The first day my husband had no idea who I was stands out among my memories in sharp, clear focus amid the dimming events of my life. The smoke alarm woke me up. I reached for Kevin’s body beside me. My hand met cold, empty sheets. Surging adrenalin slapped me awake as I leapt for the kitchen. I ignored the scent of burning bacon and frantically called Kevin’s name.
He didn’t answer.
When I reached the kitchen, I found flames dancing across the stove and up the wall behind it, but Kevin wasn’t there. Thankful that he wasn’t in immediate danger, I grabbed a towel and started beating at the flames. I felt as if I moved in slow motion as my muscles ached and resisted the cry of my brain to hurry, hurry, hurry. I found a cookie sheet to set on top of the flaming frying pan. With the main part of the fire extinguished. I managed to beat out the few bits of flaming grease that remained. I spared a brief glance for my smoke-filled kitchen before I started a serious search for Kevin.
My search-for-Kevin-routine started with the biggest potential disaster first. Barefoot, in my pajamas I took my pounding heart to the garage—no car. I spun in a frantic circle and sped out the open garage door. The car sat crashed halfway through the front gate with the engine still running.
When I reached the car, I found Kevin still behind the steering wheel with his seatbelt fastened. The airbag had deployed. Poor Kevin sat there staring straight ahead with his face white and slack, showing no emotion.
I pushed the remains of the airbag out of his face and reached across him to turn the key in the ignition before I felt for the release of his seatbelt. “Come Dearest, let me help you,” I crooned, keeping my voice soft and reassuring through the tightness in my throat. “Let’s go back to the house and I’ll take care of the car in a minute. You will get cold if you stay here.”
He jerked and sat up straight. “You hit me! Get away from me! I’ll hit you if you hit me again!”
I recoiled. “I’m not going to hit you.” I wondered if Kevin had been hurt by the airbag. All I needed was for him to get bruises. “Please Dearest, let me help you into the house.”
“I’m not going anywhere with you. I have an appointment for the Hudson Bay account.”
I knew he referred to a client case from when he first started work as an accountant almost fifty years ago. “Honey, you can’t meet with a client in your pajamas.”
He looked down at himself and smiled sheepishly. “Oh yeah, I better get dressed.” He got out of the car and wandered back toward the house.