Blackouts

Good morning, friends! Today’s post is going to include a work of fiction pulled word-for-word from my idea journal. As I’ve previously explained, sometimes the things in my journal are more like notes. This one is a first chapter that never went anywhere. According to google’s version history, this one was typed up in 2015. Haven’t used it since. Still, who knows, maybe it’ll become something someday. (Side note: don’t steal this, it’s my original work and stealing would make you a jerk. Thank you.)

coffee shop
Picture by pixabay

Tara’s blue eyes flash with impending tears before her blonde head flops resignedly onto her crossed arms, “Where do normal people meet people?” she whines.  I look over the head of my best friend, taking in our setting. We are seated at a quiet little table outside of what appears to be a coffee shop. There are a few people scattered around us, but they are engrossed in newspapers or e-readers.  Basically, not a single person is paying attention to the scene Tara is making.

Seems normal, yes?  No. See, I can’t remember a single thing about how I got into this situation.  To me, it’s as abrupt as it must have been for you to see it on page one. I don’t know any more background than you about how I ended up here.  I have these…episodes. They are basically black-out periods. I don’t really know how long they are, I just wake up and I’m in a new place. The way my friends, Tara included, tell the stories I appear perfectly normal during these little incidents.  I talk to them, participate, I’ve even had a rather wild weekend with a boyfriend once during one. The problem is, unless they tell me what I did during them I have no idea.

“Tara, honey,” I begin, “what are we talking about?”  I reach out and touch her shoulder, gently. She pops her head full of honey-colored curls off the table and locks her blue eyes onto my face.  I can see her searching my own boring, brown eyes for a clue. She’s wondering if I’m lying. She’s wondering if I’m okay.

“Oh, Elizabeth are you serious?” she wails as I nod.  “I just don’t have the energy to tell this story again.  He’s not worth a second telling.” She sits a little straighter, shakes her little shoulders, and smiles at me.  “Forget it, I’m over it. What is the last thing you remember?” Just like that, my best friend in the world is in full support mode.  She is rather used to this, having known me since high school. For the past ten years she’s been by my side, filling in my dark periods for me as best as she can.  

I give her a half-smile. “I remember waking up to my alarm clock this morning.”  My specialist tells me it’s important to say details out loud, that I never know which detail will spark a small memory.  Now, in my experience this has never worked. But I always try. “I hit snooze twice so I got out of bed around 8:18. I showered for about ten minutes, brushed my teeth while thinking about the meeting we have today, put my blue bathrobe on.”  I stop. That’s it, that’s what I remember. I search my brain, what else did I do? I look down, I’m wearing a purple button-up shirt and jeans. Clearly I got dressed. Who gets dressed without remembering? Damn it. I’m even wearing tied white tennis shoes.  I tied my shoes. “Then, I guess we’re here.” I shrug, indicating to Tara that’s the best I can do. Suddenly, I feel on the verge of tears myself.

“Do you remember me picking you up?”  She knows the answer, so I don’t bother to say no. “We took the longer drive to work because I wanted to see Ricardo.  He was with another girl.” Now I understand the tears, Ricardo was the newest fling in Tara’s long stretch of flings. “You ordered me a vanilla latte and I wasted it throwing it in Ricardo’s lap.  I cried about the coffee, not Ricardo. Then you brought me here and ordered me another.” She holds up the paper cup with a triumphant smile. “It really was brilliant.”

“Sounds like it.” I smile back at her, she’s doing her best.  I can’t picture the tramp Ricardo was with. I can’t tell you what coffee shop we tried first.  I can’t tell you anything about this morning. In fact, I don’t even know what time it is or how long ago this all happened.  Welcome to my life.

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