The forgetful man’s…

Yes. He had some interesting tales to tell, but not once did I get to hear the entirety of any of them. It was so frustrating, weird even. He never managed to finish. I learnt later he had some little-known affliction. Absences, frequent absences. There were moments when he simply wasn’t there. I know. It’s difficult to imagine. His eyes would go blank, he’d stare off into the distance and no amount of shaking or calling his name would bring him back. Then, just as abruptly, he’d return, continuing the sentence he’d left unfinished, or replying to some long-forgotten question. You’d be surprised how many people suffer from a similar condition, albeit more mildly. No. There’s no known remedy. He couldn’t work. Of course. His absences made him unemployable. He survived on a small stipend from the State. Luckily he’d inherited a bungalow with a vegetable patch, although he invariably forgot to tend it. In the ever shorter moments he was not absent you’d be forgiven for thinking him normal. His main enemy was not his absences, though, but boredom. Inaction was driving him nuts he told me. That’s why he began writing a novel entitled “The forgetful man’s…” He laboured hours over it. Did I ever get to read it? Not at first. He was very hesitant about letting anyone see his work. Embarrassed I guess, as if he sensed there was something wrong with both it and him. I pestered him until he finally showed me a couple of pages. It was really strange. All full of blank spaces as if the page was peppered with holes. Reading it, I got the strange impression that if I looked too long I’d get sucked into a hole and never climb out. I suspect that’s what happened to him. One day he disappeared and was never seen nor heard of again. No. He never finished…

(320 words)

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