Memory is a tricky thing. There are things I don’t remember, and there are things I can never forget. I wrote a short story last year that I called,”The Girl I Don’t Remember” It is a fictionalized version of a true memory of mine from late 1960’s or early 70’s — I don’t really remember what decade — and I didn’t like the ending in real life, or in the story. The other day, I rewrote the ending. Tell me what you think.
©2015/2016 Burl Barer. All Rights Reserved
THE GIRL I DON’T REMEMBER
I once met a girl about whom I remember absolutely nothing except this story. There is no image of her in my mind, no recollection of her scent, her smile, her laugh or the long tender kiss we shared before we parted. I’m sure there must have been a kiss, or several kisses and perhaps some type of intimacy, but it is lost to me now after so many years.
All I know is that we met one gloriously romantic night in Seattle, and shared the evening together until just past 2 am. I imagine we laughed a lot, or at least smiled until our cheeks hurt. Whatever we did, I know we had a wonderful time. If not, I wouldn’t remember this story.
Our time together was joyous, stimulating and so blatantly rewarding that the idea of not seeing each other again was so absurd that we laughed about it. That much I recall. It is only the ending events of the story that remain remarkably clear.
We were in her car, and she was dropping me off at my car.
“Now I suppose I’ll never see you again,” she said, and we both laughed. “You are one of those men who never calls the next day, or the next week, or ever .”
“I’ll call you before you’re home, just to hear it ring,” I said. “In fact, when you get home, the phone will be ringing as you open the door”
“You’ll need my number then. You can’t just dial at random and expect to get me.”
She found a napkin, dug a Schaefer cartridge pen out of her purse, and wrote down her number.
“I promise to stare at the number until it is embedded in my brain,” I said, “and I’ll save this napkin the rest of my days.”
“Okay, then,” she said, and I would like to think that she kissed me again. I pulled on the door handle, stepped out of the car, shut the door and waved goodbye as she drove off in the rain.
Blue cartridge ink.
No ringing phone awaited her at home. Not that night, not the next day. Not ever..
As Seattle rain smeared the number from the napkin, it also erased every detail of our encounter from my memory.
She is the girl I don’t remember. The Forgotten Woman.
The napkin, the rain and the dissolving bluish streaks are forever embedded in my brain, and true to my word, I saved the napkin.
I hope that if she remains alive, and by fate providence or literary curiosity she reads this story, I pray she forgives me.
Then again, the rain washing away her number possibly saved me from the devastating heartbreak of a disastrous affair climaxed by her murdering me, dismembering my lifeless body, running my remains through a meat grinder, then donating the lean ground author to the local senior center.
The Holy Book says, “every drop of rain is accompanied by an angel of the Lord.”
The angels of the Lord get credit for saving me from that vicious bitch.
I hope she died in a flood.
Wait. What if she were saved from me?
Remind me to toss out this damn napkin.
I don’t even remember why I saved it in the first place.