Trying to trace her last thoughts, Martha found herself staring at the swirl in her cup of coffee.  It seems they were all slipping away these days—those precious memories in her mind.  Like seeds carried on the wind, her memories would scatter. 

blowing dandelion seeds 

What was it she was going to do today?  Oh yes, that’s right, she was going to run an errand. 

Where was she supposed to go again?  She stared a little longer, watching the swirls in her coffee made by her little stir. 

The Post Office? No.  That wasn’t it. 

The Grocery Store?  No, she was there yesterday. 

The Bank? Yes that was it, the bank.  But why? 

She really didn’t remember now.  What she did remember is that she was all alone and desperately trying to hang on to any thoughts and memories she knew she should have.   

She would call her son Davy, but he lived too far away.  She’d call Tommy, her youngest son, but he seemed to get so mad at her, like when she brought home that cat.  She didn’t want Tommy to be mad.  She didn’t need the stress.  She would call--

It didn’t matter, she couldn’t find her address book anyway.  And what good would it be?  Most of the people in it had moved or died. 

As she took a sip from her cup, she wished she could go back, return to a time when Joe was still alive and the kids still came around.  She would tell them how much they meant to her.  She didn’t do enough of that back then.  At least it didn’t seem so now. 

She’d call up her sister Orphie and make amends.  Or maybe she already did? She couldn’t remember now. She never did understand why they never got along. Too bad Orphie wasn’t around any more. Oh what she would give to go back and do it right.

And she take better care of Joe.   She’d make him quit those cigarettes.  If only she could have convinced him—he wouldn’t have died such a painful death. Her heart ached at the thought.

Most importantly, she would take lots of pictures and write things down.  She never thought she’d have these moments when her memories went missing—and how it only came back to her in bits and pieces.  She never thought she couldn’t recall the names of her kids and grandkids.  She never thought she’d forget where she was going to go that day.  It seemed now, when she pulled out a paper and a pen she could hardly remember what she needed to write down so she wouldn’t forget.

Finishing her coffee, the thought floated by, “The Bank,” and she latched onto that thought before she dared to forget again.   She stood up slowly, letting her hips, knees, and legs adjust, and then she grabbed her walker.  She went into her living room and grabbed her purse and her keys and headed for the door.

“Where you going Mom?” came the familiar voice.

“I have to go to the bank and run an errand.” she hollered back without turning around, heading out the door before she forgot.  “I’ll see you in a bit.”

“Whoa, wait a second!”  Her voice was really familiar, but she couldn’t quite connect to it.

“No. No!  I have to hurry!” she was out the door and on her way to the driveway.

She looked around.  Where was her car? 

It didn’t matter because the thought she clung to so desperately was gone.

“Mom, come on back inside.” pled the voice. “You can’t go without your shoes.”

She turned and looked.  Staring back at her was a woman that was a spitting image of herself 35 years ago.  Who was this woman? 

“Orphie?” she asked puzzled. 

“No Mom, it’s Gina.” she replied, directing her back inside.

“Gina?” she asked in a puzzled haze.

“Yes, Gina.  You remember, Davy, Tommy, and Gina?”

She faked a smile, “Yes dear, how could I forget?” she paused for a moment, “Where’s my car?”

‘You don’t have a car anymore mom, you stopped driving 8 years ago.”

Now she was more confused than ever.  How would she run her errand…to the----

“I couldn’t have. I need to run an errand.” she insisted.

“Which errand is that?” the girl pressed on.

“I don’t know…I just know I had to go run an errand today.”

“Mom come sit down and let’s have some coffee.  Does that sound like a good idea?”

Martha nodded.  Coffee always sounded like a good idea.

The girl brought her over some coffee and she took her stir—swirling it around.

“How’s your coffee, Mom?” her voice was gentle.

All at once it came to her as she uttered it aloud. “Gina Marie Koslowski”

“You remembered!” Her face had beamed.

“Oh how could I forget?” Martha was on the verge of tears.  “This damn memory of mine. I just can’t find …” frustration over took her and she was getting angry. “Find what I want to remember.  Like the puzzle pieces aren’t there.”

“It’s okay Mom—it is called Alzheimer's.  I don’t want you to worry though, someone is always here to look out for you.  You are never alone.”

She looked at her confused again. “Why are you here?”

“I live here,” she chuckled.  “Besides, someone has to look after you when you go to the bank without your shoes.” she said reassuring.

She found that last part funny, who goes to the bank without their shoes she thought.  Then she looked down.  Trying to put the pieces together wasn’t easy. She insisted one last time, “I have to go run an errand.”

“You don’t have a car.” Her daughter reminded. “You stopped driving 8 years ago.”

She stirred her coffee some more. Eight years ago was a long time not to remember she stopped driving.  What did she remember?  Oh yes, there was one thing she remembered, “Joe died.  He died 12 years ago.”  She was confident she got this right.

She could see the girls face—somber with a tinge of sadness. “Daddy died about 16 years ago Mom,” she said softly.

16 years?  How could it have been that long ago.  She only remembered it being 12 years ago.  She slowly brought the cup to her lips.  She took in a sip.  She could never forget the taste of a good cup of coffee.

“I think I better go lie down.” Martha said.

“Okay, come on Mom, let’s take you to your room.”

Martha followed the girl on an unfamiliar path, to an  unfamiliar bed.  She didn’t remember any of it.  She laid down and her daughter covered her with a blanket.  “Get some rest Mom, I’ll be here when you wake.”

She didn’t want to wake.

She closed her eyes and she thought of her sister, Orphie.  She thought of her three children, Davy, Tommy, and Gina.  She dreamt of her Joe.  A few more pieces of the puzzle began to scatter once again, although she tried to hang on to what she could.  If only she could turn back the clock, and remember all she used to know.

**This was written for BFF 241 Turn Back the Clock.  This is a work of Fiction.**

turn back the clock