The Memory Game
“Dad, how’s it going today?”
“Good. The satellite not working today? I’ve got no tv.”
“Satellite? you mean the cable?”
“Yeah, it’s out. Can you fix it?”
“Sure Dad. (cable, power, on)”
“Thanks!” (I am a technical genius)
Memory is a funny thing. I can recall the feeling of the synthetic shag carpeting under my knees as I crawled up the stairs in the house I was born in. I can summon up the taste of mom’s
cremated well done pork chops and can still see their gray pallor in my minds’ eye . I can feel the velvety soft fur of my first pet. I could draw, from memory, the pattern of the floral wallpaper that graced the walls of our guest bathroom in 1979. I can not however, remember what I ate for dinner last night.
As my father ages I can’t figure out if his memory loss is a result of old age, of disinterest, or if he’s just always had the retention of a gold fish.
Everyone knows that my father doesn’t know my last name. It’s Braun. He comes close with “Brown” so I’ll let that one slide. Dad doesn’t know my birthday. He passes that one off with a “it’s not important to me.” Not nice, but I share his thick skin so this I can also live with.
A friend recently told me that her son and my father spend time together at my dad’s favorite restaurant. They share stories and laughs. I ask Dad if he knows this young man’s name. He lights up and answers “of course I do!” He can name every waitress, driver, cook in the building. He can name the proprietors of all of the local shops. And their wives. But ask him the name of his youngest grandchild and he answers every time, (in his thick french Canadian accent) “I got no fucking idea.”
I’m not sensitive and neither is my sister. I do sometimes wonder if people think I laugh on the outside but am secretly crying on the inside. I’m not. I’m laughing right along side my sister, the mother of this unnamed child.