Spencer loved to garden and do what he called “pulling the magic weeds from the ground.” He loved to garden almost from the time he could walk outside. But, his high society loving parents didn’t think that it was a good idea for their only son to be outside kneeling in muddy dirt and wet grass besides their gardener every day. Spencer on the other hand didn’t mind the getting mud and dirt from the earth on his clothes and occasionally digging up the elusive earthworms. He loved the feeling of how the dirt caressed his little hands while digging in it. But, he also knew that his parents, especially his mother, would not approve of his gardening activities. They were raising him to take over the family business not to be a gardener. He had been told that so many times it rang in his ears for years.
“Spencer Chadworth Quartemain, you get out of that mud right this minute.” His mother bellowed from the top of the stairs leading to the backyard.
Spencer hurried to his feet and wiped his muddy hands on his expensive pair of pants and looked up at his frowning mother with his big green eyes he inherited from her.
“Coming Mother.” Spencer answered.
“Winslow, I will deal with you later. “ His mom yelled at their gardener and friend.
“I’m sorry, Windslow. I didn’t mean to get you in trouble like me.” Spencer said in his little 8 year old voice.
“Don’t worry about me. You better hurry up and get in the house before your mother gets any more upset.” Windslow said as he waved up to Spencer’s mother.
Spencer walked up the stairs with his head hanging down and into the spacious house. His mother pointed for him to go take a shower and give her his muddy clothes. This was a routine he had done many times. Spencer’s mom took his soiled clothes and did what she always did with them. She grabbed a small bag and stuffed them in there and instructed Clariton, their housekeeper, to throw them in the trash.
Spencer grew up into a fine young man. He was the spitting image of his mom. He was tall, had brown curly hair and big green eyes. He had some of her personality and was bold and daring sometimes just like her and very independent like his dad. He graduated from college and the next week started working with his dad in the family business. Over the next 20 years he had sold more houses, more condos, land, buildings, and even a small city to wealthy clients and some who were just trying to live the American dream and buy their first homes. He loved his job and helping people achieve their dreams. But, something was missing in his life. His ultimate dream. He often felt like he was a trained robot. His parents trained him to take over the business, trained him to be successful and trained him to be lonely. And that he was.
The wind of the fall weather blew against Spencer’s cheeks turning them a bright red. He pulled up his coat collar a little tighter to his face and tightened his extra long red and white knitted scarf around his neck. All the fall leaves blew in his path as he walked to the park. The park was his favorite place to go in the Fall. It reminded him of his dad and how they took long Fall walks. It would be just the two of them hand in hand when he was younger walking and talking. When they got to the park his dad would push him on the swings and he would yell to him to push him higher and higher to the clouds.
Spencer sat down on the faded green bench underneath the old Oak tree in the park and sipped on his hot chocolate. Hot chocolate was his favorite drink when he was little with extra whipped cream and tiny colored marshmallows. His dad likes strong hot black coffee. Spencer wanted to try his dad’s coffee but his dad would tell him no that he had to be a kid and he had plenty of time to drink coffee when he got older. It was strictly hot chocolate for Spencer. Even when Spencer got old enough to drink coffee he still preferred hot chocolate with the extra whipped cream. He was just about to leave when he looked up and saw an old friend.
“Winslow? Is that you?” Spencer said, walking towards an older man entering the park.
“Spencer, my goodness. It’s been years since I saw you. The last time was when you were going to college. My goodness.” Winslow said drawing Spencer in for a big bear hug.
Winslow was very much older now as was Spencer. Windslow’s grey hair peeked out from the knitted cap he had on. Spencer guessed that his late wife probably knitted it for him. Winslow put down his walking cane and the two men sat down on that faded green bench. Spencer held Windslow’s hand as they spoke. Winslow reminded him a lot of his dad. Spencer spent just as many hours with Winslow as his dad. Spencer worked right beside him pulling weeds, cutting flowers for the various parties his mom would have and talking about trees and birds in the garden.
“Spencer, what have you been up to all this time?” Winslow asked, looking at Spencer from head to toe.
“Oh just living. You know how I am Windslow.” Spencer replied as he squeezed Windslow’s hand a little tighter.
“I see you still have good taste. Aren’t those $200 shoes on your feet?” Windslow laughed.
