Jeffrey sipped from his tea, put the cup back down and stared in front of him. He had the feeling something had slipped his mind. What could it have been?
Wait a second, he thought. Hadn’t he prepared something for occasions like these? An idea suddenly occurred to him. His pockets! What if he searched his pockets? He started with his trousers, then his shirt and finally his coat. Of course, there it was. A note, with some handwriting scribbled on it. It had to be something important, otherwise he wouldn’t have written it down.
Now where were his glasses? He failed to remember where he had put them. He searched his pockets again, but to no avail. The drawers of his desk perhaps? The kitchen table?
It took him a while to locate his glasses (he had left them in the bathroom), and when he was back in his chair again he wondered why he had brought them. He wasn’t reading his newspaper, was he? So why would he need his glasses? He put them away, reached for his tea and then saw the note next to his cup.
Could that be it? He got out his glasses again, put them on and read the note.
It was his own handwriting. BE AWARE THAT YOUR MEMORY IS NOT WHAT IT USED TO BE, the text said. MAKE NOTES OF IMPORTANT THINGS, AND REMEMBER WHERE YOU PUT THEM. THIS WILL HELP YOU ORGANISE YOUR DAYS. ALWAYS TAKE YOUR PEN AND YOUR NOTEPAD. THEY WILL BE MOST USEFUL NOW THAT YOU’RE ALONE. DON’T LET YOUR FAILING MEMORY GET YOU DOWN.
He nodded understandingly and put the note back in his pocket. It was true that he was suffering memory problems, and now that he was alone after poor Margaret’s passing away, he had better organise his days as best he could. He should try to cope with his failing memory, not succumb to it. Making this note had been an excellent idea.
Now who had suggested that idea again? He thought for a few moments, then finished his tea and leaned back in his chair.
Life wasn’t so bad, even if he felt terribly lonely without his wife. They had been married for… how many years? He frowned as he tried to remember when she had passed away. It wasn’t all that long ago, was it? He still saw her face before his mind’s eye, but couldn’t recall her name right now. He shook his head. How could he possibly have forgotten his late wife’s name? Obviously his memory was failing him.
Wait a second, he thought. Hadn’t he found a way to deal with that problem? An idea suddenly occurred to him. His pockets! What if he searched his pockets? He searched them and came up with a pen and a notepad. Now what purpose might these serve? He wasn’t used to writing notes, was he? Anyway, who would he write notes to?
He put the pen and the notepad next to his cup, and tried to concentrate on the problem that bothered him. Now, what was that problem again? I fail to remember, he thought. I suppose my memory isn’t what it used to be. Well, he concluded resignedly, there’s not much I can do about that, can I…
Frank Roger was born in 1957 in Ghent, Belgium. His first story appeared in 1975. Since then his stories appear in an increasing number of languages in all sorts of magazines, anthologies and other venues, and since 2000, story collections are published, also in various languages. Apart from fiction, he also produces collages and graphic work in a surrealist and satirical tradition. By now he has more than 600 short story publications (including a few short novels) to his credit in 26 languages. Critics describe his work as a blend of genres and styles: fantasy, satire, surrealism, science fiction and black humour.