Well, we had the monthly meeting of the “CORNWALL & REGIONAL WRITERS SOCIETY” last night. I guess Jamie forgot to mention it on the CFN website but that didn’t matter. It happened anyway.
Linda Kuno was the chair this month and she set the monthly assignment. All we had to do was write 750 words about a picture of a blocked up door with a chain link fence around it. After we all read out entries we took a vote on which one we thought was the best of the bunch. I kind of promised that I would publish the story under the art court banner on the Cornwall Free News website. I haven’t been able to talk to Jamie yet to see if I can fulfill my promise.
Overall Stanley Brown’s entry was selected as the best (I think he bribed the judges) and his story will be posted under the CFN’s CORNWALL & REGIONAL WRITERS SOCIETY banner (depending on Jamie’s approval). Now, my entry may have been just a little bit to sophisticated for those at the meeting last night so I am going to post it here. I’ll let you judge.
The Door To My Mind
A bricked up door, that’s what I see when I close my eyes at night. Sometimes I also see a fence with barbwire around the door. The doctors tell me it is a defense mechanism to stop me from remembering something or someone that is too horrible for my mind to handle. Hysterical amnesia is the term they use. It happened one morning in October 2008. It was the 15th of October, a Wednesday. I woke up in a bed I wasn’t familiar with, in a room I didn’t recognize. When I looked in a mirror I didn’t recognized the face that stared back at me. I was in a house that I was unfamiliar with, in a neighborhood that I didn’t know in a community or city that I couldn’t remember the name of. It was all gone, my memories.
My wife thought it was one of my practical jokes and she got mad at me after a couple of hours of me asking what her name was and where we were. That day we went to the emergency room at the closest hospital and eventually, after a quick medical examination, I saw a psychologist. She diagnosed my condition and referred my to a specialist in Ottawa who has been trying to find the reason for my memory loss ever since.
Today I’m about to undergo yet another hypnotherapy session but this time with an aid that will help me to relax. Its taken a couple of months for my doctor to access the material necessary and even longer to get approval from her peer group, the Psychiatric Association of Ontario. So, here I sit in my doctor’s lounge with a bong full of marijuana just smoking my damaged brain out. I’m just developing a craving for chicken wings and beer and the lovely Dr. Lovelace enters and sits beside me on the leather couch. She has faded blue jeans on with a beaded blue jean vest over a tie-dyed t-shirt. I think to myself this must be a lame attempt at some déjà vu experience to help me remember the 70’s. But I don’t care. I just hope she has a snack hidden somewhere in her vest.
Dr. Lovelace, I think of her as Linda but her first name is really Brianna, starts to speak in a low rhythmic tone. I’m too buzzed to focus on the actual words but the rhythm, tone and pitch fascinates me. Aha, I think, that’s why I don’t remember any of Led Zeppelins’ lyrics. It’s the beat man. Linda sees me smiling and speaks a little bit more forcefully. I hear her words.
“I want you to go back to that morning that you woke up. What do you remember about that Wednesday morning on October 15th two years ago?”
“Do you have any cookies doc?” I say.
“I’ll get you some cookies later.” She says, “Right now I want you to think back to your earliest memories of that morning.”
“Well, I just remember waking up from a dream and thinking about health care.” I said.
“What do you suppose would make you dream about that issue?” She asked.
“I looked up the newspaper from that day and I suppose it was a topic discussed during the election.”
“Ah, that’s right,” She replied. “There was a federal election the day before. Do you remember if you were you involved in politics?”
“No, I don’t think so. I do think that I voted though.” I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable. I shifted to find a more comfortable spot, trying to get that good buzz back. Dr. Lovely pushed the bong towards me indicating to take another hit.
After I exhaled, Linda said, “I want you to think about the election. What do you remember about voting?”
“No,” I said, “I don’t want to remember that.”
“Relax, nothing is going to hurt you here. After we finished talking we’ll open a bag of Oreos but first I want you to think about the election and voting. You remember voting don’t you?”
“Yes…no…I don’t want to remember.”
“It’s OK,” she says. “It’s in the past and it can’t hurt you now. Tell me about election night.”
I look around in panic. Suddenly I know what I did. I don’t want to say it out loud but I won’t get a cookie if I keep it in. It all comes back to me now, my childhood, my friends, my wife, all of my experiences and ultimately, my shame.
“I voted Conservative!” I cry, “God help me, I voted Conservative.”