It was another week before Charlie was ready to leave the hospital, Leigh and Beau much to Mary Winters discontent all picked up Charlie together of course Beau and Leigh had to wait outside but luckily the sun had decided to grace them with its presence and so she managed to look half descent when Charlie and his mother walked through the large plate glass sliding doors,
“Hi” she said smiling pulling Beau close stopping her from jumping up though it was only her way of greeting him, of greeting anyone.
“Hi” he mimicked pulling her in for an unexpected hug, “Hi Beau” he added kneeling down and stroking Beau, pulling her in for a hug too, she licked at his face,
“Beau!” Leigh scolded
“It’s fine” Charlie confirmed and smiled once again, the same infective smile he always held.
“Charlie honey why don’t you sit up front with me” Mary said as they reached the car. She had blanketed the back seat to protect the expensive upholstery from Beaus feet and hairs,
“No its fine I want to sit in back with B” Charlie said pulling open the door, “come on Beau” he said, Leigh passed him the lead and opened the passenger door she climbed into the hot car which had filled with the sweet sickly scent of the air freshener attached to the dash board. They rode in silence all the way to Charlie’s apartment, which luckily wasn’t along drive away and once they were inside the dram that unfolded soon wiped the dyer awkward silence from their minds.
Leigh’s things were being delivered later that day along with Beaus belongings to allow Charlie to settled back in before being overwhelmed with moving Leigh in, as they rode up in the life to his fourth floor apartment he stood close to her knowing how much she hated elevators, this made Leigh smile and it made her feel secure in the moving metal box. When they reach the fourth floor and were finally in the warm apartment everything erupted,
“Things aren’t right” Charlie said walking into the apartment and looking around,
“Sweetheart everything is fine, you probably just forgot because of the accident” his mother cooed
“No I remember my apartment and things have moved, been moved by you, is this what you do? Interfere with things, move things around when people haven’t asked you to!” he turned, anger furrowing his brow and yelled the words at her,
“Charlie please I was just...” she began clearly flustered
“No!, get out, I didn’t ask you to come here and change my things around this is my home, one of the things that I do remember and you come in and change it!” His anger had grown and Leigh felt as though she should step in, she moved to him placing her hand on his shoulder,
“Charlie” she said simply and he fell quiet
“I think it is best I leave” Mary Winters, Leigh smiled and walked her to the door,
“I’m sure he just needs to settle in” Leigh reasoned
“Hmm, thank you Leigh” Mary winters said as she closed the door behind herself. For the next hour or so they replaced the things that Mary Winters had moved and made space for both Leigh and Beaus things something that Charlie seemed quite happy to do. Though once they had done this things fell quiet and Leigh wasn’t sure what it was she should do; she had spent time thinking about what might be good for bringing Charlie’s forgotten memories to the surface if they had in face simply sunk down beneath his mind and not disintegrated in the accident entirely. She had considered his facebook and the photographs that might hold memories of friends, birthdays, night outs but then she reconsidered, Leigh did not want to over load Charlie’s mind with images of things he couldn’t remember she knew that this would only make him retreat even more. In the end she decided that the best thing to do was nothing,
“Do you want to go out?” she asked Charlie who was half laid on the sofa with Beau
“Not so much” he replied
“Want to see what on the TV?” she tried again
“Sure” he said with a sweet smile, he lifted the remote from the coffee table and pushed in the red button, the TV flickered to life, apparently how to use the TV was something that had not fled from his mind when the cars had collided, along with his address, his birthday, his middle name and of course Leigh and Beau. They settled for a channel that showed old games shows all day and with-in a few minutes both Leigh and Charlie were shouting out answers, to anyone on the outside looking in it would seem as though they had lived together for years.
After a few hours the sun was high in the sky and was flooding the room with bright white light and heat, Leigh pulled the curtains to block out the intruding light however this only lead to the room heating up which lead to them feeling lethargic and eventually falling asleep. Leigh dreamt of very little other than snow as though her mind was transmitting what her body wanted to feel in the heat of the room and these dreams did not last long for she was woken by the sound of rolling thunder in the form of Charlie who was suffering from a nightmare. Beau had been woken too; she was now sat at Charlie’s feet with a look of worry and concern in her almond eyes. Leigh took a moment to wake fully and then she grasped his hand and shook his arm gradually building in force until he jolted awake, a look of relief on his face. Beau jumped up instantly to comfort him,
“You okay?” Leigh asked, he took a moment to consider his answer and then he offered only a nod in reply. For the remainder of the day they continued to watch whatever they could find on the TV from old black and white movies to day time chat shows; soon the time had flow by and out beyond the thick curtains the sun had begun it descent down behind the horizon casting the land in a bloody red hew. Leigh check her watch, realising that Beau would be hungry and then realising that she too was hungry,
“You hungry Charlie?” she asked him as she sat up on the sofa motivating herself to move, he looked over at her, absently stroking Beaus ears
“I could eat” he said
“Alright what do you fancy because you don’t have anything in other than dog food, so we’ll order” she replied, he fell silent and she knew why,
“I don’t know” he said,
“Alright well I’ll sort Beau out and see if I can find some menus” Leigh said, she did not want to make a big deal out of it, drawing attention to what he couldn’t remember didn’t seem like it would be helpful. She stood and moved to the kitchen pouring a half tin of dog meat mixed with cat meat into Beaus dish and then Leigh began to look for menus, this task did not take her long. She would often order in and knew that usually there was only two places to find take out menu’s, either in one of the kitchen draws or in a draw of the table holding the phone however Charlie’s phone sat atop a bookshelf and there were no take out menus stored on it amongst the books and so she figured they must be in one of the draws and there were only three draws in the kitchen, one held cutlery, the other towels, cloths and bin bags and in the third she found the take out menus amongst pens and note books.