“Actually, Winslow, they are $300 but who’s counting?” Spencer laughed with his friend.
“I’m actually glad I ran into you, Winslow. What have you been doing since I last saw you?”
“Well, Spence, I retired from gardening from your parents about two years after you left for college and I opened my own business. I was a florist for the next 20 years and now my granddaughter, Millie, runs the shop with her daughter, Ryan. I have seven grandkids now. Four of them are girls and three are boys. I even have a great grandson on the way. My wife, Lucy passed away about 6 years ago now. I miss her like crazy. You know we were married for 53 years. I never imagined a life without her. I knew her almost all my life. I live with my other granddaughter, Lucy, named after my wife. I have been living with her for a couple of years now. I’m not as young as I used to be and so living with her made sense. Lucy has a 4 year old son and he keeps me young and active. That boy is something else. He reminds me a bit of you when you were that age. He loves to be in the garden too. Now, enough about this old man. What about you? Did you ever marry that girl? What’s her name? Mary something?” Windslow asked.
“No, although, my parents wanted me to and I am sure she did too. I just was not in love with her like you should be before you marry someone. I never got married and never had kids. All I have is my job. Pretty pathetic huh?” Spencer said, holding his head down.
“Not at all. It’s your life and you can make it what you want it to be.” Windslow replied.
“Speaking of that. Do you remember the wish I made before I went to college?”
“Oh you aren’t back to that nonsense wish. I would have thought you would have forgotten all about that by now.” Windslow shook his head.
“No, I haven’t. Remember what you promised to do if I ever wanted that wish to come true?”
“Spencer, that was a long time ago and I hope you came to your senses by now. Why would you want that all these years later?” Windslow asked.
“Winslow, I have never been happy. I have been going through the motions for over 30 years now. I have always done what I thought I was supposed to do. What my parents wanted me to do and never gave it a second thought. I never have until one day I saw my old friend, Artie in this very park. Artie was pushing his son on that very swing over there where my dad used to push me and I thought Wow, Artie has the life I wanted but did not get. But, I still have time to get it. I have time if you help me. Will you help me?”
“Spencer, you know that I would do anything for you. But are you sure that you want this? After we do it there is no turning back. You do realize that right?”
“Yes, Windslow, I do. I have been thinking about this for a long time and I know that this is what I want. No, I know this is what I need.”
“Well, if you are sure about this, meet me back here in a week. I will have everything you need in a week. Meet me here around 6pm. In the meantime I want you to really, really think about this some more. This will change you forever.” Windslow stood up and grabbed his cane and left the park.
A week later Spencer and Windslow were back in the park sitting on the bench. They waited for another person to show up. Windslow’s friend was a little late but he came ten minutes later. His friend carried a big black bag that looked like a doctor’s bag. He sat down next to the men and nodded his head.
“Dr. Henry has perfected this drug. He’s worked on it a long time and once he injects you with it your life will change. You will have no memory of who you are. Are you sure you are ready?” Windslow asked Spencer.
“I am ready. But, right before this happens I need to give you something.” Spencer handed Winslow a manilla envelope.
“What’s this?” Windslow asked.
“It’s all you need. The deed to my house is in there, and the deed to my business and there are some other legal documents that you will need after this is over. I want you to have it. I want you to do whatever you want with it. I would suggest having Martin run my business. Didn’t you tell me that he was in real estate like me and he was good? I think he will benefit from it. My house is yours. You and your granddaughter can live there if you want or you can have Martin sell it. Also there are some stocks in there and you can manage those too. Winslow, I love you very much. Don’t ever forget that. Now, I am ready.”
“Before we do this. Can I ask you why?” Dr. Henry asked.
“Well, because I just want a new life, a new start. I don’t want to remember my old one. I want my old memories to vanish into thin air. I want to make new ones and live the life I was supposed to live and to do it I have to forget about this one entirely. “
“I would say that I understand but I really don’t. But, it is your choice. Are you ready?” Dr. Henry asked one more time.
“I am.” Spencer said and then it was done.
Spencer did go on to live the life he wanted, a new life. But, he didn’t know one thing. Winslow didn’t tell Spencer that his vanishing memory would not last forever. Gradually over time he would get bits and pieces of it back and remember the happy times. But, for now he would be happy with the new memories he would make.