The Forgotten
Clear blue eyes. Blonde. Chewing on a stir stick to help quit smoking...even though he still smokes. He's been to Tin Lizzy's before he came here. I know without asking because "It's his Saturday night thing."

"What's his name?" The Amazon whispers.

Linus. That's what I call him in my mind. Because he looks like Linus Roache.<br>

"I don't fucking know."

The Amazon calls him Simon. I'm not sure why, but he looks like he could be a Simon, even though I know he isn't.

"I have very good ears you know" his way of telling me he heard without telling me he heard me. "Guess what it is."




He smiles. "I bet you would have remembered if we had sex." Strange comment from a man who has barely shaken my hand, a man I've only talked to twice, and both times late at night in a bar.

I want to tell him he's in good company. I've come a long way from the girl in college who flipped out when she realized she couldn't remember the name of every man she had ever kissed. So many things forgotten over the years. the names of all the state capitals. The Robert Frost poem, title included, I memorized in 8th grade. The face of my pediatric orthopedist. The plot lines to the Way of All Flesh and Vanity Fair. Most of the phone numbers in my cell. The date of my father's birthday. The name of the surgery I had when I was twelve. That Dorothy Parker poem which ends "and if it makes you happy kid, you'll be the first it ever did." The different Treaties of Paris. The famous solilioques from Hamlet and the Merchant of Venice. Calculus, all of it, in gratuity. Most of my Latin. My favorite poem from Petrarch. To put my latest Netflix returns in the mail. My mother's exact age. What I did last tuesday, wednesday, thursday night. And of course these are only the things I know I've forgotten, there are so many more things that I've forgotten that I've forgotten.

Cleaning under my bed on friday morning, I find a storage bin and open it. It contains one of Eric's old notebooks. I leaf through it. The poems he wrote to me, about how wonderful I was, his musings about college students, and of course drawings. Near the end, I came to several pages of cramped writing. He had written about never feeling at home in NYC. How he tried, but he couldn't think of it as home. And then on the second page, "I'm in love with a girl. She's a New Englander. I wonder if we will ever find a place both of us call home. She's far too urbane to live in Vegas." I remembered when he showed it to me, being hurt somehow, and of course looking at it now I'm hurt in another way.

Before I was hurt by the sense of doubt, now I was hurt by the reality of it. All my friends hounding on me these years "He was young. He didn't know what he wanted. Why did you think etc etc" And then you see it in writing. He thought about us living together. We talked about it. More than once. We talked about how we would raise our children. We talked about where we would have our wedding. Hell, I even talked about it with his mother. We talked about whether he should be a house husband. We talked about moving back to CT. Over time, the voices of your friends become the truth. This didn't happen. It's some fantasy, some construct you've invented after the fact, the belief that you were going to be married, buy a house, and have a family all some hallucination.

But it did happen. It was not my imagination. My delusion. My wishful thinking. It happened.

But I forgot.

Which has brought me to this bar yet again. Not just to forget. But to forget that I have forgotten. I take a last pull on my Corona.

"Honey," I say to Brett as I slip off the barstool," You got me all wrong. If I had slept with you, I would have forgotten your name even sooner."

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