Drama Sad

“Janice,” Paul’s voice had taken on that extra degree of sharpness that he presented only before his wife, only during his most vulnerable moments. “Do you remember that time we went camping, sometime soon after our marriage?”

Janice looked up from her book, her merry face masking her annoyance at the interruption. She waited for him to go on, widening her pretty doe eyes to encourage him.

“You remember surely, that old camping site where I used to go with dad… “Willow Creek” it was called, right?”

She gifted him a pleasant smile before replying, “Oh sure I do, that was so long ago. We truly had some fun that day. Your friends were there too, I believe?”

“Yeah, I guess” he growled, his voice suddenly snapping back to the usual guttural pitch. She was missing the point.

Janice had noticed his face light up when she assented to his question. For a moment he had looked so happy, as if the golf club had called to say they had made him president again. She waited for him to go on. The doctors recommended her to encourage him to talk more, to make him reminisce more. It helps, they said.

“I have… a confession to make… about that day,” Paul picked his words slowly, letting his throat take up the higher frequency that he seldom used. “Not sure that you remember, but that day, before we set off, well, you had forgotten to bring my hiking boots. I was so annoyed, and I remember us ridiculing you for it… I remember Wallaby and Finch taking up the argument too, about how stupid you are at times… I guess they always took my side, didn’t they? I should have seen through them. They stuck by me when I was a bigshot and ditched me as soon as I wasn’t. Fucking phonies...”

Janice waited patiently for him to vent his heat on his best friends, something of a ritual for him lately. She had to wait two whole minutes and watch his face as it contorted and shuddered with hate, before gradually smoothening out.

“You were saying?” She had the same smile plastered to her face.

“Well, it wasn’t you, it was me that had thrown the boots away while after you put them inside the trunk, they had looked so old… and I hated them. Only I… I should have… I could’ve admitted it.”

“Well, I don’t remember that at all,” Janice lied. She had a fantastic capacity to remember things, so all of her teachers in school had always remarked. And it hurt, as it had before.

“That was one of the best days of my life. We got lost, remember? And we had to wait four hours beside the creek until those idiots finally found us. You were so pretty that day. We talked about so many things, and time seemed to have stopped only for us… do you remember us sitting there on the bank talking?” Paul’s eyes bulged with excitement.

“I do, only vaguely. It was a good day, I remember. Not much details though. Sorry honey.”

“Wow, and they say I’m the one going cuckoo. Anyways, thing is, that day will always be dear to me. I just wanted to fix that memory. This lie has weighed on me forever. I’m happy to have told you this.” He finished with a smile, looking dead into her eyes.

Almost a sorry this time. Janice noted.

“Well, it’s almost lunchtime. Better go cook something,” she got up briskly, and walked towards the kitchen, all her senses waiting for the peremptory shout.


Well, his impudent voice was turning a shade compassionate with time, Janice noted as she slowly turned around.

Paul was standing, his whole body trembling with emotion.

“Thing is, this dementia that they say I have, I’ve been thinking about it. I was reading stuff off the net when you weren’t looking, and from what I found this can turn pretty bad. I won’t stand being a joke when all those bastards finally come knocking, eager to see me sucking a pacifier. I won’t let that happen. Thing is, that new knife I made you buy, ‘cause I said I wanted to restart whittling, well I planned to cut my wrist with it tonight, after you are asleep. Just go down to the bathroom with the knife, cut up my artery and sit down on the floor, leave the tap running.”

He was watching her face diligently as he spoke, pleased to watch her face go pallid with horror at his nefarious plan.

“He still wants to leave the tap open, always one for drama,” thought Janice as she obliged him a slight shriek. ”Honey!”

“Nah, it doesn’t matter now. Why I asked about that day, well, since I can remember that day so clearly well… a day well over thirty years ago, so clearly I can write a story on it, I think they are all lying farces, the doctors. It’s impossible isn’t it, that I can remember something from thirty years ago, when if I had dementia, I should be wondering which planet I was on?” Paul looked so relieved that Janice felt sad to see him so. He had fallen so low. From the manager of a million dollar firm to a home ridden old sod, from the life of the club to having only his wife for company. Janice felt sad for him.

“If… if that memory was a lie, if that day at the creek had never happened and was just my imagination, I swear I would have killed myself today. I was hell-bent upon it.” He paused, possibly waiting for her to confirm the authenticity of that day again.

When he saw her shaking her head, he continued with the same dramatic tone,” Now I know it was all a fucking farce, they want to ditch me in a day-care, I think Wallaby’s behind it. He would very much love tucking me away, I know all about his secret dealings… it’s surely all a hoax. You know right Jan, that I’m alright?”

“I don’t know, honey. At least for a month, let’s go with the prescriptions and see. But you are alright. I love you, you know.” She turned towards the kitchen. He switched on the television and perched on his sofa.

Janice watched the sky turning orange. As twilight fell, she always found herself on the edge of the roof, lost in her thoughts, her eyes glued to the horizons.

Nancy had called. She made sure she never missed her customary call at four, checking on her parents, the caring daughter. She asked her what her mother was up to, whether she had watched the rains on the news that day, how she was happy with her life and her work. Then she cut slowly past the superficial questions to her father’s condition. A lot of ‘oh’ s and ‘ah’ s. And what should they do about it? Her friend recommended a new doctor they should go and see… Before she ended she always made sure to say how brave her mother was.

That was the maxim. That Janice was the bravest woman they knew. Nancy stated it daily like a parrot. Janice’s son Michael called twice a month to remind her, in case her sister forgot. Even wily old Wallaby said as much the last few times she had to suffer his company. Still hoped she’d fall for him, the perverted snob. Yes, Janice was brave, and none of them were. So she had to suffer, for their sake, to help the little lambs sleep happy since they were never as brave as her. She closed her eyes tightly.

When she walked in to the drawing room, Paul had woken from his usual nap and looked lost in thought. She walked to him, frisked his hair lovingly and walked towards the kitchen to make coffee.

“Hey Janice,” the same high pitched voice, so fragile, so incompatible with the man uttering it.” Just a quick question, do you remember the time we went camping, right after our marriage?”

Janice turned around swiftly, before she could catch her thoughts.

“Camping? We’ve never gone camping except once, when Michael was at least ten, remember?”


November 20, 2020 17:14

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Vinci Lam
23:52 Nov 24, 2020

Well done! I really enjoyed this story. The ending stands for itself regardless of the prompt and makes such an impact. Following for hopefully more great stuff!


Sundaran .
06:25 Nov 27, 2020

Wow thanks! First story I wrote here. Really happy that you liked it.


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