The doctors say she has temporary amnesia. She doesn’t remember anything, but it is only temporary. They keep using the word ‘temporary’ like it’s supposed to make things better. How long till she remembers, I ask them, my eyes locked on the machine marking squiggly lines on the monitor as she breathes. It could be within the week, or it could take up to a year, they say. “You shouldn’t worry though, it’s just temporary.”
I spend that first week talking. I tell her who she is. I tell her who I am. I tell her about her accident. When she asks, I tell her about us and how we met. I tell her about her favourite things. I tell her about our favourite things. When I catch her eye, between conversational gaps, she smiles back at me. When I share a joke, she laughs.
The week grows into three and she still doesn’t remember. We moved back home because the doctors say it’s better for her to be in an environment that is familiar. At first it is awkward, then it’s less so. We’ve even slipped into a routine –I leave early in the morning, kissing her forehead before heading out; she spends her day trying to remember and painting in her garage studio, trying to recognize herself in the art she creates; when I get home, we have a simple meal –sometimes I cook, sometimes she does; we talk about this and that and about nothing at all; and then we go to bed– separate beds because she doesn’t remember and that makes it weird. Sometimes we kiss. It’s always a soft, lingering kiss. Afterwards, alone, in our bedroom, I catch myself thinking, this is kind of perfect, maybe she doesn’t need to remember.