I can’t remember what happened a few hours ago. I can’t remember a few minutes ago. In fact, I can’t remember. I have become accustomed to this kind of not remembering. I can feel the pulse in my neck; I am dizzy with nervous energy yet somehow exhausted at the same time. I’m afraid of losing my mind. Not going crazy; just losing my mind. I feel like I’m sweating though I know that I am not; in general, this is frightening and uncomfortable.
My grandmother lay in bed for years and years before her death. I remember her writhing, turning from side to side, her body engulfed in delirium tremens, her mind overwhelmed by thoughts she could not control. Why do I remember that? Why does my mind return to her, feel the presence of a woman so long gone? I have always feared my resemblance to her – the blonde hair, the round body, the blue eyes. Will I spend the last years of my life wearing Depends, lost in memories of my difficult childhood? Will I wish that I had accomplished more, loved more, been more lovable? Like her, I am more and more secluded, more and more alone. I have no idea how to be around people despite the fact that once upon a time I loved being social.
This is terrible. The solitude reminds me of a time when I was nothing but social. I worked, I taught, I loved my students. No one could say that I was anything but a teacher. My whole life was wrapped up in that wonderful occupation. My office had a revolving door – students in, students out, students in, students out. My days were spent welcoming students in, mourning as students went out. Now, I don’t see students at all. I am alone. I am alone. This is terrible.