Thursday, October 23, 2003

Daddy's Amnesia Day!

Your brothers bought it without a twitch of an eyebrow. "Dad says he has amnesia, fuck it. Dad has amnesia," they said. "You're a faggot, dudefucker," they added. Then they took off their shoes and made you smell them.

But something about this story never quite sat right with you. Are you especially distrusting of your father? Or were you simply the only one who paid attention to everything that occurred just before the amnesia set in?

You stood in the hallway and watched your mother clumping up his dress shirts and lobbing them out the window onto the lawn. "Let your little slut iron these from now on," she shouted into the night. And though you weren't sure what she was talking about, you felt in your bones that things were never going to be the same. You just never imagined that it would work out that your father would come home and not recognize your face.

He must have been out there wondering how and why he came to your house. He just stood there on the lawn, staring at the clothes and trinkets he didn't recognize splayed across the grass. He looked like he was trying very hard to come to a conclusion. Then your mother came to the door and didn't shout. She just watched him. Your father came into the house.

"Who are you? Do you recognize me?" he asked your mother. "I feel a great deal of love for you, but I don't remember ever having met you in my life. Yet I feel I am supposed to live here and love the people in this house. Perhaps I have amnesia and cannot remember any of the major events in my life, especially the more recent ones. However, the warmth I feel in my heart makes me certain that this house is the place where I am to live and where I one day will die a happy man who lived a full life. May I stay? I appear to have amnesia."

The anger crept from your mother's brow. She looked to be trying to solve long division. You were hiding behind a chair, breathless with the suspense as your mother decided whether to hold her husband in her arms or start screaming again like she had been doing for the past two days that he was gone.

Then she took a breath and took him by the arm, leading him to the couch in the living room. "Boys," she shouted. "Come down here."

You and your brothers lined up on the sectional opposite where your mother was sitting beside your father.

"Boys, something terrible has happened. Your father has amnesia and he can't remember anything about his life."

She waited for your father to say something. He said to you and your brothers, "Who are you? Do you recognize me? I appear to have amnesia."

Your mother then took his chin in her hand and said into his eyes, "These are your children. And I am your wife. Never, never betray us."

Then she let go of his face. "This is your home," she said. "This is where you'll stay."

After that, you all wore nametags for a few months, and occasionally you'd have to remind him where the toilet is. But everything pretty much seemed like it was after not too long. At first, if you mentioned the amnesia to your mom, she'd just say "Think of it like a do-over." Later she'd say, "Your father is home. That's what matters." And she'd look at you a little too long before giving you a hug. After a while, she just stopped answering you.

Happy Daddy's Amnesia Day!