Saturday, March 11, 2017

The Dark Man

I remember how my mother, after she got Alzheimer's, used to write her name over and over. Vernabel. Vernabel Boughton. Verne Boughton. She had a notebook in the drawer of her bedside table, and she had filled pages in that notebook with her name. That was at the beginning, before she forgot altogether how to write. She must have felt herself slipping away, must have thought that practice, that documentation might solidify her existence. Later on, when she could still speak, she changed my name to Preston, who was her brother. I became, in her mind, either Preston, or just some guy who worked in the house, like a medical assistant. She had no idea who Richard was. And ultimately, I gave up trying to explain it to her. Later on, she would talk about a man behind the curtain, just at the other side of the bedroom. He was tall and dark and she was afraid of him. Come to think of it, so was I.

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