The next morning Wilson woke to the sound of a 7:00 AM alarm. He dressed and went to the garage and opened the door quietly. On a shelf to the right shelves lined the wall. On one shelf was a tool box. Wilson lifted it by the handle.
He walked down to room 6, turned the door knob, and walked in. He opened the desk drawer. Inside was a new door knob still in the package. He removed the old one and installed the new on. He shut the door to see if the new knob worked. He stood outside and locked and unlocked the doorknob.
“You remembered,” Candice said standing behind him.
“Yeah,” Wilson said, “I never thought it would be so hard.”
“It’s tough enough just remembering the everyday things of life that you forget day to day,” Candice said.
“I was talking about installing the new doorknob,” Wilson said. “I thought it would be easy.”
“Oh,” Candice said.
“It looks like this place could use some repairs,” Wilson said. “Could you use a handy man for a while? I got experience.”
“You got some places to go,” Candice said, “and it’s more important than some leaky faucets, busted doorknobs, and paint.”
“If your son was here, he’d be doing it for you,” Wilson said. “This country took your son and never gave him back. It’s strange how the dead are honored, but not the living of the dead. They are the ones who suffer. They relive that death every time they look at a photograph, hear a special song, or smell a certain fragrance. Only death will take away the pain.”
“You don’t have to stay,” Candice said.
“Yeah,” Wilson said, “I do.”
Wilson stayed for two weeks. The motel slowly took on a revitalized appearance. As Candice remarked, “It looks like it did the day we bought it.”
It was a cool morning. A gusty wind from the west blew rain against Wilson’s room. Before sun up he slipped on his cloths, wrote a note, and let it lay on the desk.
I just can’t bring my self to say goodbye. This past two weeks have been a wonderful time for me. I don’t know if I will ever be able to retrieve my memory. It saddens me that I can’t remember our first meeting. It must have been special for me to return without knowing why. I will return.
He grabbed a suitcase and bag and slipped out the door and into the cold rain. He slowly lifted the garage door. He backed the car out and slowly closed the door. He paused for a moment. “I think she would want it this way too,” he said. “She knows I’ll be back.”
Five minutes later he drove through a small Nebraska town that had not yet escaped from its slumber. Wilson was on his way with a few fond memories. “If only I could remember the first time.”