I subscribe to the blog called, The Daily Post. Everyday the author(s) post a writing challenge to keep our writing juices flowing. This week’s DP Challenge is to write something about Starting Over. Here’s my entry in the contest.
A New Start in the Twilight Zone
About twelve years ago, my husband was abducted by aliens. I’m sure of it because he’s never been the same since. And since that fateful day, we’ve been walking through The Twilight Zone.
It all started with a phone call. “Hello, sweetheart. I need you.” Ken was crying. He never cried.
Fear rose up from my stomach. Something was terribly wrong. “Where are you?”
“I’m at the Mall.”
“Where at the Mall?”
“I don’t know. I don’t even know how I got here.”
“Look around you and tell me what you see.”
“I’m in the hallway outside one of the entrances, using one of the pay phones.”
“I can’t find you if you can’t tell me where you are!” I was on the verge of panic.
“There’s a fingernail place across from me. And one of those “You are Here” layouts in the middle of the hallway.”
“That’s good. That helps. I’ll be right there. Don’t move.”
I threw on a coat, jumped in my car, and drove over the speed limit to get to the Mall. My imagination was going mad. Different scary scenarios manifested. Was he hurt? Had someone mugged him? Why couldn’t he tell me what happened? Why didn’t he know where he was?
Five minutes later, I parked the car at the Southeast Entrance and ran into the building. From his description of his surroundings, I surmised he had to be somewhere close. I opened the set of glass doors and looked around. There he was sitting on a bench in the mall courtyard. His head was down, looking like a lost five year old.
“Sweetheart!” He rushed toward me and grabbed me in a strong embrace. “I’m so glad you’re here.”
I looked at his face and there was a look of sheer terror in his eyes. “It’s okay now. I’m here.” He didn’t let go.
When he relaxed a bit, I walked him back to the bench to try to piece together what had happened. “Can you tell me anything?”
“I don’t even know how I got in here. I don’t remember driving to the mall or where I parked the car.” He said in a weak voice while tears filled his eyes.
“What were you doing before you got to the mall?”
“Patrick and I met for coffee at Wilson’s.”
“Do you remember driving to the mall?”
He took a deep breath. “Yes.”
“Do you remember the road you took to get here?”
“Yes. I drove down Green Bay Road.”
As he pieced the puzzle together, I felt him relax a little more. “So you turned into the mall from the west side by Applebee’s?”
“No. I turned in by Olive Garden.”
“That’s good. Where did you park?”
He began to cry again. “I don’t know!”
I put my arm around him and tried to soothe him. “It’s okay. We’ll find the car together. Are you sure you feel well enough? Are you hurt? Perhaps I should call the ambulance and have you checked out at the hospital.”
“No! No doctors. No hospital. I’m fine now.” He added, “Now that you’re here.”
We walked to my car, hand in hand. “I’ll just drive around and maybe you’ll remember something.” He agreed that was a good idea.
As I circled the mall, I continued to question him to ascertain where his car might be. “If you came in at the other end of the mall, do you remember why you came here?”
“Yes. I wanted to buy some blades for my electric shaver.”
“That’s good. Do you remember what store you were going to try to buy them?”
“That little store by Penny’s.”
“But that’s on the other end of the mall from where you called me.”
He began to cry again. “I know. I can’t tell you how I got on the other end of the complex. It’s like I lost a chunk of time. Why is this happening?”
“I don’t know, honey. But it’s really okay. We’ll piece this thing that’s happened to you—together.” I tried to hide my concern with the sound of confidence in my voice to keep him calm. But in my mind, I kept asking myself what could have caused such a traumatic event for the man I love?
Ken brushed away a tear that had rolled down his cheek. “Oh, sweetheart, I don’t know what I’d do without you. I feel like I’m losing my mind.”
I didn’t want to say it, but I was truly afraid that something very serious had happened to him. But what? What would cause him to not remember these simple things?
We drove around the mall for about twenty minutes before we found the car. “There it is! There’s the car.” Ken’s voice sounded almost joyous.
“Do you remember anything more now that you see the car?”
“I don’t know if you should drive, Ken.”
“I’m fine now. I can get the car home.”
“Perhaps we should call someone to drive it home for us.”
“No. Don’t treat me like a child! I can drive the car!” He jumped out of my car with his keys in his hand, unlocked the door and waved to me.
I followed him back to our condo and got him safely inside our home. When I saw him in the kitchen, he looked very weary. “I made some soup for supper. Would you like a sandwich with it?”
“No. I really don’t feel like eating. I think I’ll go to bed.”
“Are you sure? When was the last time you had something to eat?”
“I ate my lunch at break time, like always.”
“That was over seven hours ago. Why don’t you go wash up and I’ll put supper on the table?”
“Maybe you’re right.” He hung up his jacket in the living room closet and went into the bathroom.
After he ate a small bowl of soup, he went to bed. I picked up the phone and called the doctor. This unexplained event troubled me to no end. As an engineer, Ken was naturally meticulous with a keen attention to details. He needed to be checked out. But not tonight. He was in no danger, but I would keep vigil. Nothing or no one would harm him again.
We never did know for sure what happened that night. But a year later, Ken suffered a seizure in the middle of the night. A year later he developed testicle cancer and five years after that he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I still think the whole ordeal was initiated by an alien abduction. I think they infused my husband with some strange chemical that triggered his medical problems. They stole him away from me that night, and now I’m left to walking through the Twilight Zone with him.