when you find the one you might become,
remember part of me is you
— the prophet lyle pearce lovett
Dementia is a funny thing. I understand how it works, but I thought somehow I would be immune from its effect on him. He’d always remember me, his twin brother born a year and 359 days after him. I was never good with deadlines.
And then yesterday, an icy stare and those words. “Who are you? Why are you here?”
It was a rough evening. He wanted nothing to do with me. Went in his room and closed the door. I wondered if that was that. I know he will forget me forever at some point. Just not yet. Please.
He came in at 5 a.m. today. He just stood there silently in the dark room as I cleared out the early morning cobwebs in my head. Then he softly said “I’m sorry,” and left. That was all.
I finally get up around 8 o’clock. We have coffee and leftover birthday cinnamon rolls. The dogs eat the leftovers.
He’s standing in the middle of the kitchen. He looks at me.
“I’m Rick!” he exclaims.
“You’re Gary!” he says.
That’s right, I say.
He pauses. “Who’s the other one?”
Not important, I assure him.
I add: We’re the Smith Boys!
SMITH BOYS! he says, and flexes his biceps. We laugh. I try not to cry.
Then we drive to the same Sonic we frequented so many times when we were young, and get Dr Peppers, like all those returnable bottles (what a concept!) at Granddad’s little Vancourt store when we were kids. We drink them at the park next to the river, fighting off the panhandling squirrels.
I tell him about the daredevils who tried to jump across it on motorcycles. His eyes light up. I remember that, he says.
It’s a quiet, warm morning. We sit and watch the grackles as they go grackling. I’m happy, in a heartbroken way.
Remember part of me is you, the prophet Lovett said.