We looked like any other couple
walking along the boardwalk.
He bought me a bag of cotton candy,
showed me how to eat it.
I tore off a small piece of pink sugary fluff
and let it melt on my tongue.
He chuckled a little
when I stuck my tongue out in shock.
A totally new sensation
but faintly familiar.
It tasted good
but too sweet,
but I wanted more.
We sat on a bench as we ate.
He smiled at me.
His hand reached for my hand
Then his smile disappeared.
I was sorry that I disappointed him,
but he was a stranger to me.
I had been handed a ring by a nurse
in the hospital.
She said, "Go ahead, put it on, it’s yours."
It fit my left ring finger perfectly.
“It looks like a wedding ring,” I told her,
and she gave me a funny look.
“Of course it’s a wedding ring, silly!
It’s your wedding ring!”
My widened eyes and gaping mouth
told her that my marriage
had also been erased in the crash.
She exited the room hurriedly.
I lay in bed when he tentatively walked in.
He had been warned that I wouldn’t remember.
I bit my lower lip.
There were lots of things I remembered,
like how to do laundry
and how to cook spaghetti
and the main characters on Friends.
But I had only brief flashes of memory
of my whole life before that moment.
Thirty-seven years mostly gone.
And this man they kept saying was my “HUS-BAND”
very slowly and loudly
(as if that would help me remember),
I was certain I had never before seen him in my life.
It was like that one TV show…
It was old and creepy…I can’t remember the name.
But you would be in the middle
of a strange, alien moment in real life,
and you would think, “This is just like that show!”
Anyway, I’m sorry.
It would be better if I knew the name.
I was scared this man would treat me like he owned me,
that I’d have to live in his house and sleep with him
and stare at photographs of us,
my smiling face staring back at me,
mocking my current confusion.
He immediately grabbed my hand,
and I fearfully pulled it away.
Then I think he really understood
what before he had refused to believe.
“It’s okay,” he lied.
“We can just take it slow.”
So here we are,
walking on the boardwalk.
It’s a nice day.
Sunshine with a breeze off the ocean.
Seagulls stealing French fries from stunned children.
Screams from the roller coaster.
Bored teenagers selling worthless trinkets as their summer job.
And my husband,
still handsome, tall and tan with strong arms,
walking with a woman who doesn’t know how to read anymore.
I wear a headscarf to cover the scar.
He’s very polite and courteous.
My mom said it was like when we were first dating as teenagers,
and I take her word for it.
We finish the cotton candy,
and I decide to be a good sport
and take his hand as we walk on.