There were times during the cab ride to his home he pondered the idea of just telling the driver to pull over and let him out. But it was raining.
There was the drive on the freeway. Everything form the cab looked the same. He read exit ramps, billboards, business names hoping for a clue or some small spark that might ignite a firestorm of memories; something that might make him whole again, something that he could anchor his soul to.
There was a turn onto a boulevard lined with businesses. He thought that he may have patronized one of them. He wondered if he walked into one someone might say, “Hey, Chuck, where the heck have you been. We haven’t seen you in awhile.” Suddenly he would instantly gain his memory. “Hey, Pete, I had to take care of some pressing problems and when I was in town I didn’t have time to come around, but now that’s over with I’m here to stay.”
“I’m here to stay,” echoed in his head. “I’m not sure that will be so,” he thought. “I may come into a hostile situation. Maybe my wife has moved on and another man has moved in. Really couldn’t blame her. For all she knows I may be dead. Is this the best way to come back? What other way is there?”
“Maybe I ran off with my secretary or a neighbor’s wife,” he thought. “What ever she dishes out I’m going to have to take. For all she knows I must have hated her or my life; so much that I left without telling her. It’s the ultimate betrayal.”
There were a couple more turns and the homes became larger and the grounds more specious. “I must be some rich guy,” he thought. “I wonder how rich I am. I hope I don’t owe anybody. Maybe that’s why I left, I owed the wrong people.”
“What if my wife no longer lives there,” he thought. “What if the private detective Mrs. Bradford hired didn’t bother to check that out.”
It was a good neighborhood; Large brick homes with circular driveways; new money not old money like Mrs. Bradford’s home and neighborhood. And there it was, a majestic home tucked away in a cul de sac just a little better than the rest.
“Is this the place,” the cab driver said.
“Yes,” Charles said.
“Do you want me to wait,” the cab driver said.
“No,” Charles said and handed the driver two twenties.
Charles got out of the cab with his bag in hand and walked on the porch. He slowly brought his index finger to the doorbell. He hesitated and walked to the edge of the porch and was about to walk down the steps and into the rain. He drew a deep breath, turned around, and approached the door again. This time his finger struck quickly. It was a soft chime, unusual. It had a sensation of familiarity. It relaxed him, but it lasted no longer than the footsteps he heard approaching the door and the sight of the doorknob turning. He wanted to run.