The Soupster contemplates losing (and finding).
The Soupster stopped holding his breath when he finally heard the voice on the other end of the line. The gravelly tones belonged to his childhood chum and second cousin twice-removed, Arturo “Mike” Mikelson. The two men had not had a good gab fest in a couple of years or more.
Mike had bought some land in Arkansas, near the Missouri border, in the early aughts, thereby exercising the limits of the Soupster’s ability to keep track of him.
“Mike, how are you doing?” the Soupster just kept himself from shouting.
“Well, getting’ older, like we all are. I am lucky, I guess, nothing in particular to complain of – regarding my physical health, that is.”
“But…?” asked the Soupster.
“But, cuz, I’ve got to say… I’m getting a little concerned about my memory and losing things.”
“Do you remember when we were kids and used to have adventures in the empty lots and furthest reaches of the overgrown back yard?
“Oh, my yes,” said Mike. “My favorite memory is being in the playhouse and setting up those scenes with the little figures.”
“What kinds of things are you forgetting, Mike?”
“Well, it’s stuff like where I put something or what I said five minutes ago.”
The Soupster thought for a moment. “It must have been hard, losing Joseph,” he finally said. “How long has it been now since he passed?”
“Seven years,” said Mike.
“And you had been together since when? For ages, hmmnnn?”
“We met at the San Francisco Pride march in 1978,” said Mike softly. “And we never looked back. In ’79, we walked out for Halloween dressed as our cats, René and Aimée. The boy had a tuxedo and the girl was a mostly white Calico. I still talk to Joseph every day,” he admitted, even more softly.
The Soupster was silent. Then he said, “What about this memory thing, Mike? It’s just minor stuff, right?”
“Oh, yeah, it’s like – where did I leave my notebook? And it’s not like I haven’t been doing it for years – in one way or another. There was that time I bought the two plaid mail order shirts for Joseph and lost them for six months between the washer and the dryer. The most recent example is a Netflix DVD that I just found after a year. You know, the familiar red envelope?”
“What movie was it?” asked the Soupster.
“The Bridge on the River Kwai.”
“I remember that one,” said the Soupster. Sir Alec builds a railroad bridge in Southeast Asia – to appease his Japanese counterpart, Sessue Hayakawa. And William Holden blows it up. Peppy song, though.”
“Well, I think the song’s what most folks remember, in the U.S. anyway.”
“We just had a local guy speak who had visited – Thailand, maybe, and former-Burma, around where the real railroad bridge was – about 10 years ago as a college student. He told all about the building of the railroad, and how sad it was – hundreds of thousands of people died in the building of that railroad.”
“Well, cuz” said Mike, “I guess maybe how you remember something depends on your point-of-view.”