The next morning Billy woke and showered. It was near nine when he checked out of the motel and had breakfast at a restaurant a mile away. He got back in the car and phoned Burton.
“Hello,” Burton said.
“Wilson or Billy,” Billy said.
Burton chuckled, “Funny.”
“Did you find the information?”
“Yes,” Burton said. “It’s merely an address on a piece of paper with the name Lydia Smith. Does that name ring a bell?”
“Not right now,” Billy said. “So what’s the address.”
“Do you have a pen and paper to jot it down?”
“Yes,” Billy said. “Go ahead.”
“2021 W. 52nd Street, Los Angles,” Burton said. “Do you have it?”
“Yeah,” Billy said finishing the note. “Thanks.”
“Good luck, Wilson,” Burton said. “If I can help…”
“You’ve done much already,” Billy said. “If the Army had their way I’d probably just be getting out of jail.”
“That’s if you were lucky,” Burton said. “They wanted to execute you. Every war has to have examples to keep everyone in line.”
“On that happy note…” Billy said.
“Goodbye,” Burton said.
“Goodbye, Burton,” Billy said.
Billy had little idea what he might find on West 52nd Street, a house, a bar, or vacant lot; he simply had no clue. He tried to conjure some sort of memory, there was nothing, but some memories appeared like snapshots of a stranger’s family tossed on a table in front of him and someone standing back to wait for a reaction or comment.
His mental snapshots were from the time he was in the Army and until the present. He could not remember how he got from Atlanta to Des Moines. He didn’t remember working at Tirerama or cleaning at the bar the first time. That was still a mystery and a little concern.
Billy began to assess all his feeling he had during the times he could recall and came to grips with a realization that he always knew there was a gap in his life. As Charles he always knew there was nothing he could remember from suddenly being among strangers in Fargo and just moving forward and pretending to be someone.
He drifted for a couple of months until he came to Atlanta and found success. With the success came emotional security, but something happened. Billy could not remember what it was, but he knew it had to be life altering.
He sensed a pattern when tragedy strikes, he protects himself by forgetting.
“It’s time to stop running,” Billy said. “I must face whatever it is I’m afraid of. I’ve made it this far. What ever I’m afraid to remember it hasn’t killed me.”
The mile markers on the highway slowly passed by. “I’d like to have a memory for each marker,” Billy mused.