Absent in Mind

Caleb threw back the blankets and searched for his slippers with his feet. They weren’t there. He normally left them next to the bed because that’s what he wore, the last thing at night before he retired. Obviously not last night. He needed to pee, so he didn’t have time to look for them. After he finished, he looked at himself in the bathroom mirror. Not particularly impressed with what he saw, which was not unusual, he ran a hand through his increasingly sparse greying hair which was sticking up everywhere. His equally grey eyebrows were becoming alarmingly tufty. And was that hair sticking out of his nose? Hadn’t he only just trimmed them a few weeks ago? He was only sixty. What was going on? Premature ageing? Or was this just what was supposed to happen.

But the forgetting stuff, like his slippers, that was the most concerning. Over the last week alone, he recalled misplacing a number of items. That was all he remembered. Not what he’d misplaced or where just that he had. He sighed. At least he didn’t have someone constantly nagging him for his forgetfulness. Maggie had long since departed, but her reasons for leaving were simply that she was tired of living with such a boring do nothing dullard.

He wandered barefoot into the kitchen and put the kettle on for his usual morning cuppa. Normally, the matching canisters containing teabags, coffee and sugar were lined up next to the kettle, but the one with teabags was missing. Now, where could he have put it? He looked around but couldn’t see it anywhere. He opened the pantry, cast his eyes over the shelves, but there was no sign of the missing canister. He sighed in frustration. Was this just another sign of his increasing memory loss? The kettle boiled. He’d have to settle for coffee, but he liked to heat the milk in the microwave first.

He opened the fridge. The teabag canister was sitting on the middle shelf. He simply stared at it. He had no recollection of putting it there. Shaking his head, he retrieved it.

A short while later, with a mug of tea in hand, he was sitting on a chair in the lounge. He turned on the television, his Saturday routine, to watch the news. He never turned it on during the week, preferring to get ready for work without its distraction. But it was never good news. This morning was no exception, so after a few moments, he abruptly turned it off.

That was a first. He generally sat there, apathetically watching. He sipped his tea and mulled over in his mind what he was going to do that morning.

First look for his slippers. They had to be somewhere. He cast his mind back. When was the last time he’d worn them? Frustratingly, he couldn’t remember. He finished his tea, He had planned to go somewhere this morning. He’d read something in the community newspaper early in the week. Now, what was it? Oh yes, it was an art exhibition by locals in the nearby community hall. His friend Angie had several paintings on show. He had told her he was going to drop in and have a look. He grimaced slightly. In his opinion, Angie was no artist. She called herself an abstract painter. Trying to make sense of her paintings drove him to distraction. She had told him they weren’t supposed to make sense, she was expressing her inner soul, whatever that meant. It looked like a very tormented one to him. But what did he know? He didn’t have an artistic bone in his body.

He got to his feet. He’d hunt for his slippers. They had to be somewhere. But 30 minutes later, no luck. So he had his morning shower. When he finished, he looked for his nose hair clippers to deal with the hair he could see sticking out of his nose. Once again, something else he’d mislaid. He couldn’t find them anywhere. He gave a groan of despair.

He really was losing his mind.

He dressed and went to the kitchen to have his usual Saturday breakfast of bacon, eggs, toast, and coffee. He only had it on Saturday. The rest of the week was cereal and tea. He opened the fridge. To his dismay, he had no eggs. He’d forgotten to buy any. He remembered using the last ones last weekend. So he at least remembered that, he just hadn’t gotten any more. Annoyed with himself, he decided to treat himself, which he did from time to time. He’d go out for breakfast, then go to the art exhibition. And on the way home, buy some eggs. Maybe it would be a good idea to check whatever else he needed although his usual shopping night was Friday, on his way home from work. He probably didn’t need anything, but he’d forgotten the eggs, hadn’t he.

A short while later, keys in hand, he opened the back door on his way to the garage.

He stumbled and almost fell over his slippers. They were sitting on the mat. He recovered his balance, then snorted in remembrance. He had worn them last night when he’d gone out and deposited some rubbish in the bin. It had rained, he’d gotten some mud on them so he’d left them there rather than track mud inside.

He opened the side door of the garage and got into his car. As he pressed the button on his key fob to open the garage door, he reflected that at least he’d remembered where his car keys were, he had his wallet, and he just recalled where he’d left his nose hair clippers. So perhaps not so absentminded after all. He backed down the driveway and watched the garage door close. He turned into the street and set off for the nearby coffee shop which served a very nice breakfast. A sudden realisation hit him. He sighed, then pulled over. He needed to turn around. He was going the wrong way. His previous thoughts about his absent-mindedness might have been a bit premature. Damn.

Oh well, once he had his breakfast, he might forget where he was going afterwards and miss seeing Angie’s atrocious works of art. Maybe there were some positives to being absent in mind.


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