“Gwen, on our last anniversary you hit your head. You were really drunk, fell down some stairs. When you woke up in the hospital, you couldn’t remember your own name. It took awhile before you could leave. You were so distraught. Every day you woke up remembering nearly nothing. The doctor warned me before you were released that your memories could vanish again.” My supposed-fiance gave me a sad smile. It was almost patronizing. “Here, I’ve been helping you keep a diary since the accident. It’s supposed to help you retain your memories.” He grabbed a floral notebook off of the bookshelf.
Holding it tight, I sunk back onto the couch. Just from looking at the closed pages, I could tell that I’d nearly filled half of the notebook. “I’m sorry, what’s your name?”
“Cal. I’ll put this stuff away while you read. Feel free to ask me anything if you have questions.” He started storing the groceries. The cupboard was organized the way I remembered, but there was more junk food. His junk food.
My hands fiddled with the journal pages as I opened it to the most recent entry. It was from yesterday. My small, tight handwriting was scrawled across the pages:
Woke up remembering that yesterday I’d forgotten everything. I had, had a weird dream about sleeping with Destiny. I don’t know if it happened sometime long ago, but I can’t ask Cal. He’s been so patient with me. At least that’s what my diary tells me. I feel like I’m moving one step forward and two steps back. How does this happen? I’ve never heard of someone remembering and then forgetting and then remembering again. Cal says to trust the doctors. I don’t know. They don’t seem to have any more idea of what’s wrong with me than I do.
I flipped to an earlier entry.
I remember. I remember meeting Cal and falling in love with him. My life was perfect. I want that life again. I want to remember always. I just don’t know how.
Could I have been more vague? If I had remembered, then I should’ve written a detailed description about everything. Why not make it easier for myself to remember later?
I tried another entry.
Today Destiny called. She’s moving across the city for work. Apparently she’s been promoted. Since it’ll now take two hours to get to her apartment, Cal and I probably won’t be seeing her much. She sounded happy. I’m happy for her, but she’s my closest friend. I don’t want her to move so far away.
“What’s Destiny’s new address?” I asked.
Cal looked up from the pack of chicken that he was separating out into freezer bags. His eyebrows furrowed. “She’s hours away now, Gwen. We haven’t spoken to her in a month.”
“I know that she moved, I just. I think seeing her will jog my memory. The journal is good, but I just have a feeling.”
“I’ll come with you. I miss her too, and I can’t let you navigate that far without all of your memories. The electric line has changed recently.”
Saying that the electric line made some changes was an understatement. They had done a massive overhaul, revamping the stations and adding new stops and lines. It was incredibly more complicated than I remembered, and I was actually glad that Cal was here to help. Until we arrived at Destiny’s.
Her apartment was the penthouse in a newly refurbished tower across the street from the mall of the north side. Luckily she was home. She let us in and an hour and a half of obligatory small talk commenced. It was only when Cal left for the bathroom that I could actually talk to her.
“The last thing I remember is you leaving my apartment the morning after the company Christmas party.” I leaned forward. “How?”
She was just as beautiful as I remembered, except now there was a streak of grey in her hair. I couldn’t tell if it was intentional. Destiny tilted her head. “I honestly don’t remember that night, but I probably left through the front door.”
“You don’t remember meeting me? Or do you remember it differently?” I tried to keep my voice level, but my angry and frustration leaked out.
“I meet a lot of people, Gwen. Do you remember your first time meeting everyone you know? I’m sorry. That was insensitive.”
“You don’t remember anything about that night?”
“I had had a lot to drink, and I’ve been to quite a few Christmas parties over the years. I wish I could remember, believe me.”
“I don’t. I don’t believe you about any of this. One minute I was single in a shitty apartment, and now I’m supposedly engaged with a memory disordered? Switch it back.”
Destiny’s eyebrows rose. “I don’t understand.”
“Switch it back. I don’t want this life. I want to be where I was before.”
I expected her to lie through her teeth, to convince me that I just couldn’t remember. Instead, she smiled. “Everyone wants to go back to the past. But what’s done is done. I promised you a perfect life, and I’ve delivered. Minus the memory issues–which you created by the way, just wouldn’t give in and be happy. This life is my gift to you, remember? Free of charge. No returns. You’re welcome.”