Partition: Chapter Three

Breakfast+brings+a+new+challenge.
Breakfast brings a new challenge.

Breakfast brings a new challenge.

Breakfast brings a new challenge.

Kyle Cunningham, Staff Writer

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I sat at the kitchen table while Elise made breakfast. I was still coping with the unbearable pain behind my ear, hours after I had woken up to it, and I was beginning to worry. However, a more pressing matter was at hand—Elise was not convinced. “What do you mean you don’t remember anything, Jan? I’m not some idiot. I’m not gonna fall for another one of your stupid practical jokes,” said Elise, cracking an egg rather violently as she finished. How does one respond to this line of reasoning? Sure, the first instinct is to do what I had done and simply insist that the amnesia is real, yet this response is terribly weak; simply disagreeing gets one nowhere. People operate off marginal analysis and actions can always be traced to a simple difference between benefit and cost. Outlooks and opinions are completely arbitrary, dependent only upon their outcomes. In my search for a tool to employ that would convince Elise my memory was in fact gone, I discovered this. God, it sped things up. “Elise, think about it. At this point, the joke would have to be over. It wouldn’t even be funny either. It would be such a poor joke,” I reasoned with her. “What could I possibly get for pretending, for three hours, that I have forgotten everything and anything there is to know about myself. And you, for that matter. All I want is to live my life, but I don’t know what that is. If you would just listen to me and stop acting like I’m about to burst out laughing at this whole situation, maybe we could figure out what was wrong.” Elise fidgeted around as she gathered utensils. She clearly wanted to find a reason to continue. She seemed not to want to give in. But she did.

“Alright Jan,” she started, “I believe you. And if you start laughing, you sleep on the couch for a week; I mean that.” She then brought over the breakfast and the two of us ate. She was an excellent cook; the eggs were scrambled just, how I presume, I must have liked them, and she also had buttered toast, golden brown and crisp. As we ate, I may have stared at her. Not in a creepy way, more adoring. I was amazed that she had come to believe my story so quickly; sure, I offered her the logic, but the whole thing was a bit ridiculous. It was almost as if she needed to believe me, and I loved that. I felt like she needed me. As I gazed at her, mind you she was chewing somewhat ferociously at her toast, I thought again of the sight of her. What a joy to gaze at! I was the most fortunate guy alive in that moment, and I didn’t even know who I was, bar my name and a few minute facts.  It was the meal, the comfort, the security and her love, her gumption, her elegance. I was on top of the world.

It was washing the dishes that washed away the euphoria of breakfast. As I scrubbed, Elise asked, “So, Jan. How exactly do you plan on regaining your memory? I mean, I guess it isn’t essential, but wouldn’t it be nice to remember something like your wedding day?” Wow. The comment pierced my glee. “Uh. I mean, yeah, I’d like to remember things. Especially the wedding,” I added, mostly because she guilted me, “but how I’ll do it I’m not quite sure. I haven’t lost my memory like this before. And if I have, I don’t remember it, so it doesn’t help me all that much now.” She had a point, though. How could I function without knowing anything about my life; how could I work or talk to our friends? I’d have to be coached by Elise before every party we attend, and that was a burden I didn’t want to place on her. “What if we go to the hospital? I’m sure whatever is wrong they can handle. Or is there an issue with insurance?” I said, realizing that hospitals were, for some reason, still not free. “Yeah. Insurance. Can’t do the hospital,” Elise abruptly and coldly stated. It was uncomfortable and odd, completely out of character. “Oh… kay,” I began after a pause that was just long enough to be awkward, “well, I really don’t have much else. Maybe hit my head? Like really hard?” Elise just shook her head, and I put mine back down into the sink.

“Jan, we have to figure something out. Think harder; you’re good at this kind of thing,” Elise said with a very aggravated tone. I responded hastily, “I don’t know, Elise. I can’t even tell you how old I am, how can you expect me to hatch a plan to get my memory back?” She pressed the topic, “It’s your problem; you are the only one who can figure it out!” I was pretty tired of it at that point and I desperately missed the bliss from breakfast. I decided to give up. Sometimes giving up is not only the best choice, it is the only choice. “Elise, I am done,” I said, putting her plate on the dish rack to dry. “I have had enough of the arguing, the fighting, and all of this. I’m just going to go lay down, close my eyes for a bit,” I resolved. “Maybe I can sleep this off, you never know,” I added hopefully. “Alright, honey,” Elise chirped sweetly. It was far from alright.

“Just do me a favor, Jan. Point to the bedroom for me; I forgot where it is,” Elise mocked sarcastically. I couldn’t, obviously. I felt inept. The room where I spend roughly a third of my time was a complete mystery. Where it was, what it looked like; everything was unknown. Elise introduced her cruel game resolutely, “Here’s what we’ll do. If you can point, just point, to the bedroom door, I’ll let you drop the subject and go nap. If you can’t, we are gonna figure this thing out.” I looked around. SO many doors. I imagined where I would like to sleep, but I couldn’t remember a single night. Dead end. I tried to imagine where a room would theoretically be place, if I were to have built the house, but I have no sense of design. Dead end. “Alright, Elise,” I conceded. “You win. I don’t know where the bedroom is,” I said, and sat, dejected, at the kitchen table. She glided sweetly to the chair next to me and comfortingly said, “It’s okay. We need to help you, though, and giving up this early is not going to happen. We need to be stronger than that. Not just you, both of us. We are in this together.” I again felt my soul thaw as Elise’s sweeping chocolate hair was ignited by the mid-morning sun. She cared for me. I smiled and asked, “So, what are we gonna do?” She smirked. She seemed to have hatched a plan already. As she began waxing on about how I was to recapture my cache of life events and ideas, I glazed over with delight and security in her. In Elise. I was in love.

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