Friday Night Story

Randomly Accessed Memory

My doctor has no idea how I survived, frankly. He gave all manner of pronouncements, mostly having to do with a loss of this function or that, all pulled clearly more from his rectum than a medical text. He told me my memory was probably shot, and that I’d never stand (let alone walk). I informed him that I’d walked into his office. He told me that was probably temporary, to which I replied that he seemed to be temporarily a moron. Despite his accusation, he seemed to forget the insult before I did, and continued on to tell me that I’d be excreting into a bag, and I’d never get another erection. I suspect these last two were his idea of revenge, because, at least til this moment, neither’s been an issue.

I’ll start at the beginning (or at least I think I’m at the start). I got hit in the head. Actually, that’s not quite descriptive enough- I got hit in the brain. You know those wobbly goddamned traffic lights that lean across four lanes of traffic, and on windy days look like there ought to be a man in flannel standing at the bottom holding an ax and yelling “timbeeeer” at the top of his bearded throat? Well, one of those fell on me. Broke open my skull like old eggshell, and gave me the equivalent of a Muhammad Ali uppercut in the grey matter.

I walked home from that. I figured it would be best to get my car some other time (whenever I was able to remember where I’d put it). When I got home, Jennifer was asleep on the couch, with reruns of F-Troop playing without the sound, wearing one of my dress shirts and nothing else. I was about to kiss her awake when a moist man in a towel emerged from the bathroom, and made a noise not unlike a dog barking. Jennifer leapt to her feet. She said I didn’t live there anymore, that I hadn’t for a long time, and I realized she might have been telling the truth. She told me she was wearing my shirt, but that it didn’t mean what was underneath it belonged to me. I left quietly after that, and stood on her porch after she turned out the light. I couldn’t think of anywhere else to go.

I went to the doctor. He asked pertinent questions, and quickly deduced that my mind’s filing system had gone off the tracks. It was dysmemoriae, he called it, although he may have been making the word up- my brain wasn’t organizing memories according to a timeline, anymore, just shoving events in whatever order they fit. I could tell he was eager about his theory, because he started talking to me excitedly about my hard drive being fragmented, and how I’d need therapy to defragment it- and I stopped him, because he was beginning to hurt my head. He told me to turn around, since I still had the plastic bubble on it, and he’d see if he could see anything wrong. I didn’t smile, although it was probably kind of funny.

Which brings us, in a strange sort of way, to Jennifer. Our problems didn’t start when I spent a good six months with my brain looking out at the world through a plastic window- because we’d been having problems since we moved in together. If anything, she tried to be kind to me, to at least be gentle, if she couldn’t ever manage understanding. I never had the best memory in the world even before my accident, which had always been a contentious issue, but now I was completely unreliable. I’d pay the month’s rent three weeks in a row, then forget it for four months. Once she asked me to look after her rabbit, and when she got back he looked like those starving Africans in the infomercials (and yet for some reason I’d been diligently cleaning his cage every 12 hours). But I took some comfort knowing that we cared for each other, even if it would probably never to work out.

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