He Forgot. Short Story.

My week has been boring, as usual. I’m still recouperating slightly, so I’m a bit tired, though not nearly as bad as I’ve been in the past, which is reassuring. College on Monday was pretty awesome, an author, (Eoin Mcnamee) came in to talk with us, it was really interesting and pretty awesome.

I’ve also started watching a TV show called The Following, which is pretty good, though I’ve been guessing the twists with some regularity. Also, I managed to figure out who an actor was, without looking it up, not only an actor, but that it was his twin. Pretty proud of that.

Also, Game of Thrones, right? It’s back. Finally. Only watched the episode yesterday, don’t know how I managed to wait that long without exploding (or watching it myself first.) I’ve read the books already, but god damn the show is addictive too.

Well, that’s enough about TV I guess!

On with the show!

—————————————————————————————–

He was finishing off his work for the day. It had taken him longer than he had expected, but he’d still get out before five. That was something at least. The computers always took ages to shut down properly too. He hit save, then started the arduous process. When it was finally done he gathered his things. Most of the office had already left and now there were just a few stragglers, they too appeared as though they were packing up. No one wanted to be the last out, it was always creepy. The light switch was at one end of the office, the lifts at the other. After turning them off you had to walk in semi-darkness, expecting some psycho killer to jump out and slaughter you. At least, that’s what he always expected. He doubted the others felt any differently though. The computer screen finally turned off and he was free to leave, company policy prevented him from going any sooner. He grabbed his back pack and stood, there were still three people left. He wouldn’t be the last. Sighing in relief he shouldered the backpack and went to the lifts.

He rode down in silence, the company was too cheap to supply elevator music, or maybe they just didn’t want to torture their employees. He had been early this morning, so he managed to snag a parking space nearby, he wouldn’t have to endure a ten minute walk in the cold. The day was supposed to be hot, the forecaster had lied. He stepped from the elevator and went past the reception area, they were all gone too. He entered the code into the keypad and opened the door. Once outside, it closed silently behind him, a faint click signalling it had locked again. The sky was overcast, but it didn’t look like rain, a few people scurried past, their jackets held up against their necks.

He was half way to the car when she appeared, “Darren!” he paused to look around, she hurried towards him, “you were supposed to meet me outside my building, did you forget?” “I’m sorry?” “It’s ok, lucky I saw you going by, don’t fancy walking home in this cold!” She started walking, not noticing he wasn’t walking with her. She went a few steps, then stopped, “is everything ok?” “I’m sorry, but do I know you?” She looked confused for a moment, then smiled, “very funny. C’mon it’s freezing out here.” He looked her up and down, trying to place her. She wore a long black coat and white gloves, her skin was pale and her hair black, she wore red lipstick, not bright but light enough so you knew she was wearing it. “I’m not joking.” “…It’s me…Sandy?” “I don’t know you, you must have me confused with someone else.” She frowned. “You’re really serious, aren’t you?” He nodded his head, then smiled slightly, “No harm done anyway. I’m in a bit of a rush though.” He moved to step around her, she blocked his way. “Seriously, this isn’t funny, if you’re joking stop right now.” “I’m not joking. I’ve told you that.” She stepped closer, he stepped back. “Did you hit your head or something?” “What? No.” “Something must have happened, how can’t you remember me? It’s me.” He shrugged again, the wind tugged at his coat, her hair blew around her face. “Look, I am sorry, but I really have to go.” He started to walk again. His phone started to ring, he looked at the name, expecting it to be his mother, but it wasn’t her, the name on the screen said Sandy. He stopped and answered, “Hello?” “See! You do know me.” She was calling out from behind him. “This is ridiculous. You did something to my phone.” “I didn’t, I swear.” “Ok then, let’s just say I know you, for shits and giggles, how do I know you?” “…you’ve known me for years. I’m your wife.” She gestured at his hand, he looked, there was a gold band there, one he was sure hadn’t been there a few moments ago. “Whatever you’re playing at, you can stop right there. I’m not married.” He knew that much at least, if he was, his mother wouldn’t be dropping so many hints about him finding a girlfriend, about how she wasn’t going to live forever. “Ok, that’s it something is really wrong. I’m going to drive us home first, then we’ll ring your mother, have her come around, she’ll tell you and if that doesn’t work, we’ll, I guess it’s A and E.” She held out her hand expectantly. “No.” “What?” “I said no. I don’t know who you are, why the hell should I give you my car keys?” “Look, that car there, that one is yours.” She pointed at his car. “Ok, so you saw me get out of it this morning.” “I know where you live.” “Because that’s reassuring.” “This isn’t a joke.” “You could have followed me home.” “Ok, fine, ask me something, go on, anything.” “What’s my mother’s name.” “Christy. That isn’t exactly difficult, something a stranger wouldn’t know.” “Ok…I have a scar…no wait…my biggest scar, where is it and why?” “Your biggest scar is on your knee if you go by size, hip if you go by injury. Knee, you fell as a kid, skidded along some gravel and it fucked it up.  The hip scar was when you fell while drunk and a branch went into your side…Did I pass?” He took a breath, maybe she wasn’t lying. “Ok, that was more than a lucky guess. “See I told you.” “Ok. Fine. But I’m driving.” “I’m not getting into a car with you.” “What?” “Something’s happened, you are in no fit state to drive.” He started walking towards the car, she could stay here and freeze for all he cared. He took his keys from his pocket, a few seconds later, she was beside him. “Fine. But I’m registering my objections. “ She smiled, but her eyes didn’t.

The drive home was awkward, nothing was said for the entire trip. He turned on the radio at one point, but she turned it off. He left it that way.

The house looked normal when they arrived, at least the outside did. Inside was mostly the same, but there were a few differences. The largest was a rug in the sitting room, one he had no recollection of buying, the subtlest were the pictures. Ones of him and this woman. The most startling of which was the wedding photo, framed and on the wall. That morning it was a landscape photo.

His mother arrived not long after they did, she lived close by. She didn’t understand either. As she told Darren, he’d been married to Sandy for three years. Three years of apparent marital bliss that he could not remember. That, above all else was what unnerved him the most. There were no gaps, he could remember everything he could earlier, the only difference was Sandy. She was not in any of his memories. He remember how he had eaten Chinese and watched a movie at the weekend, she remembered eating it with him. He remember his trip to Paris, she remembered their romantic kiss under the Eiffel tower and how he told her they were so cliché.

They were concerned for him, of course they were, they cared about him after all. He went along with what they said, trying to figure out what had happened, how it could have happened. Did he have some kind of stroke? A brain tumour? They were talking about getting in a doctor, about going to the hospital as he gazed at a photograph. It changed, from them together to him alone. Only for a moment, a split second, and she was back. He rubbed his eyes, trying to figure out what exactly he had seen, but the picture remained the same.

He rubbed his hands together nervously, never noticing how his hand slid right through his ring over and over again. Sandy smiled at him, “Don’t worry, we’ll get this all sorted out soon.”

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About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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