Remember Me This Way – Epilogue

Not every story has a happy ending.

Life just doesn’t work that way. I’m not sure what you could call this, but it’s anything but happy. I thought I was done writing this story a few nights before. Yet, here I am, pulling out my notepad, still adding to it so I can type it up later. So I don’t think I am. Despite myself, I need to speak as me, and stop hiding behind the idea of the narrator. Like I said earlier, it’s good to grieve over what’s been lost and let yourself feel the pain that comes with it. It’s been seven years since Nick’s been committed to the home he lives in now. And as I stand outside the door to his room, it doesn’t get any easier.

Nothing’s ever easy anymore.

The caretakers love him; they say on his good days, he’s fun. He livens up the place with his randomness, his childlike antics. In short, Nick is still Nick, even when he doesn’t remember anymore. I think if he knew that, he’d be happy. It was one of his biggest worries. Are you still you, even when everything is taken away?

In his case, the answer is yes.

He doesn’t know me anymore, even on his good days. When I, or any of us really, come to visit, he nods, he smiles when we tell him. But it’s pretty easy to see he can’t find that memory, it’s lost to him, like everything else. Long ago, we stopped trying to tell him. We come in as visitors. It seems to be for the best. It hurts but it doesn’t hurt him. His sisters come in often, Leslie even moved back here to the States with her family. I can’t remember the last time I’ve seen Bob Carter, but after me, Jane visits the most.

You know what she’s doing now? She decided to start the Nick Carter Foundation – Finding the Cure for Alzheimer’s. It’s funding the testing needed to actually seek out a possible cure. Who would’ve guessed? I wish Nick knew. He deserved that.

Just like he deserved the Grammys he won. He doesn’t know why they’re in his room, but I made sure they were placed on his shelves all the same. I got a few weird looks when I insisted on that. But I knew that Nick would want that. I just wish he knew. But even so, without the memories, without knowing me even a little, I come to see him every Saturday.

He’s still Nick, you see.

I nod at the nurse when she sees me; they know me by name now.

She steps forward, knocking on the door gently. You don’t want to surprise Nick; it upsets him and can cause one of his episodes that’ll take hours to calm him down. I’ve seen a few of those. I end up crying when no one will see me every time. It never gets any easier.

“Nick? You have a visitor…”

He turns from the radio he was fiddling with, and gives me a smile that used to charm the world twice over. Even though there’s grey in his hair, he doesn’t look his age. It’s almost like this disease stopped him from aging. At the age of forty-five, Nick looks like he’s only in his late thirties. It reminds me of the cruelty of this happening to him. He should be enjoying himself at his prime, not trapped in this home without a clue of who he is. Without knowing that he had plenty of people who cared about him.

I take in a deep breath. “Hi, I’m Brian.”

“Nick…or so they tell me. Sorry, my memory ain’t too great.”

I smile as best as I can. “It’s okay.”

The radio catches my attention, as a new song begins to play. The song is one I’ve heard too many times in my own lifetime. A song I’ll never forget. Just the beginning notes are enough to grab at me in ways not much else can. The pride I always felt when I heard this song has long since faded. Now, it serves to do nothing but break my heart.

You are, my fire…the one desire…

“Hold on, let me turn this up.” I see his face scrunch up in concentration. “This song sounds really familiar, like I know it or something…” He smiles. “I like it, anyway.”

Believe, when I say…that I want it that way…

“I do too.”

I shut the door behind me.

Contents Page
Companion One-Shot  Life After You

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