Having Alzheimer’s

Having Alzheimer’s

1. It was a rainy day. It poured and poured like the odious tea my children make me drink on a daily basis. They all seem to think it is my favorite kind. I simply cannot break their warm hearts. They come home so often and one of them always insists on making me Jasmine tea like it is some kind of elixir that will rejuvenate my decaying senses. Tea is so trivial, so banal. Why does it bother me so much? Why do my children insist on it?   What makes them think I like it? On that rainy day, I smashed a little white cup. I tossed it furiously at the drizzled window. It crashed into pieces near the book cabinet and the tea spilled all over the floor as fast as my daughter’s eyes welled up with tears.

      “I don’t like tea!”, I screamed though I was attempting to restrain my previously built up anger. My daughter stayed  quiet, a look I don’t love on her. She scurried towards the book cabinet. Her right hand trembled as she swept the pieces of the cup into the dustpan. Fastidiously, she did the job as if those were pieces of me she was trying to put together. She couldn’t leave a single one out, or damage it any further. They were all she had left. Pieces.

2. I stood with a vapid expression in an aisle at what seemed to be a grocery store. I was surrounded by jams, varieties of biscuits and chips, so many chips. I had never realized there were so many kinds of chips. But I did not want any of those chips. I thought I had been watching the movie Valentine’s Day on Romedy Now just a moment ago. I could not string the loose ends of my brain to fathom why I was suddenly not in my living room enjoying my movie anymore. I was aware of my condition and how this happens to me sometimes, but that day I felt trapped. And not like in the movies where I felt like the rows of food were closing in on me or the world suddenly felt darker. My condition is not that dramatic but it is a lot more frightening because of how real it is to me. I felt afraid because I did not know which grocery store I was in, how I got there or if I even knew how to drive. I thought to myself that maybe I knew how to drive. But where was the parking lot? Or did I walk here? Which is my car? I was not holding any car keys, I was not holding a cellphone. All I was holding was a Blueberry Jam I didn’t think I needed anymore.

I closed my eyes shut, yelling at myself to remember. I do not like being so mad at myself anymore.

3. Unlike most days, I had a visitor who was not one of my children. I felt dumbfounded the moment he entered the Red door and into my living room. I thought that door used to be Brown. As he introduced himself, I just smiled at him like I do at everyone. Plain, phony, platitudinous. He told me that we had met before, I raised an eyebrow as I was unsure which one of us was being phony then. My sons have taught me to just go with it when people say things that don’t fully make sense. What can you do when almost everything does not make sense? Scream in a pillow? Yes. Fight your visitor? Preferably not. I am speaking from experience.

I asked him if he had any family. He said, “Yes, I told you before. You are my family”. I could not respond. I may have forgotten how to. He started showing me an old photo album. He pointed towards a woman in all the photos and said that, that was me..27 years ago. In one of the pictures I was gently holding his hand. That did look like me, I knew it did which somehow worried me more. Memories can be so funny. Even when shown pictures, my memories are as erasable as the fleeting moments I had wanted to cherish. I had mastered the art of not panicking when strangers did such things. I saw those photos of me, carefully. I looked so full of life and yet as I gazed harder, I could feel my life being taken away from me. With each that page I flipped, I felt lifeless. 

I stood up, turned around and walked to the kitchen to make myself a cup of Jasmine tea.

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