Lucidium No 5 “Forget Me Not”
“You woke up to be told by everyone around you that you’ve lost all your memories in a car crash. Years later, you discover a journal written by yourself that tells a different story…” from Promptuarium, found on Pinterest.
70 minutes. 1230 words.
I’d long since accepted that my past was lost. According to Patrice I’d been in a nasty car accident, but even that I couldn’t remember. My friends had to tell me my name, my history, who my husband was…and my life was good and for the most part everything felt right, so I never fought them. But now I could learn it all for myself.
The journal’s leather was supple and alien under my fingertips. Everything in our house was cotton and bright, this dark animal skin was a foreign object. I didn’t even like leather, but maybe before the accident? My name was embossed in gold on the cover.
Should I even bother to read it? My accident was six years ago. I had a son now, and I liked my neighbors. What if this diary changed all that? But, if the diary could change that, didn’t I have to read it?
The tiny book stared at me, taunting. My name glittered in the sunlight. I was being ridiculous. I had no reason to believe my internal life from six years ago could ruin everything for me now. I opened it. “This book is the property of Miriam J. Wilkes, if you are not her, close this now.” Wilkes? It was undoubtedly my handwriting, but my maiden name was Gunther. I turned to the first entry, dated July 18, 2010.
Today is a beautiful day. People have finally stopped setting off fireworks (Independence Day was 2 weeks ago people!) and the sun was bright. I even met a nice man: Charles James. Don’t you just love last names that are first names? Anyways, Charles ran into me during my daily walk in Central Park and bought me ice cream and we talked for an hour. Then I had to go to work, but I was tempted to skip it. My boss probably wouldn’t have even noticed. She still can’t remember my name. I gave him my phone number, and God I hope he uses it.
I breathed out. This was the same story Charles told about us meeting. He did use my number, and it was less than year before we got married. Although, he hadn’t mentioned Central Park. We didn’t even live in New York. I flipped ahead a few entries to September 1, 2010.
Rita finally agreed to move me to the California office and we’re negotiating moving costs. It isn’t common for them to pay for a desk jockey like me, but she knows what is like to have an ex become a stalker. The police never want to believe you. It would be easier to just leave New York and CJ.
What? No. CJ and I…what? I searched for our wedding day: December 8th, 2010.
It’s Christmastime, but there is no snow. How do Californians do Christmas without snow? I’m in desperate need of a miracle, but I’m far from 34th street. The police in LA told me I’d need proof and witnesses if CJ were going to be arrested and convicted for stalking. The problem is he knows that. I never see him until I’m alone. I had to move into a building with a doorman just to feel safe. Here, on the tenth floor, and a strict no-visitor policy, I am safe. I’ve seen him outside the building, but the doorman knows if he sees CJ to call the police, and to let me know immediately if he tries to come in. I am safe. At home, at least, I am safe. Now I just need a job that will help me afford this damn building. Mom won’t subsidize me much longer.
No, no, no, that can’t be right. CJ was good and honest. We had friends who’d been to our wedding! I had pictures…there must be a Miriam Wilkes who’d been stalked by someone with my husband’s name that had a similar handwriting to mine. That had to be it. I flipped to the end of the journal. My accident was March 15th, 2011. If there were entries after that, then it wasn’t my journal. This one was in CJ’s handwriting.
July 5, 2011
Miri still doesn’t remember anything. Jones assured me that if she didn’t remember anything by the 4th, her memory was gone for good. Thank God. I finally know she’s mine, forever. And, I found a pregnancy test in the garbage. We’re having a baby! Life couldn’t be more perfect, I just wish Miri could’ve given this a chance without persuasion.
I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Persuasion? What happened? My blood was cold. My skin was fire. “Miri?” I slammed the book shut.
“What are you reading?” My heart stopped.
“A recipe book. I think I’ll go to the store and pick up ingredients.” I slid the book into the folds of my skirt. I was glad it was small.
“Oh?” CJ smiled. “What are you cooking?” I stood and pecked him on the lips.
“It’s a surprise. And I think I’ll take Johnny with me. He hasn’t been feeling very good, but some fresh air will help.” He nodded. I walked out as calmly as I could, grabbed my son, and started driving.
All those entries spelled crime. But what my neighbors had told me? And friends? My family died when I was a kid, I grew up in the foster system, I didn’t have a mom to subsidize me. And CJ never said anything about New York, and we had wedding pictures. This couldn’t be us. But what if it was? I couldn’t trust anyone. I tried to remember what different friends told me about how we met. I couldn’t think of friends that were only mine that I knew before CJ. I drove out of our little town. If something had happened to Miriam Gunther, then the people who would know best were the LAPD detectives she was working with, right? I started flipping through pages while we sat in traffic, trying to find their names and phone numbers. Johnny asked repeatedly where we were going. Miriam hadn’t written their numbers, but I found their names: Carlos Sanchez and Ben Schwartz. “We are going to visit Mommy’s friends. Here is a snack,” I gave him a granola bar to calm him as I got off the highway. I stopped at the first precinct I could find and asked where I should go to find them.
“I will call them for you. It’s pretty far.” I hesitated at the offer.
“I used to work in that precinct, and Miriam Gunther was a very important case to them. They’ll want to hear what you have to say.” My phone rang. It was CJ. I hung it up. I couldn’t talk to him. Not now.
Thirty minutes of loitering in the lobby of the precinct later, Carlos and Ben arrived. The taller of the two shouted and laughed when they saw me. The other elbowed him. “Miriam. We thought you were dead.” My heart dropped.
“You know me?”
“Yes. You asked for us, remember?”
“Mommy, who are they?” Johnny tugged on my skirt.
“Is there somewhere safe I can take my son?” They nodded.
“Sue, let us in? Someone will keep an eye on him here while we talk.”
“Can you remind me of your names? I don’t remember anything before March 20th, 2011.”
This is extra insane, and probably patchy. But hey- that’s what prompts are all about! In the meantime, hiatus is over, degree earned, and I have officially started work on sinfines! I hope to start posting Within the Walls of Jubilee and Our World the first week of September.