feel at home. Like I am among family again. Thank you so much.

And he just stood their, hugging her and crying for a while. And finally let go.

“Goodbye Abigail.”

“Goodbye Mr.” she said, as she clutched the jacket tighter. 

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