“One moment she is here, and then she is gone again and each journey takes her a little farther from the reach”. – Debra Dean.
Amber startled and looked around with a mix of bewilderment, shock and wonder.
She sits on a bench on the wet sand; the spilling waves are breaking down softly at her feet. A few sea gulls are scavenging on the sand, and one or two pelicans on the water. She holds a black leather hand bag in one hand, and a notebook on the other. Her black dress is wet from knee down. She tries to adjust her sticky hair. Even her face seems wet and sticky. She tries to remember how she came there, why she is in the beach, and where she is supposed to go. A heavy suffocating blanket of reality began to sink in. She leans with her elbows on her knee, chin in her hands, and remains rapt in deep thought. But everything seems so hazy and vague; it’s hard to remember anything. She opens her bag and grabs the phone and looks at all the contacts. And now she is in a dilemma on whom to call. Her forehead is shaded with a heavy cloud; lips are sealed in an expression of unspeakable sadness and anxiety.
“Hello, Mason? This is Amber”.
Mason was surprised to hear Amber’s voice “Is everything alright? Are you done with your presentation? And where are you? Are you driving back? It is so late.”
Amber can hear the anxiety from the other end and the voice seems so familiar. She swallows and answers, “I am lost and I do not know how to answer all your questions. But, it would be nice if you could pick me up close to the beach, in the nearby hotel, Hotel Galvez”.
“I will be there between fifteen to twenty minutes!” Mason took a deep breath, glad to know that Amber was fine. He needed to take her to the doctor tomorrow.
His wife is 5’6, almost sixty, cut a striking figure, a tall and graceful woman with long, slender legs. Her hair that is as pale as milkweed has gone from black to white, and the years of laughter and joy reflect through the crow’s feet at the corner of her eyes. She has been happily married for thirty five years, has a very loving family, blessed with one daughter and one son. She enjoys every bit of her life, happy in the job, enjoys her kick boxing, Zumba, yoga classes, long walk, even hiking- a very active lifestyle. She loves doing puzzles and Sudoku. She loves writing. She would put her thoughts into the most beautiful words, and flavors her stories to perfection. She is a little introverted, but very positive and independent.
However she started to become forgetful- cellphone numbers, the lane where she parked the car, the keys to the house or office, important papers. Sometimes she would stand in the doorways trying to figure out where she was going. Sometimes she even forgets what she wants to say. There are days she is more confused than others. Some days she drives crazily. She drives in the wrong lanes and runs red lights or stop signs.
Mason was worried and took Amber to different doctors. The doctor diagnosed the symptoms, as Alzheimer’s a progressive neurological disease, a common form of dementia.
Early in the morning, Amber notices the pink of the new day seeping through the lacey white curtain. She wants to write today. Inside the kitchen, the light reflects off the bits of chrome, sinking quietly into the granite countertops and floor. In the middle of writing, she stretches her arms above her head, to the back, looks away, stares at the ceilings, looks back at the page in the hope of being surprised by the brilliance of what is there. She held her chin between finger and thumb, tries to think hard, but then it does not matter, she is happy with her writing. Mason looks at his wife and asks if she wants to take a break and join him on the patio for a hot cup of tea. He knows how Amber loves to sit on the patio from where you can see her treasured Rose plants, and the branches of the Cherry trees hang heavy with pink and white blossoms, their petals drifting like a spring snow on to the yellow daffodils below.
“Sometimes she would fall in love with me again just like she had a long time ago. And that is the most wonderful feeling in the whole world.”- Nicholas Sparks.
One day Mason walks into the house and sees Amber sitting in an old fashioned wing backed swing from this angle her face is obscured by a large sunhat and sunglass. An album lays spread on her lap, she tries to visualize and the images are fuzzy, obscure, flow of things lost. Both the dogs bent on stretching their paws and yawing and wagging their tails. Amber looks up at Mason. The expression of her face seems disturbed and anxious. Her lips are half open as if she means to speak, and then she draws a deep breath. She smiles, the laugh lines deepens and says, “Hi. It is nice to see you home early.” Mason is determined to heal his wife, help her in this rough time. Noiselessly he pulls the other garden chair, and sits close to his wife gently holding her hand. He says, “I want to chitchat with you, then we can go for a stroll, but first, we can look at the album together”. Mason opens up each page of the albums, and starts telling the stories on the different pictures. It is like a puzzle and each piece held historic facts, personal memory. Amber tries her best to visualize the stories.