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Summer Night, 1913, by Albert Bloch
It was there, just beyond reach. If only he could recall . . . Perhaps if he sat quietly for a while as the woman had suggested it might come back to him but that was something he couldn’t do. He paced. He looked about him. There were others in the house but he didn’t know them though some looked familiar. Why was he here? It wasn’t his home. He wanted to go home. Someone could take him - he had money. Then he could live on his own again. He didn’t like it here. He didn’t like the people. They stared at him and made him angry. He couldn’t understand what they were saying and they wouldn’t go away. He threw a cup at the woman nearest him. What was in the cup?
At meal-times he sat among strangers and ate food he hadn’t ordered though the woman told him he had. She had lied to him. Afterwards he paced again. Where were his parents? His sister had come to visit. She was older than him – fifty-six. He asked her about his parents. She told him they were dead. Why hadn’t anyone told him? He told her his things had been stolen. She found them in a drawer and showed them to him but they weren’t his. She was lying. Everyone was lying. No-one understood, no-one believed him. The fog in his head grew thicker and the words wouldn’t come.
His sister went to talk to the woman. He listened. The woman said, ‘Your father’s not too bad today, a little aggressive, but manageable.’
What did she mean? Her words were a blur. She was lying again.
‘He was trying to tell me about his boyhood home but he couldn’t remember the name. He got very agitated – his vocabulary is so limited now but he’s in remarkably good health for a man of his age. Ninety-eight next week, isn’t he?’
The man wrung his hands. He hated it here. He would escape and go home to . . . the name was there, just beyond reach.
His sister came back. What was she called?
‘Goodbye, Dad. See you in a few days.’