Saturday, December 17, 2011

Mr. Memory

It was a cold, windy winter afternoon when my mother called.
Richard and I had just returned from the funeral of Mr. Memory. He was in his chair and I was in the kitchen, steeping a cup of tea. I could hear the clink of ice cubes against the glass as Richard drank his whiskey, and the brush of paper as he read the newspaper.
I didn't look up when the phone rang, knowing that Richard would fold the newspaper, place his glass on the table and answer it. So when he said, "Pamela, dear, it's for you," it took a moment for the tea bag to leave my grasp and for me to go to the phone.
My mother didn't bother with the smalltalk, as I knew she wouldn't. "That man, Mr. Memory, who died at the London Palladium. He was your father."
I coughed on some saliva that had gathered in my throat. "Mother, you can't be serious. Daddy left years ago and no one heard from him after that. You can't possibly know -"
"You were so young when he left, you wouldn't remember exactly what he looked like. I saw the picture of him in the newspaper. It was him."
Richard had his hand on my back, but my voice was just as emotionless as my mothers.
"I'm sorry, Mother."
"I just wanted to tell you."
And then she hung up. It was the most we had spoken since my father had left. Richard held me in his arms, insisting that I needed comfort, but I didn't miss my father. My mother was right, I was so young when he left that I didn't really remember him. And his death had brought my mother back to me; caused her to have a conversation with me.
I silently thanked Mr. Memory.

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