Gradually he came to understand that the war had ended. He was missing several years of his memory. Somehow he’d been on leave in California and now he was in Utah and years had passed. Kate brought his picture ID from work. It showed his picture and underneath had the name Angus MacIntosh. She showed him a marriage certificate and birth certificate for Angus junior.
He could see that Kate thought she was married to him and even had evidence to support her claim. On the other hand, he didn’t believe her. He didn’t remember any of it and wondered how such an elaborate ruse had been orchestrated and why anyone would go to so much trouble.
They tried to find his family. His parents had been killed, he explained. He had no brothers or sisters. Kate seemed to be the only family he had. The psychologists determined he really did have amnesia and based on mental disability and his contributions during battle, would be given an honorable discharge from the army. No charges would be pressed for his desertion because it was deemed he had left the base under mental duress. He was released from the hospital into Kate’s care. She drove him to a little house on a shabby street he didn’t recognize. A neighbor was there, holding a baby and looking at him curiously. Kate thanked the neighbor and held the baby in front of Les. “It’s our son,” she said.
Les looked at this boy. He had no recognition of ever seeing him before. The baby seemed to recognize him though. The boy broke into a grin and dimples creased his face. Tears filled Les’s eyes. They were dimples identical to his own and his mother’s.
Could this be his son?
“I think I need to go lay down,” Les said. Kate nodded. Les contemplated the narrow hall with three closed doors. “Which room?” Les asked.
“The second door,” Kate said, “is our bedroom.”
Our bedroom. Les shook his head in dismay. He walked into the room that he didn’t remember in the least. There was a double bed, neatly covered with a pale yellow blanket. There was a chipped vase on what appeared to be a second hand dresser. Les lay on the bed and stared at the ceiling. He decided the only thing he could do was leave. He didn’t want to stay here with this strange woman and her baby that looked alarmingly like him. He couldn’t just take up some life that he didn’t belong in. Les hoisted himself up off the bed and walked toward the closet. He opened the door and a familiar scent wafted over him. Hung neatly on hangers were a few shirts and a few dresses. They were a man and woman’s clothes, hung side by side. Les ran his hand across the fabrics. He felt the rough cotton of work shirts and the smooth flowing material of the dresses.
They seemed a little familiar.
There was a small cardboard box on the top shelf of the closet. He pulled it down and set it on the bed. He opened the box and again, found a familiar scent. It was baby powder and something else he couldn’t name but was familiar. Inside was a tiny blue knit sweater, some tiny booties, a baby bonnet. A rattle. These were Angus’s things. Angus, his son. There was a picture of Kate and him, holding a baby, it was Angus.
“Kate!” he called, “Kate!”
She ran into the room and he met her at the bedroom door. He wrapped his arms around her and she fit perfectly into his embrace.
“Kate,” he whispered into her hair.
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