"Will you please sit down, Gerald?" The Neurologist asked Gerald Smith.
"Why, sure thing Doc." Gerald said while wandering his eyes around the room nervously. "Might I ask what this is about?"
The Neurologist was doing everything in his power to avoid answering that question, but eventually, he said something to Gerald. "Mr. Smith, how did your father die?"
A sigh came from Gerald's mouth, showing his discomfort towards the uneasy subject of his father's death. "He - uh - he died of Alzheimer's back in '05. Why?"
The Neurologist took off his glasses and gently placed them on his lap. "Gerald, I'm sorry to tell you this, but - you have Alzheimer's." Gerald's mouth started twitch in disbelief. He finally let his jaw drop upon properly processing the news in his head.
"No, that's impossible. H-how did you find out?" Gerald said as tears started to form on the outer corners of his eye sockets.
"We discovered it during the CT scan we performed when you came in for your migrane headaches."
"Is there anyway that it can be treated?" Gerald said as the tears started to leave their corners and roll down his cheeks. The Neurologist just shook his head.
"We can only let the disease take it's course as time progresses."
"How fast will it happen? The memory loss?"
"Once again, there's no telling. But based on your father's results, it may happen rather rapidly." The Neurologist now had no sense of pain, or feeling at all for that matter, on his face. Hell, he could've passed for a robot, given there was no sense of emotion whatsoever.
"How long've I got?" Gerald said while wiping the tears off of his face.
"I'd say, a year. Maybe a year and a half. Now remember, these are all based on your father's results. So these estimations could either be completely right, or completely wrong. Only time will tell." The Neurologist was now penning words onto his yellow notepad.
"What're you writing?" Gerald asked.
"Oh, nothing. It doesn't concern you."
"Well, actually, it does concern me because of the fact that you started to write on that pad once I started to react to the god-awful news that you gave me. So give me the damned notepad." Gerald said with a demanding tone.
"Mr. Smith, I'm going to have to ask you to back away from me. Now." The Neurologist said while pushing Gerald's hand away from him.
"Give me the damn thing!" Gerald yelled with huge amounts of anger as he snatched The Neurologist's paper from his hand. "What the hell is this? 'Subject seems to be delusional? Refer to Psychologist? Overly dramatic?'" Gerald then threw the notebook at the face of The Neurologist. The Neurologist just shuttered away from Gerald's throw and fell off of his chair.
At his home in Staten Island, Gerald's wife Suzanna was awaiting the results of his doctoral visit. As was his son Gerald Jr., and daughter Florence.
"How was the visit?" Suzanna asked Gerald as he closed the door to their two-story house.
"It was - er - revealing." Gerald said as he started to form tears again.
"What happened, dad?' Florence asked her father. Gerald dropped his briefcase where he stood and knelt to the floor. It was there where he started to break out into tears.
"Dad!" Gerald Jr. said to his father as he got out of his seat on the couch to go help his father up. "Are you okay?" Gerald was still crying as his son helped him up off of the ground.
"Gather 'round the table everyone." Gerald said as he took off his coat, placed it on the coat hanger, and proceeded to the kitchen. he was sitting at the head of the table when his family walked in.
"Gerald, what is this about?" Suzanna asked him. There was a sense of worry in her voice.
"Yeah, Dad, what's going on?' Florence said in agreeance with her mother. Gerald Jr. just kept quiet.
"Kids. Suzanna. Remember when I went to the hospital about two weeks back for my migranes?" They all nodded. "Well, The Neurologist told me that while reviewing the results of the CT scan, they found that - well. they found that I have Alzheimer's. And the memory loss may occur sooner than thought. So, I just want you to know that if I don't remember you, I want you to know that I love you, and it's not my fault that I don't remember anything." Immediately after he finished speaking, Suzanna broke down into tears and started to slam her fist on the table. She knew that Gerald was going to die, but didn't know when.
