A whole piece of my evening is missing. Erased from my thoughts surgically, leaving a dark, gaping mouth in my memories. A mysterious black hole filled with untouchable matter I can’t see. An illusion of emptiness drawing me in, absorbing all of my attention…
Thursday, November 11th, 2021
It is 1:00 PM. I came back home so late yesterday – or should I say this morning. I don’t even remember exactly when. I totally missed my alarm clock ringing this morning. “Oh well, university can live a day without me attending classes, and so can I.” say I, forcing myself not to feel guilty for my late night stroll. I will just have to ask a friend to share their notes with me and the guilt will be gone.
I am opening up my windows to let some fresh air in, and wake my mind up. I sit down, and as I am sipping on lemon, ginger and honey blended in hot water, I try to recall last night’s happenings. I remember walking past that painting on the wall, feeling some sort of attraction, a déjà vu feeling causing me to walk back to it and then… blank. A whole piece of my evening is missing. Erased from my thoughts surgically, leaving a dark, gaping mouth in my memories. A mysterious black hole filled with untouchable matter I can’t see. An illusion of emptiness drawing me in, absorbing all of my attention…
For a whole hour upon that realization, I keep picking at my brain. By means of meditation, following online tutorials on how to recover those erased pieces. I try to get my mind to open and find its way back to the missing instants. Over and over again, I escape and travel through remembered times, yet I keep reemerging in my room, empty-handed.
I decide to pick up my phone, and call my newfound brain doctor. This can’t wait until next Saturday. I can’t wait until next Saturday.
Beep… beeeep… beep… beee-… She picks up.
“Emilie, what can I do for you?”
As soon as I tell her what happened to me last night, I can hear a change in her voice. She puts me on hold for a minute, then talks again.
“Come now. As promptly as you can, I will be waiting for you. Hurry here and don’t make any stops. It is important. Don’t talk to anyone.”
I am guessing the hold part was to tell her secretary to cancel all of her afternoon appointments.
This feels a bit much, even for a debt, she is eager to repay to my GP. I will be on my guard and ask her for an explanation, before I open up to her again. Hmmm… Better yet, I will call Mamie. Maybe I should have done that first. Her, I can trust.
“Yes, sweetheart. What’s wrong? You sound worried.”
How can she tell so much with just one word? Her intuition always leaves me struck with awe.
“I need to tell you about last night. Something happened. I have a feeling something important happened, but I can’t remember what. I swear I didn’t have anything to drink or smoke. I got home fine too. I just can’t remember how. I keep revisiting my memories and the last thing I recall is stopping to contemplate that painting on rue Bichat, right next to the Hôpital Saint Louis. You know the one with the door and the cat. I have told you about it already.”
“Have you told anyone else about it?”
“Why are you all obsessed about me not telling about this? Worst that can happen is that people will think me insane…”
“You all?? Emilie, who’s “you all”? Who have you been talking to? I told you they were watching. You can’t go around blabbing your secrets away. These people can’t know you are becoming aware.”
“I wasn’t aware any of that was a secret. Mamie, you are scaring me. You are being cryptic again.”
“Emilie, who did you tell about this?”
“No one. Just you and my psychiatrist.”
“Who is your psychiatrist?“
“Doctor Olivier. She helped me sort through my trauma to find sleep again. My gut told me to trust her last night. I felt so aware after our chat. So much better once I left her office last night – like some weight had been lifted off of my shoulders.”
“Did you tell her about the painting? And your black-out?”
“Yeah, of course I told her about the black-out, that was the reason why I was calling her office in the first place. After I told her, she sounded all weird and cryptic about it. Just like you.”
“Just like me? Are you sure?”
“What is your heart telling you now?”
“My instinct was to call you, and to stay guarded.”
“Then that is what you should do. She may have been dormant – that doctor of yours. Your call woke her up. You can’t go missing now. You have to show up. She can’t know that you are awake, or that you are suspecting anything.”
My grand-mother waited a minute and then started again.
“Tell her your friend Claire called to ask how you were. Tell her it turns out you did have too much to drink last night. Make up some story about a drinking game gone bad. Don’t spare the details. Go as heavy with them as you can. Try and match it with a real party you have attended, about a behavior you witnessed in someone else. That will make it more real and easier for you to describe, and to remember if you ever need to in the future.”
She kept going…
“Say that you passed out and Claire drove you and tucked you in. She even left a note that you just found in your bag. Scribble it on the train, before you go to her office, and show it to her. Be careful to write in a way that doesn’t match your own writing or she will see right through you.”
… and going.
“Be thankful and apologize for the disturbance you have caused her.”
She gave her speech its final touch with some extra caution spice.
“Be aware. Don’t be cocky. She may be an agent. If she is, she will ask weird questions – things that will sound off topic to you. Act surprised even if you aren’t. Ask her to rephrase, when you do, and if she is an agent, she won’t be able to reformulate. She only has a set number of questions programmed in her brain. If she is not, she is still a doctor and you don’t want her poking around in your brain anyway. So act as natural as you can.”
Scheming seemed to come so naturally to her. I felt stunned. Like I had just been hit in the face by a giant wave. There was another awkward moment of silence, before she resumed her questioning.
“Did you mention the painting to her?”
“No, I didn’t. Mamie you have to explain to me why this matters. You are scaring me with your creepy mysteries and your scary questions. I can’t make sense of half of what you are saying.”
She could not care less about my preoccupations, and went right on to addressing hers.
“It is a good thing that you didn’t. We still have a fighting chance. You can make her dormant again.”
That agent terminology again…
“Mamie, just tell me what an ag…?”
The term got stuck on my tongue as I uttered it. She ignored my concern and went on blabbering about her conspiracy theories.
“Do stop by my hotel first. I will mix you a special drink. This way she won’t be able to access your thoughts any further. Always trust what your heart tells you, or your gut, as you call it. Your body knows more that your mind does at the moment. Don’t worry. It will catch up. Full awareness is just a few steps away.”
“What the hell Mamie! Stop it! You got me freaking out now. Just tell me what is going on. Plain and simple. I have had enough of the mysteries.”
“I would, ma chérie, believe me I would, but there is no time, and no simple way to put it. You would not believe me anyway.”
“Make time! Try me! I am pretty sure I have played all the creepiest scenarios in my head already. ”
“I am pretty certain you haven’t. This one is tightly orchestrated. I will tell you more as soon as I see you. You will know more.”
“I don’t want to know more. I want you to tell me everything you know!!”
“I could not, even if I wanted to. There is too much of a risk. It would overwhelm you, and put your life in jeopardy.”
More mysteries still. It feels like this will never stop.
“How soon can you leave?” She inquires.
“I am leaving now. Closing the door as I speak.”
“Okay, I will see you in under 20 minutes yet. NO SPEAKING. TO ANYONE BUT ME.” she warned again.
(to be continued…)
Featured image: The Cat and the Stag, captured on the 26th August 2017 in Paris, France. (iPhone 5S HDR settings)
Read part one here – Fabricated Flowers – Part 1
Read part two here – Fabricated Flowers – Part 2
Read part three here – Fabricated Flowers – Part 3
Read part four here – Fabricated Flowers – Part 4
Read part five here – Fabricated Flowers – Part 5
Read part six here – Fabricated Flowers – Part 6
Read part seven here – Fabricated Flowers – Part 7