“I’ve had a hard time sleeping these past few nights.”
“Is that why you’re acting so weird?”
“Actually, more than just these past few nights.”
“And actually, more erratic than weird.”
She stood up from her stool, drew it closer to him and sat again. There was an echo, but nothing in sight which could have caused it. Stranger things have been known to happen.
“What’s up?” she asked.
He sighed heavily, probably unsure as to what he should answer. The pause was of those moments you think will never end.
“I … I think I don’t even know. You know?”
“And here I was thinking you couldn’t get any weirder.”
“You don’t seem to know about compassion.”
“I think you ought to talk about empathy here. But nevermind. What do you mean, you don’t know?”
He sighed again, but differently. Can difference be similar? That was the sort of question floating about in his head; things like that had been torturing him his whole life. Until then; until now, he thought.
“I woke up and … it was all just a blank.”
“Yeah, the sheets. So what?”
“No. I don’t mean that literally. I mean … everything around me … me; it was all a blank.”
“Hold on, what?”
The cat came in with a weird step. He couldn’t recall if that was its normal step or not; and he could not recall if he should have known it to begin with either. The wind caused the window to move and crack, which took the cat off guard and made him run and hide behind a chair. She laughed, and called for it to come sit on her lap. Charles, she said, com’hea Charlie. But it didn’t.
“Yeah, a blank,” he concluded.
She now stared at him intensely, probably trying to figure out if he was pulling another one on her, but she couldn’t figure it out.
“What do you mean, blank?”
“I mean; there was nothing. No name, no feelings, no memories – empty spaces. That’s what there was. Empty spaces.”
“Was? So, you’re better now. Right?”
The cat took a tentative step and moved from behind the chair. It shook its behind in an odd manner, then jumped and launched itself right onto a shoe. It apparently had a vendetta again it.
“I guess, I’m sure, maybe.”
“That’s one weird way to answer; I’ll say you sound fine to me.”
She was smiling, and placed her hand on his thigh. Were they close? This close? Apparently. There was a strange feeling inside the room; it could have been the cat, they have a tendency to produce this sort of vibe. But it wasn’t. It was something else, somewhere else. But it was still hard to get to the heart of it.
“You’re not saying anything; you disagree?” she asked.
“I think …”
There was a slight hesitation in his voice, most likely coming from a failing cerebral connexion. Should he say what was on his mind? What if he was an introvert? Some people never truly express anything. Perhaps he was like that, who’s to say he wasn’t? But the vibe; it was there. Undeniable. She seemed trustworthy, and her hand felt warm.
“I think I’m gone.”
There was an echo, but nothing in sight which could have caused it. Her hand was clutching his thigh now, not simply resting as a sign of comfort. Anxiety.
“It’s been … well, I don’t know how long it’s been. But everything’s just vanished; erased. I’m essentially … a white page.”
He could see her whole complexion change. The cat was now at her feet, waiting for its head to be scratched, but she ignored it completely. She peered and stared and tried to process that last bit of information she had just heard. Could it be possible? Loss of memories? Overnight amnesia? Or had he just trained really hard at pulling practical jokes? She felt a vibe in the room, ominous, terrible, and the wind blew and swept the entire world outside, uprooting everything and taking it away. Was that a bad omen?
“Phil, come on…” she started.
“Phil? Is that my name?”
Perhaps he was better off with his memory wiped out. Tabula rasa.