Loser's Guide to Life
I remember my mother looking for something essential for the short outing we were to make, a hat, small jacket, something like that. “What's happened to it?” she said, digging behind a cot that was pushed against the wall. I should have liked to help, but I didn't know exactly what she was looking for. I could barely understand anything said to me at that age, and I was also unable to walk or do anything. I think I could stand up, but that was about it. So I lay there concerned about the missing article, trying to picture it. Was it a hat? A small jacket? No? What else could it be? Let's try to think...but I was aware that I didn't know what she was looking for, and that my attempts to picture it must be fruitless. I could be of no use. I think we left the house without finding it, and outside there was a bright afternoon in October.
A little later, when I was forty, I asked my mother if she ever found the thing she was looking for.
“Did you find that thing—the thing you couldn't find when we were about to leave the house that afternoon? About forty years ago?”
“What are you talking about?”
I left it at that. I didn't want to get into some big row and have her accuse me of trying to make her out to be forgetful, which happens whenever I point out that she has already seen the movie she is watching, but once again I felt useless. It was my birthday, and outside there was a bright afternoon in October.