Friday Night Story

Dead if You Do

I used to remember every President the US ever had. I remembered most of the state capitals. On a good day, I still can. But I don't remember the date, or what day it is. I can't remember what I had for dinner yesterday; I don't really recall yesterday in any particulars that matter.

My daughter visits. I have trouble, sometimes, remembering who she is. I remember her childhood, her graduation, even her wedding. I know she has a daughter, though I can't picture her. But she's changed; put on weight, and aged, cut her hair and colored it. Some days, it's no trouble at all, because her eyes are the same- and some days I stare blankly until she speaks, and says, “Dad, it's me.”

And I can't help myself- every time I snap back. I'm not angry, least of all at her, but I'm slipping further away from myself, and I'm scared. She doesn't take it personally, anymore; she was always a good kid. All the same it stills weighs on her, makes it harder for her to come see me, and for my damn pride I can't tell her how much harder it'd be for me if she quit coming.

But now my doctor's telling me he has to take my pills away. A study from out of England shows anti-psychotics can as much as double risk of death. On a good day I might have countered that I was dying anyway, or that a life where my daughter wouldn't visit wouldn't be much worth living. But it wasn't a good day, so I just sat there, trying real hard to keep my body from embarrassing me.

Next good day, I tell myself, I'll talk at him. But the good days come less and less. I think my daughter's been coming less and less, too, though I can't be sure on it, since my recollection can't be trusted. I had a dream, the other day, that I woke up, and my mind was clear, like it had been a few years ago, and my daughter was there, and before she could say, “Dad, it's me,” I took her hand and told her, “Honey, it's me.” But then I woke up.

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