"Dad, are you one hundred percent sure that it was Alzheimer's they found in that scan they took?" Gerald Jr. said over the cries of his mother and sister. His father nodded. "No. We need a second opinion. I'm not going to see your memory rot away. Not like this."
"You can do what you must, but that won't help the fact that I'm helpless. there is no cure to Alzheimer's. I am going rot away and die because of this damned disease, whether we like it or not. I'm just glad that I've gotten you through college. But, I won't be able to watch your sister graduate college either." Gerald said as he started to tear up again. "Now, Gerald, I want you to listen to me. Every morning, I want you to put a picture of you, your mother, and your sister, on the kitchen table. And then label them, so that I'll remember who's who. I'm trusting you, and you only with this task. Do you understand me son?"
"Yes Dad. I understand. You can trust me to do this."
"What are these?" Gerald asked his son while trying to recognize the face on the photo labeled "Gerald Jr."
"Dad, that's me, your son. I'm in that picture." Gerald Jr. said while trying to hold back a tear. "And the one on my left in the photo, is my sister. Your daughter, Florence."
"Oh, she looks very pretty. The man who marries her one day is sure gonna be lucky."
"I'm sure he will be, Dad. I'm sure he will be." Gerald Jr. said as he panned up at the view of outside from the kitchen window.
"How're you doing today Dad?" Florence asked her father as he stared out over the porch of their house.
"What was that? Oh, hello young lady, how are you today? Presumably fine, I hope. Hey, do I know you?" Gerald said as he fixed his glasses.
"Yes. You do know me, but we haven't spoken in a while. It's actually been a long, long time since we last spoke. Now that I come to think of it, I can't even remember the last time we really spoke. But, that doesn't matter now. All that matters now, is that I'm with you Dad. I love you, Dad." Florence said as she put her head on her father's shoulders. Gerald only had a look of confusion on his face, and then comfort.
"Florence?" He said with confusion in his voice. joy overcame Florence's face as she was incredibly happy that her father had remembered her name. "That name. Where did I hear it? Oh yes, that's right. My Aunt Florence. I wonder how she's doing." Disappointment replaced the joy on Florence's face as she grabbed her father's arm.
"C'mon Dad, remember."
"Mrs. Smith, I'm sorry to inform you of this, but Gerald doesn't have much time left. He's losing his memory faster than we thought, And we have no idea how to keep parts of his memory intact. I say, the only way possible to even try and get the old Gerald back, is to bring him on a trip down memory lane." Gerald's Psychologist Dr. Klein explained to Suzanna.
"What do you mean?" she said while she used a napkin to wipe a series of tears away from her face.
"Well," Dr. Klein started. "bring him back to his childhood home. See if he can remember anything from that time period of his life. And if he can't, then we know that Gerald is virtually lost forever."
"So Dad, you remember this place?" Gerald Jr. asked his father as they walked through his old childhood town.
"This place, it does look very familiar to me. I feel as if I've been here before, but can't say when. Or if I have been here for that matter." Gerald said as conflicting emotions took over on his face one minute he's confused, the next he's happy.
"Are you absolutely sure that you don't remember this place, Dad?" Florence asked her father as they walked down his boyhood street.
"Wait, hey. I think I do remember being here. Fifty-Sixth Street and Eleventh Avenue. I - I grew up here. Didn't I?" He said looking to his wife, whom tearfully shook her head yes. He then started spinning around to see if he could find his boyhood home. "And, that's my house. Where I grew up in." He said as he walked over to the front gate.
Gerald stood there for a half hour, just standing at his door. To those around him, he was just staring at the house. But in reality, his reality, he was looking at his life. All the memories that had occurred there, in that front yard, were replaying in his mind over and over again. But finally, it came to the point where he could not see his father's face while he was spinning Baby Gerald around in his arms. And then, in a blink of an eye. the memory was gone. For an extra ten minutes, Gerald looked at the house, and then to his family behind him. He then walked up to them and asked a simple, yet heart breaking question.
"Do I know you people?"