Weak Memory

She remembered it happening in the summer, outside by the garden. Though it very well may have happened in winter, out by the lake. Maybe she was remembering it happening in summer, outside the garden, because she had gone there to think about it happening and now associated it with summer outside the garden. When it happened wasn’t that important, though she was now positively convinced that it was definitively in fall, out in the maple grove with the colorful leaves carpeting the ground. She remembered the leaves on the ground because she hadn’t the courage to look up at him. No. That wasn’t right. She remembered staring at the ground and then seeing her neighbor’s dog. He moved away that summer, so, yes, and now she was sure, it happened in spring. In spring, out in the flowerbed, where she was tending to the roses. The roses only bloomed for three weeks in May so it was very important that she tend to them. So there she was, kneeling over her roses, her favorite white sundress getting a little dirty, when he appeared.

“Lorelei.”

She always loved the way he said her name. So gracefully, like a short dance. As though he was an elegant gentleman. As though he would never hurt her again.

She was unsure of what to answer, so she just said his name. “William.” The exchange already seemed formal.

“Do you plan to look at me?” He asked. If she hadn’t known better, she would have thought he was sad.

That was when she saw the neighbor’s dog. She couldn’t remember his name. The neighbor’s name, she remembered the dog’s. Jamieson. She always thought it was a wonderful name for a dog. She looked up at William.

“Hello. What do you want?”

“An apology.”

“What, from me?”

Lorelei knew as soon as she said that in her sarcastic tone that she shouldn’t have. His voice became steely.

“Now, starting that again? You never did have any manners.”

She knelt back down to the roses. He grabbed her arm, pulling her closer to him. She would not meet his gaze.

“Would you look at me, for god’s sakes?”

She looked. His eyes had the same manic expression that had always frightened her. They were such a beautiful green. She always preferred to think, when they were married, that the rage was poisoning him, that the emerald green of his eyes were the true version of him. That he was good and she could help him go back to the pure version of himself. The kind one that said her name so charmingly. But she knew that wasn’t him. She looked away. He released her arm. There were purple marks where he had gripped her.

“A strange way you have of apologizing.” He said. “Now, go ahead and say I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry.” She said cheerfully, smiling broadly. He stared at her for a moment and then turned away. For a moment she thought he was leaving. Then he slapped her. She fell next to the roses. He started walking away and she watched him from the ground, there next to her roses. He had hit her again in her peaceful place. And that time the manic rage filled her. She felt a change, something surging through her body, urging her to act. She grabbed her gardening shears and ran towards him. As he turned, she sunk them in his chest. He fell to the ground soundlessly. She knelt back down to then roses.

No, wait, that wasn’t right. It had definitely been summer. And the dog, Jamieson wasn’t there. Otherwise her neighbor would have heard. And she wasn’t tending to the roses. The rose patch was where she buried him. So when she tended to the roses in spring, this what she thought about. The mind’s associations are so curious. So it was in summer, outside the garden. She laughed a little bit. It was like a game of Clue. It was Lorelei, outside the garden, with the gardening shears. Except no one had figured it out. Often, she herself didn’t remember. She always did have such a weak memory. Poor thing.

Stephanie Evinshteyn
Age 14, Grade 9
Hunter College High School
Silver Key

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