Most people would walk straight by without knowing it was even there. Mr Kenningway’s antique bookstore cowered down a dank, musty alley off Farrendale Avenue. It was the kind of spot more likely to attract passing rats than customers. However, if you needed to, you’d find it. Just as I did on that Christmas Eve 20 years past.
I’d been told about Kenningways and it sounded ideal. It was. Within minutes I’d found the book I wanted: “Chess Classics by Bobby Fischer”. Father was terrible at Chess but liked to read about people who weren’t. Mr Kenningway was a charming old man. He seemed to have read every book in the shop. When I’d drop by we’d talk about old times. His old times. It was a pleasure to share them.
I moved away from town. College, marriage, job, children. The usual things. I couldn’t have been happier. However, I often wondered if it was still there. If he was still there. They both were. Mr Kenningway looked old. He said I did too! We laughed. I soon started to make regular trips back to town and always stopped at the bookstore. One day I noticed it. He appeared frustrated. Cranky. I’d never known Mr Kenningway to fly off the handle before. However, he seemed confused. He couldn’t find things which were only a few feet away. He complained his memory wasn’t what it was.
That was three years ago. I still visit him. He’s living in the sheltered housing units where the old railway sidings used to be. Whenever I walk in he always looks up. He recognises the face, he just can’t remember the name. Some days I’m his nephew, the next his grandson. I don’t mind. It’s too late and too complicated to explain. As long as we continue to have our moments together, looking at his old photos, remembering the old days I can be whoever he wants me to be. I’m there for him, that’s all that matters.
These 333 words are my entry into the Trifecta Week 85 writing challenge.
This story is dedicated to the ongoing research into the cruelest trick life can play on an active mind.
For more on the above early signs of Alzheimer’s please look here.