He was running as fast as his small legs could carry him. “Come on Dad, faster”. Andrew watched his son run faster and faster, there was something in his run that he would never forget. That was in 1965.
Today it was 1999, the year just preceding the Y2 K bug. The year in which rumors of computers crashing, planes in midair collisions were rampant as programmers had not converted the year in the system from 1900’s to 2000.
Today Andrew could barely remember his son. He knows the person lying next to him is important but he cannot remember why. He gets up from bed, his parched throat indicating his need for water. He makes his way slowly towards the kitchen. He reaches the bedroom door and stops. He looks around. All the memories are clouded now. In the darkness he can see Samantha breathing slowly and steadily. He walks back to his bed and goes back to sleep. He cannot remember why he got up.
It’s now 2002. Andrew gets up early, starts to dress up for his morning walk. The bed is empty. There used to be a body there now no more. He still doesn’t know why. He can hear some rustling noises coming from outside the room. He moves slowly towards the noise. He sees her; She smiles “Good Morning Andy”. She knows his name but he doesn’t know who she is. She hands him a diary and his spectacles. He accepts both. The diary reads – “Your name is Andrew, Samantha is your wife and you have a son named Austin. You may not remember anything but we all love you and will take care of you. He reads further and sees how chronically she has maintained his life events and updated it till yesterday. He remembers Samantha.
It is 2004. Everyone’s a stranger. There is a man who helps him bathe, he feeds him and puts on his favorite Television series of Tom and Jerry. Austin hugs his father and waits for the nurse to arrive, talking to his father about Mr. Mehta his boss in the office. He knows that Andrew may not remember anything but talking to him makes him feel light and he needs someone who will listen, not judge. He needed someone who he loves unconditionally even though it’s not reciprocated. Oh how he wished to be ten again, running through the park with his dad racing along with him. Mom is no more and they only have each other.
It is 31st December 2004. Andrew is in a Home with total strangers. Strangers whose names he doesn’t need to remember. A boy is holding his hand and they watch on a television screen as the numbers recount 5, 4, 3, 2, 1. Austin wishes him “Happy New Year”. Andrew smiles and says, “Happy new year Joseph”. Austin smiles and wonders how long he has to pretend to be Joseph, his uncle, who had passed away many years ago. But as long as his father remembers him he would pretend to be Joseph.
Its 2005. The funeral was small and it was right after Valentine day. Just yesterday Austin told Andrew that he was marrying his sweetheart Janet and wanted him to be there for the wedding. Even in his pain he smiled, because he didn’t have to pretend to be Joseph anymore.