Auntie Jo strolled toward the mall, accompanied by her oldest, dearest friend. They’d just polished off a lovely luncheon at the DELIGHTFUL DOWNTOWN DINER. This week’s special was deep-fried Peanut Butter-Jelly Sandwiches with Curly-Fries and they’d enjoyed them along with a nicely chilled Pinot Grigio. Since they were both watching their weight, they’d skipped dessert and settled for a second glass of wine.
Now they strolled along, reminiscing about old times and giggling like school girls. Auntie Jo was so caught up in her story about Miss “Fish-Face” Foster, their 4th grade math teacher with her unfortunate resemblance to a flounder, that she almost walked past a vaguely familiar face.
Catching herself just in time, she exclaimed to her friend, “Why, it’s my new next door neighbor! You must meet her!” The new neighbor smiled rather timidly. She and Auntie Jo had chatted briefly at their mailboxes that very morning. At least Auntie Jo had chatted, pausing for breath every now and then, just long enough for the new neighbor to manage a quick smile and a nod.
“How nice to run into you,” cried Auntie Jo. “You must meet my friend, my dearest, oldest friend …“ There was a pause – “My dearest, oldest friend … “ Her mind went blank. She turned to her friend, stammering “And th-this is my new neighbor …” Once again her mind blanked out. She stood stock still, totally speechless. How dreadfully embarrassing! Auntie Jo was mortified. Fortunately the ladies were already clasping hands and smiling at one another. Auntie Jo could do nothing but stare at the sidewalk, wishing it would open up and swallow her, red face and all.
She glanced up just in time to see a taxi approaching. Ignoring the honking cars whizzing past, she hailed it, grabbed her friend’s hand, leaped out into the traffic and shoved both of them inside. She waved a hasty good-bye to her neighbor, who was left standing at the curb, gaping. Too rattled to remember her own address, she weakly flapped a hand at her friend who managed to give the befuddled driver the directions.
That evening Auntie Jo relived the humiliating scene over and over. What was happening to her? Why? Thinking back over recent weeks she realized she’d been getting more and more forgetful. Forgetting or misunderstanding appointments, showing up a day early or a day late for important events, misplacing items, mixing up the simplest things, where would it end?
Was it just yesterday that she had poured a healthy glug of vanilla into the pot of chili she had bubbling away on the stove? She’d meant to use red wine. And how puzzled her doctor had looked a few days ago when she began asking questions about a root canal, thinking she was at the dentist.
She was aware that words and phrases she’d been accustomed to using no longer came easily to mind, like referring to her computer as a confuser or the blue spruce tree in her yard as a BlueTooth. And she’d definitely not had her eyes defrosted, although she’d had them dilated any number of times. She’d laughed everything off, but not this, not her best friend’s name. Her many little slips no longer seemed funny at all.
Was it any wonder her children had begun darting little glances at her, raising their eyebrows to one another when they thought she wasn’t looking? How could she ever tell them what had happened to her this afternoon? HORRORS! What if they felt compelled to stage an intervention!! What would happen to her? What would they decide to do?
The idea of an intervention was too frightening. However, not one to brood for long, Auntie Jo tried to think constructively. What to do? What to do? And she had it! A reverse intervention! She’d throw a big family party, every detail planned carefully. She’d show them all how capable she still was! What could possibly go wrong?
A nasty little voice popped up in the back of her mind, reminding her sarcastically, “Probably Everything,” but she chose to ignore it, her mind firmly made up. She’d start making plans and lists the first thing in the morning. Intervention indeed! HAH!!
With that settled , she toddled off to bed. Now if she could only remember those names…really, her oldest, dearest friend, her next door neighbor, how ridiculous! Once again she began to fret. Finally, after hours of tossing and turning, she drifted off to sleep.
At 2:00 o’clock in the morning Auntie Jo’s eyes suddenly flew open and she popped straight up in bed.
“Wilma!” she cried. “Wanda!”
But which one was which?