Sunday, June 03, 2018

The day I cut my finger off


The day I cut my finger off –
my index finger, now made
smaller than my little finger –

I cooked my childhood favourite,
carrots and parsnips mashed, for tea;
it was the day my wife’s work sent

flowers in memory of her sister
who had died on the other side of the
world.  It was the day my wife was

gib-boarding the upstairs bathrooom,
the day I had a heavy cold and
should have been in bed, the

day the dog ate some of the carrot I
dropped on the floor, but not the
parsnip; the day I catalogued three

shelves of books onto an iPad app;
the day we were to go to a
quiz night at the Kensington, and

answer trivia; the day my two
daughters went to see
New Zealand’s Got Talent along

with thousands of others who wanted to
be seen in the audience and didn’t
realise it would be too dark and

that the audience is only there to
provide a noise.  It was the day the
two Jack Russells next door decided to

fight, with one of them nearly biting off
the tail of the other, the day my
son-in-common-law came to

pick me up from A & E since my
wife had to stay home to mind our
grandson, and he was the only one

free.  It was the day we almost had
soggy pies for tea, because I put them in the
microwave, and defrosted them too

rapidly, but saved them from
destruction by cooking them hot
and strong in the oven.  It was the day I
said to my son-in-common-law that
these things always happen to me,

and he didn’t agree, since he’d
cut off his own thumb at an
earlier point, in a wood splitter. 

It was the day – or maybe it
wasn’t – that all these things and
much more happened to me. 

Memory is deep, and memory
remembers what it wants, and
forgets what it wants, and

suddenly decides to bring a
history to light that years had
forgotten, and there’s a program on

TV, which is called Unforgettable
only it isn’t, since it runs to a
formula every other cop show on

TV runs to: a main character, a
sidekick - male to female in this
case - with a know-it-all boss,

and a couple of lesser cast
members who fill in the gaps, and
in this case a heroine who can’t

forget anything, but if that was
truly the case she would be halfway
round the twist, which she plainly

isn’t. What she remembers are
only those things vital to the
plot, things that most of us would have

forgot, like a face seen in a cafe, or a
photo on a wall, or a shadow on a
gate.  Wait, all these things, the

carrot and the parsnip, the flowers,
the biting of the tail and cutting
of the finger, the cataloguing,

the gib-boarding, trivia quiz,
the NZ’s got talent, the picking up from
A&E have happened; I remember them all,
Yet there’s one thing I have to confess:
I didn’t cut my finger off at all.

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