And I think because of this, I am uncertain the problems with Dad's memory really began.
A couple of Friday afternoons ago, Kyrce and I wandered Uptown to Hudson Coffee Traders with Dad to meet an old friend of ours we hadn't seen in a year. No one was around to keep an eye on Dad so I decided to bring him with me. I thought he might enjoy tagging along and getting out of the house for a bit.
Dad was truly in rare form on this afternoon. I don't think any of us could get a sentence out without Dad interrupting. When I asked him to please not interrupt, he insisted that if he didn't interrupt, we'd never let him get a sentence in! Disgusted with us trying to quiet him, he decided he'd 'take a walk'.
The back walls of Hudson Coffee Traders is lined with full length mirrors which round the room. The room itself is round once you enter the sitting area in the back. It's a bit disconcerting at first when you enter the back because it takes a moment for one's brain to decide if the room is another room, or if it's a reflection.
There were a few other people in the back of the cafe, including an artist hanging up her paintings above the mirrored part of the wall. Bob was wandering around a bit, heading towards the front of the store at first but then turning back towards the mirror.
I hung my head down, as I noticed a couple of others in the cafe looking at him inquisitively. I hoped Dad would not run into the mirror.
He did not. He stopped in front of the mirror and looked at himself.
"Hey, nice hat you got there, guy! Yeah! It says 'Guinness'.,, Hey, that's just like mine!...yeah, I'm with those ladies over there...yeah, that's good...well. Well, I better get back over there now."
Dad turned around slowly and wandered back over to the table. I honestly wasn't sure if he was pulling my leg or if he really thought his reflection was some other man with the same Guinness hat.
He sat down at the table across from me and leaned in as if to share a secret.
"There was a really strange man over there talking to me!" he said to us.
That's just the way Dad is, and was. Cover any confusion up with a joke.
Inevitably, I wander around the house, searching for something. I'm scratching my head every day for the same things - the kids' shoes; my ATM card; the hair brush (of which I keep 3, since I constantly misplace them). This shouldn't scare me. But it does.
When did it all begin?
* * *
"Am I still here?" Dad asks.
"I think so. Am I still here?" I ask him in return.
"Well, if you're still here, I must still be here. Don't leave me alone here, OK?"