Laurenby Charles Rammelkamp
Was her name Lorraine, Hausman wondered. Leonora? Lenore? Like Poe, “The Raven.” But no, he’d know, he’d remember if it were Lenore. The lifeguard at the pool where he swam every morning, a pretty blond girl. It helped to know people’s names, as if you actually knew them; it established a connection.
Lauren, that was it. Now if only he could hang onto it. Christ, but memory was unreliable. Where are my keys? Where are my glasses? Where did I put my book? Lauren. Maybe he should write it down. Lauren, Lauren, Lauren...
Hausman worried about his memory. It wasn’t Alzheimer’s but it was more than “senior moments,” though he supposed age brought in the doubt factor, or the age factor enhanced the doubt. Did he ever have much of a memory, after all? How they all oooed and ahhhed at Paul Homestead with the photographic memory, who could regurgitate words for multiple choice tests in school, like some Ripley’s Believe It or Not! freak, and Hausman still chuckled when he thought of that old New Yorker cartoon of the glum fellow at the bar, the bartender whispering knowingly to another patron, “He’s blessed with total recall.”
But maybe he should cut down on the alcohol, come to think of it. Maybe that affected memory more than Hausman was generally willing to concede. Not that he was a heavy drinker, just beer and wine, and not in great amounts, though sometimes he could drink a whole package of beer in an evening, and without really even enjoying the last few, but simply behaving as he had in college, as a young man in college.
Hausman used to save letters people had written to him – family, friends – until he realized they were taking up so much space, and they could only take up more if he kept hoarding them. So he’d stopped. But memory was like that, he reflected. It just kept swelling up and swelling up until finally it spilled over and the colors ran together. Lorraine, Eleanor, Lenore. Quoth the Raven.
God, what was that girl’s name again? The lifeguard?