Thursday, 15 March 2012

Five Minutes a Day: Five (Amnesia)

I am walking.

Two legs. Two feet. One in front of the other. Left, right, left, right. I am wearing trainers. Was I exercising? I don’t feel tired. I’m wearing a suit. Why am I wearing trainers and a suit? They’re new. Suspiciously white, like the teeth of an American. Why am I wearing new trainers?

A man is walking on the other side of the road. He holds a phone to his ear. “I just wish he hadn’t got tickets for this Thursday” he says, staring glumly at his shoes. A homeless man stares glumly at the man, wishing he could have his shoes.

The suit might offer some clues. I reach inside the pockets. A wallet! If I find a wallet, that’ll probably have my name in it. My fingers probe the lining. It’s soft and smooth. It’s a nice suit. I must be doing well for myself.

Across the street, the man takes out his phone again. He holds it at a distance, reluctantly, as if it were a sour bottle of milk which he has just discovered in the furthest reaches of the fridge. He pauses, then dials a number. “Yes”, he says “I’ve spoken to him.” He pauses. “No, I understand that. But what do you expect me to say?”

I continue to explore my pockets. Nothing. It seems strange. I mean, I must have kept something on my person. Unless I did keep things, and they were taken. If someone found me on the ground, they might have taken a wallet. But I must have been carrying something else. A stick of gum. A paperclip. A bus ticket. People don’t just walk around in empty suits, wearing pristine trainers, do they?

The man listens. He winces. The phone is held a few inches from his ear, as if he wants to get as far away from the other end without actually being unable to hear. “No,” he says “I don’t think-.” Pause. He makes an apologetic noise. His arm drops to his side. He pockets the phone.

Perhaps if I could see my face? There’s a car parked on the other side of the street. I’ll cross over and look at my reflection in the tinted windows.

The man gets out a set of keys. It must be his car.

I speed up my walk. Left, right, left, right. I don’t know why, but it seems important to me that I make it to the car.

The man looks right at me. It’s not a normal glance. Is that recognition?
I slow down. Maybe this isn’t such a good idea. What if he’s the man who took my wallet?

The man starts walking towards me.

I stand still.

“I haven’t seen you” he says “for quite some time.”

His tone is measured. Considered. It sounds quite stilted, like he’s afraid he’s going to make a mistake in front of me. What should I say?

The man is looking right at me. I’m expected to say something.

Should I admit that I don’t remember anything beyond the last five minutes? He doesn’t sound hostile, but that way he looked at me. It wasn’t with enthusiasm.

“Still not one for small talk, I see”. He says, saving me from the silence.

I shuffle my feet. He notices the trainers.

“Strange choice of footwear” he remarks.

I nod.

“So, do you want a lift?”

Where would I go?

“I’m alright, thanks.”

He drives away.

I have two legs. Two feet. One in front of the other.
I am walking.

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