Mon | May 29, 2017

Erased

Published:Sunday | July 19, 2015 | 7:00 AMKaren Heslop

She's such a pretty girl. I hope my Jennifer grows up to be as nice as her. She's kind, too. She spends so much time brushing my hair just the way I like it. I can't remember if I had told her or not. There are a lot of things I can't remember these days. They tell me I had an accident and I suffered some damage. I really don't remember how much, though. The wonderful nurse finishes my hair.

"Thank you, dear."

She nods and gives me a small smile. For the first time I see a little sadness in her eyes. I saw sadness in the eyes of others today, too. There might be a lot of sadness around here, or maybe it's just me. I watch her leave and then turn my head back to my window.

The day looks lovely. If only I could go out with the others, but my legs don't work so well anymore. I can't remember why.

Jennifer Talbot collects her belongings from the head nurse and prepares to leave. After all these years, they have all given up on there being any improvements. The accident robbed her mother of all capabilities of maintaining significant memories. For years, they tried different systems suggested by too many doctors to count. Nothing worked. Things never improved. Still, Jennifer hoped for a sign. Anything.

The defining moment came when her mother had a panic attack after seeing herself in the mirror for what might as well have been the first time. Jennifer had only wanted to show her how beautiful her hair looked after being brushed just the way she liked it. Her mother saw something else entirely. In Marie's mind, she was still 35 years old. Mother to a precocious 10-year-old. Her face told a different story. There were now 15 years worth of lines. The hair was now more grey than black. Her reaction had been unforeseen and not something any of them wanted to see again. While her mother slept off the sedative, Jennifer had helped the nurses clean up the broken glass and the decision was made. No more mirrors. No more drug trials. No more therapy. No more

pictures on the walls trying to remind her who she was or even where she was. Her mother seemed happier that way. But Jennifer still hoped that one day, maybe things would be different. Maybe.

She turned at the gate and looked at her mother's window. She raised her hand in a slight wave. She received a blank stare in return. She sighs. Clearly, today is not that day.