Sunday, November 18, 2007

Chapter Fifty-Two

“Harold, could you try Peter again. I’m getting worried. Maybe it’s because I don’t have a lifetime of memories to distract me but I can’t stop thinking that something has happened to him.”

Harold sat down next to Fanny and put his arm around her. “I’ll be right back. I’m going to go talk to Jerry for a minute.” He gave her a quick kiss. “I’ll be right back.”

“See you later, bye.”

“What did you say?”

“See you later, bye.”

“Honey. That’s kind of a little ‘thing’ we always said to each other. Don’t you see what that means? If you can remember things like that, it means you’re going to be able to recall other things soon.”

“I hope so, Harold. I feel like I am living in some kind of alternate reality. Hurry back.”

Jerry was sitting in front of the nurse’s station staring at the bank of elevators. He looked as exhausted as Harold felt. “I really appreciate what you’re doing, Jerry. I don’t think I could go through this alone.”

“You’d do the same for me, Harold. How’s Fanny doing?”

“She’s getting more and more frustrated at not being able to remember, but what’s really got her upset is not being able to contact Pete. He should have been home a long ago. We’ve tried his cell and his home phone. Nothing. Fanny thinks something has happened to him. Jerry, I’m worried too.”

Jerry frowned. He was worried too. “I’m going to call a friend of mind in the Charlottesville police department and have him take a ride by Pete’s apartment.”

“Do you think that’s necessary, Jerry?”

“I hope I’m just over-reacting, but I’ll feel better if someone checks on him. You go back in and try to keep Fanny calm.”

Harold returned to the room to find Fanny busy at her laptop again. He was relieved she’d found something to distract herself. Now he just needed to do the same. He had expected Jerry to dismiss their concerns about Pete. The fact that his friend had reacted so quickly reminded Harold they were dealing with desperate men who would stop at nothing.

“What are you writing, honey?” Harold hoped he sounded calm.

“Actually I’m not writing. I’m trying to get into my email. My username is here but not the password. I’ve tried everything. I tried putting in your name, Peter’s – even Arlo’s. No luck.”

“Did you try ‘mypassword’?”

“Why would I use your password to get into my email?”

“No. M-Y-P-A-S-S-W-O-R-D. You got irritated a while back at having to remember so many passwords and you started using ‘mypassword’ as your password. Try it.”

“That was it. I’m in. Thanks. Wow. Look at this. I have 146 unread emails.”

Harold leaned over her shoulder to look at the list of messages. “Looks like most of them are from people on your writing loop.” He saw that meant nothing to her. “See there – all the ones that have ‘writingloop’ at the beginning of the subject line. Those are from people on your on-line writing loop. It’s a carryover from a writing conference you went to out in New Mexico a few years ago. Someone posts a topic a few times a week and everyone writes on the topic.”

“Okay. Let’s see what topic everyone is writing on now…that’s ironic. Looks like the topic is ‘I remember’. That will be a really short write for me.” Fanny scrolled through the list of messages until she came to one that wasn’t from the writing loop. The message line read ‘Richard is dead’. She clicked on it before Harold could stop her.

Fanny –

I’ve left messages at all your numbers. Maybe you’re traveling. I don’t remember. If you happen to get this email please call me. Richard was killed earlier today in an automobile accident. The police don’t know how it happened. He hit a pole on Suitland Parkway. They’re waiting for the toxicology report but they don’t think he’d been drinking. I guess I should feel something but I don’t. You know how I felt. I guess what I am feeling is guilty because things are so much simpler now. I really need to talk. Please call me.


Fanny was trembling. Harold took her laptop and put it on the table. “What’s the matter, Fanny?” She didn’t respond. Her face was frozen in a mask of fear as though she was watching some gruesome film play out before her eyes. He hurried to the door that was still guarded by the two policemen. “Please get a nurse. Something’s wrong with my wife.”

When the nurse arrived less than a minute later Fanny was still in a stupor. She was conscious but apparently unaware of anyone or anything around her.

“What’s the matter with her?”

The nurse didn’t answer him. She was too busy checking Fanny’s pulse and blood pressure. When she had finished noting her vital signs she responded. “It looks like something must have triggered a memory that upset your wife. Do you remember what she was doing right before this happened?”

Harold pointed at the laptop that was still open on the bedside table.



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