Stumbling Ahead, Chapter 3

I had, at first, planned to walk downtown, but on second thought, decided to drive. It would be easier, and we wouldn’t have to run into people on the way there. So, I told Michael to get in the car. He didn’t ask questions or argue, for once. On the way there, I decided to try to start up a little conversation with him. “So, Michael, would you still like to go downtown?” “I don’t care,” he said. “Whatever you want to do, Dad.” “How about a movie?” I asked. “That’s fine. I don’t care.” “Would you like to go to a museum?” I suggested. “Whatever,” he said. I could see this was going nowhere, so I decided to try a different tactic.

“Maybe we could just walk around, and if you see something you’d like to do, you can just let me know, okay?” I said. “Okay” he said. I counted that as a small victory, but I decided to lower my expectations for this little adventure. I found a place to park along the road, in front of a bookstore. That gave me an idea. “Do you like to read, Michael?” I asked. “Sometimes,” he said. Sounded like a winner, to me. “Let’s go inside and look around,” I said. “Okay,” he said.

We went in and walked around a little bit. Michael spotted the comic books, so he gravitated towards them. I decided to give him some space , so I went over to the nonfiction section. The owner was sort of watching us, of course. “Anything I can help you with?” he asked. “No, just browsing. Thanks,” I said. I really wasn’t that interested in a book, but I was happy that Michael had found something interesting, hoping it would distract him from his troubles a little bit.

After a few minutes, Michael walked over to me with a comic book in his hand. “Can we get this?” he asked. I knew I still had plenty of money in my wallet, even though I had no idea where it came from, or even if I had a job. “Sure,” I said. Michael handed the book to the cashier, I paid for it, and we headed outside.

Just then, a truck came towards us, honking its horn. It was the ice cream man. He got out of his truck with something in his hand, which he held out to us to take. “Here!” he said, “Push-ups are on me.” “Thanks,” I said. “I just got fired,” he said. “So I’m giving away everything in the truck. Would you like anything else?” “I’ll take an Italian Ice,” Michael said. “Do you have any Big Chew bubble gum?” I asked. “Sure! Be right back.” He got in his truck, then held them out the window. “Here you go,” he said. “Great!” I said. “Thanks again!” “You’re welcome!” he said. “You don’t know of any job openings anywhere, do you?” he asked. “No, sorry. Can’t help you, there. Good luck, though. I hope you find something.” He thanked me, then drove off.

“That was weird,” I said. But it gave me an idea. “Michael, let’s walk down to that café at the end of the block. I want to talk to you about something.” “Okay,” he said. He was too busy eating his ice cream to worry about what I might want to talk to him about. We got to the café, found a table on the sidewalk out front, and sat down. I waited for the server, so we wouldn’t be interrupted. He handed us a menu, but I figured, since we had the ice cream, we’d just get drinks. “Would you like a drink, Michael?” I asked. “I’ll take a Coke,” he said. “I’ll have a beer,” I said. “Red Stripe, if you have it.”

After the server brought our drinks, and left, I said, “Michael, I need to talk to you about a few things. I’m having some trouble remembering things. Do you think you could help me a little bit?” Michael wasn’t phased a bit, yet. “Sure!” he said, and he smiled at me. “I don’t know how to say this, Michael,” I said, “but I can’t remember some things. Some things, I can remember. Other things, I can’t. One thing I am concerned about right now, is my job. I don’t remember anything about it. Do you know if I have a job, Michael?” “You have a job, Dad. You are an assistant manager at the Wells Fargo by our house.” “Yikes,” I thought to myself, “An assistant manager? I’m sure they are wondering where I am.” “Thank you, Michael. I will call them when we get home.”

As Michael and I sat there, I thought about what I might tell my boss. I could use my wife’s death as an excuse for a little while, I guessed, but I probably needed to see a doctor about my memory issues, and maybe get some sort of excuse to be out if the office awhile, at least until I sorted things out a little. I figured I could look to see if I had an address book, and maybe some business cards. Maybe some mail with account numbers on it, so I could take out more money if I needed it. I decided to completely go through my wallet to see if I had debit and/or credit cards, in case I needed those, too. Membership cards would be helpful as well. I was on the right mental track, I thought. “Just hope I don’t forget much anymore,” I thought to myself.