“Okay do you want, Chinese, Italian, Indian or good ol’ British?” she said as she returned with a handful of menus, she passed them to him and watched as he read and re-read each one and then he closed his eyes, he was trying to remember,
“How about we order a few dishes off of each and then we can try them all” Leigh offered,
“Okay” he said with a smile “what about the leftover food?” he asked as though he had never before eaten cold pizza,
“We save it and we eat it tomorrow” she said “what shall we try, 2 dishes from each, any two” she said happy to let him choose, though he insisted she chose one from each and he chose one from each.
They ate until they could not eat any more and it had been a very amusing meal time, watching each other eat a little from each dish, laughing at the faces pulled over dishes that were not what they had been expecting and each trying to win the last spoonful of the dishes they did like, things that weren’t eaten that were liked were stored to be divvied out for breakfast the next morning and once again they all settled down. This time they chose to watch a film from Charlie’s vast collection, one he chose out at random,
“I think I love this film” he said suddenly when after they had watched near half the movie, a grin had spread across his face,
“What makes you think that?” she asked
“I just get this feeling of excitement even though things feel very familiar with it, it’s almost like deja vu” he said still grinning,
“That’s good” Leigh smiled “we’ll start off small and work our way up” she added now too grinning like a crazy fool. That night they slept mostly on the sofa having once again drifted off to sleep, around 3:30 Leigh was woken, not by Charlie’s nightmares for he seemed to be sleeping soundly but by beau who was nosing at her arm, she wanted the bathroom. Leigh snuck out quietly, the night was warm and quiet and so she stood for a while watching Beau sniffing at patches of grass and odd fallen leaves, she felt over whelmed by the ‘job’ she had been given though she couldn’t imagine what he was feeling.
As time passed between them many insignificant things resurfaced though not one significant memory was regained; the things he had spent half his life loving, the friends and his family, those memories were still all AWOL. Leigh was lost for ideas, Charlie and herself were getting along well, he loved Beau, Leigh knew this for sure, almost if not as much as she did and they had also started to venture out more often to the cinema or bowling or for food; Leigh had managed to get him to participate in normal activities once again. However in spite of all of the good progress Charlie was still suffering from sporadic mind splitting headaches and he refused to go and talk to a therapist and then one very bad decision led to Charlie becoming with drawn again. His mother had come up with the idea that a dinner party with his friends would be a good thing though she had not mentioned this to either Leigh or Charlie. She had invited them around under the premise of a family dinner; Charlie had refused to go if Beau was not invited and so she had gone along to much to his mothers’ dismay. However when they had walked into the dining room the cliché long mahogany table, with its two twin silver candle sticks that had been set up for ten and around it sat ten of Charlie’s friends, friends he could no longer remember. They laughed and smiled and greeted him with awkward hugs that Charlie didn’t want though accepted out of politeness and then they went back to discussing things that Charlie didn’t remember and that Leigh had never known.
“You’ll have to introduce yourselves” his mother announced with a smile as she backed out of the room, Leigh looked over at Charlie, already she could see the panic starting to fill his eyes.
“We can go” she offered with a whisper
“No” he shook his head in response and began to walk toward the table, he turned “maybe give it an hour” he added with a slight uneasy smile. They sat down with Beau underneath the table at their feet, they listened to the list of names as they were given one after the other as though in some form of attendance.
The night began okay, Beau had eventually curled up next to the fire and Leigh had managed to make awkward conversation with people she had never met and would likely never choose to meet and Charlie for the most part sat quietly occasionally passing Beau unwanted tid-bits of food, he did not start any conversations nor did he carry them on for very long. They were just finishing the fourth course of six when things fell to pieces or rather they shattered sending shards of glistening glass across the room and Leigh was surprised that Charlie had lasted for so long. Once the awkwardness of the situation had dissipated the group barring Charlie and Leigh had erupted into conversation regurgitating tales of Charlie and bombarding him with memories that he had managed to loose and this was when he snapped. He stood forcing his chair backward with a long and ear bursting screech,
“Look as much as I appreciate this and I’m sure we were all very close but I do not remember you and I do not remember the things that you are talking about, the things that we did together, this-this is too much” he said raising his voice only an octave and then he walked out with Beau close at his heels. Leigh stood a second later; she offered a nervous smile,
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry he just can’t handle this yet, I’m sorry that he doesn’t remember you, you all seem great and I’m sure he will remember you he just needs time to heal” with that apology Leigh left. She found Charlie and Beau outside, he had called a taxi and soon they were home and he felt secure and safe again.