Once Upon A Time
I woke in a room, alone in a bed. Two little toddler boys stood there, striped shirts stretched tight across fat little bellies. They seemed familiar, but in the dim light I couldn’t quite make out their faces. I tried to speak.
I was going to say something like ‘Hello little fellas’, but as I started to speak, they turned like little fish and ran out of the room. Closing my eyes, I tried to ignore the relentless machine in my head, a throbbing, grinding thing that was not really noise, not really even real, but still the most insistently painful thing in the world.
I opened my eyes and tried to remember where I was. Looking around, nothing was familiar. I wondered who the boys were. My memory was a jumbled bunch of puzzle pieces, some face up and some face down. I knew something must have happened, and since I couldn’t remember what that was I knew it must have been bad.
The beat of feet down a hallway announced the return of the little boys. Right behind them was a woman with long hair and striking, exotic features. She called me ‘Jon’. She said it like she knew me, like she’d said it before.
She sat on the bed, placed the back of her fingers on my forehead, then with two fingers pressing my throat, she checked my pulse. Satisfied, she slid her fingers along my hairline the way your mother does when you’re all a mess. Leaning in close, she whispered
I love you.
And she kissed me so lightly you might never have known about it, if I didn’t tell you here.
I am Jon, and the gentle memories move me.