Memory

She can't remember that they were in love and the doctors say she never will. She doesn't know she can't remember it though. She just thinks that they have always been friends, nothing more. But it has become too much for him to take, so he decides to kill himself.

In the early stages, he decided to wait it out. He knew things would change. They had to. Time heals all wounds, right? Wrong. Time only makes things worse. After a year of waiting without any improvement, he decided to try bringing back her memories. She had always loved biking and camping in the mountains where they grew up. These are the things he tried to help her remember. They reconnected with old and dearly loved friends. They themselves grew almost as close as they had been before the accident. Still she did not remember. He spent two years living this way, always with a weight upon his heart.

Then, three months ago Ben Strub began buying sleeping pills. He's had to hide them from her when she visits him. He decided on pills because he believed it would be a peaceful way to die. About a month and a half into his plan he bought a blender. And now he's buying a bottle of bourbon. He plans to mix the alcohol with the pills and just fade into oblivion.

"Hey Ben."

"Mornin' Sherri." Sherri Quinn, one of his closest friends, works as a cashier at one of the grocery stores he visits. They've known each other since they were kids.

"So, she finally remembers you huh?"

"No," he replies, "Why do you ask?"

"Well," she bites her lower lip, a sure sign that she's embarrassed. "I thought you might be celebrating something. What with the bottle and all."

"No, that's not it." Thunder roars in the gray-black sky as he looks out the windows to buy some time. What can I tell her? If I say nothing she'll never let me out of here. Then his eyes settle on a sale rack: Chili seasoning, half price.

"I found this chili recipe," he lies, " and it calls for bourbon."

"Think ya' got enough?"

It was only a fifth, but he did plan to use it all. Besides, his philosophy is that overkill, sometimes, just isn't enough.

"The way I see it, I'm gonna screw up at least once and have to dump the whole batch."

"If you say so," she giggles, "Have fun."

He shrugs and says, "Anything's possible."

Sherri shakes her head as Ben walks into the rain and thinks to herself, Something's not right about him today.

Thirteen packets of pills into the blender plus almost all of the bourbon. Push the button and away we go, he thinks and, Am I really about to do this?

However, Sherri has other ideas.

"Ben. You here?" She has his extra key; he thought that was best since he was always losing his. She finds him lying in his bedroom. She screams when she sees the bottle and the empty packages of pills in the kitchen. She puts it all together. She rushes to the phone and dials 911, her hands shaking. Then, she hurries to sit with Ben while they wait for the paramedics to arrive. That's when she notices the picture in his hands. It's the two of them. She's wearing a wedding dress and he's in a tuxedo. She screams silently when she sees that crumpled photograph.

She screams in pain and desperation as the memories come flooding back to her. The wedding, their life together, the accident that made her forget--all come back to her in a torrent.

"Oh Ben," she sobs, "I'm sorry, I'm so sorry." She rests her head on his chest.

Thump-bump, thump-bump.

"What?" His heartbeat is steady, and his breathing is getting stronger. He's only sleeping.

"Hunh? Sorry for what?" He says as he wakes up.

"But, how? The pills, and I couldn't hear you breathing and…and…and…" she breaks off into a fresh wave of sobs.

"I couldn't go through with it. I dumped it all down the drain." He lifts himself up onto his elbows, "Now, really, sorry for what?"

"I remember now," she's still crying, though softly.

He sits up and wraps his arms around her.

"Don't cry Sherri, it's okay."

"But it's not. These last three years you've never told me. It must have been hell for you."

"It wasn't too bad. It was like we were just friends again. Besides the doctors told me that not letting on about us was for the best. They said it would probably be painful for you to know and yet not remember."

"But, how did you live with that?"

"I knew it would come back to you someday. That was the first year. Then for the next two years I tried to remind you. And that brings us to three months ago when I gave up, and today when…"

"But you even talked to me about it as if it were someone else!"

"I had to talk to someone. Why not my best friend?"