the second task set for Bedale savages 26/4
There were faces he knew he knew. They were kind faces, faces he knew would know him, faces of people he thought he could have known for years. Faces of people who would be upset if he said anything that made them think he did not recognise them.
But he should recognise them. He knew the faces. They were faces of people very important to him. He was sure some of the faces were faces of people he loved, he was probably related to some faces, or at the very least they were faces of people he really liked. So many happy faces, faces communicating with each other and laughing. Faces calling out to other faces who were smiling back in a community of recognition.
Mike felt a mist was flowing in around him. The room was bright, white sheeting hung in silken folds from above. The whole room was white, tablecloths, napkins, curtains, all white. As he glanced around he was careful not to make eye contact, lest someone engaged with him. It seemed familiar this room, safe, not like home but a very comfortable place to be. A place he was sure was a nice place with nice things and nice people. It was horribly scary. He had no idea where he was, who the faces were, who he was, what was happening. He tried not to scream then realised he was not able to scream, he had no control of his voice.
He looked around him. He was standing, or leaning really, against an upright support which held garlands of white flowers. He was wearing a black suit. There was noise.
The noise was words, he knew they made sense but he could not understand the words and he was hoping no one would ask him a question. He was growing more scared now.
The whole room was immediately familiar and unknown. A chair was unoccupied beside him, draped in white cloth with a bow tied to each front leg. It was a welcome support to him as he slid into it. He felt that his legs, his arms and his neck all needed to be thought about to make sure they each stayed where he wanted them to be.
A face looked directly at him and smiled. He did not want to upset it, so with a skill he didn’t know he had, he said “I’m sorry, I just have to go outside”
Not knowing how he did, he rose and walked through an opening behind him. It was as if he knew the opening was there but he had no idea what was on the other side until he was there, in a field. In the country. Looking over pasture and valleys.
Thick clover and tallish grasses waved in a breeze that tickled yellow and white meadow flowers to bobble in the green sward. A crowded parking area was full of gleaming motors and a couple of large buses, and just to his right there was a bench taking advantage of the view. He found himself sitting on the edge of it before he knew he had decided to sit.
The mental mist clouded rationality and prevented thought. He was scared, more scared than he had ever been before. But he could not remember before. He could not remember himself. He could not remember any thing that gave him a clue about where he was now.
He wanted to cry, he wanted to scream, wanted to understand. He wanted help. The smiling face from before, from inside the white room, the face he didn’t want to upset, was beside him again, it was a face he felt very strongly about, positively strongly, he really, really didn’t want to upset the face, he liked the face. It sat next to him quietly, looking out to the view. It made some words and held his hand. He loved that hand. It was a familiar hand. He made the effort to make his hand hold the hand with equal tenderness. The face became closer with a smile and words, it kissed his cheek.
"Did it all get a bit much for you Honey?" It said.
And with that, there was a slit in the mist, a gap of clarity, an arrow shaft of recognition and tears burst from Mike’s eyes as he recognised his wife.
"Oh you huge sook" she said, pulling out an ever present tissue from her sleeve, she wiped his cheeks and rested her head against his chest.
"It is so beautiful here, I am glad they chose it." She said, happy to sit in silence for a while, on this bench, where they had sat so many years before. Before the girls were born, before they were in love, before.
The mist had suddenly cleared, Mike had a flood of absolute joy he could not express. He knew where he was, who he was, what was going on. He knew. He Knew. He wanted to cry out in relief but he knew it would have no anchor in the reality of anybody else here, nobody else knew he had fallen into that awful memory vacuum. He didn’t want to worry Helen. Not now, not here. He was Okay. He was Okay. Okay. He put his arm around his wife and a small sob and a sigh escaped his control. Helen lent into him a bit more and they sat a while, enjoying their dissimilar moments.
Mike resolved to himself to go to the doctor on Monday.
"Next week" he said, "I’ll have something to tell you"
"Oh yes? And what would that be?" she mumbled
"I won’t know till next week, you’ll have to wait"
And Mike quietly fell into being very scared again.