Friday, January 19, 2007

Lost Memory

It's bothered me all week, at the same level a constant but low buzzing sound will bother you. It's kept me from sleeping for a while each night.

I cannot remember the date of my mother's death.

This is significant because for so many years, that date was a memorial. That day when my whole life collapsed on itself, that day when I heard her call my name and I ran into the living room. I remember that afternoon very clearly. I could not tell you what happened in school, but I know she and I were wearing matching pull over velor shirts. Hers was blue and mine was pink. It was one of those beautiful, clear January days we get in Florida. The sky was such a hard blue it was made of glass. The air was cool and perfectly clean. I remember noticing it as I walked home from the bus stop. It was a Friday. My birthday was coming up in a few weeks. Mom was home because she'd started taking Fridays off. We were going shopping that weekend. Monday she was going to take me to get my driver's licence. She was making one of my favorites for dinner -- chicken and dumplings. It was cooking on the stove in a big pot.

It is still strange to me that none of it happened. No dinner, no shopping, no license on Monday. Her funeral was on Tuesday. I remember that. I remember lots of little scenes, and lots of long blurs of motion. I remember looking into her face on the ride up the elevator at the hospital, the dead flatness of her warm brown eyes, her slack face, the tattered pieces of her blue velor shirt in my hands -- they had cut it off in the emergency room. Now she was going to ICU.

That's when I knew she was dead, although it would be another 6 hours before anyone else admitted it.

I can't remember the date. I'll have to look.

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