I can’t remember all the details of the movie—it was Patty’s birthday and we had all drunk a little more than usual—mostly because Patty decided to treat us and I felt like celebrating. But, the main story was, Channing Tatum’s wife was in a car accident and after she wakes up from a coma, she can’t remember the last five or six years of her life. Too bad for her, those years included her meeting and marrying the man of her dreams. They tried to make a go of it, but she reverted back to who she was when her memory stopped and she throws her husband over for a go with her old fiancé. She kind of comes around in the end, but not before dropping Channing, and all his muscled goodness, cold for a while.
But it got me thinking as I climbed into bed with Jerry that night. I tried to spoon up behind him, but he scrunched farther over to the side, springs squeaking in protest. He also stole most of the blankets with him. I rolled out of the valley that Jerry’s bulk had left in the middle of our tired mattress. Cue an audible sigh here. What had my life disintegrated into these last years? What had I wanted twenty years ago? If I woke up in the morning and discovered this life I was leading was the life I had suddenly been dropped into, would I still want it?
I’d known a couple years into the marriage that Jerry was kind of a bust. The one time he ever really stood up to his mother was when he married me. She still held him under her thumb. He didn’t have many interests beyond channel surfing and mindless eating. Along the way he’d dropped the activities that we used to do together—the bowling league and the home brewing, for example. We’d had two kids, but I liked the idea of them more than the reality. Hermie was 19 and had graduated by the skin of his teeth. There was no way he was going to college on his grades. I’d tried to set up an apprenticeship with my brother, the construction manager, but Hermie refused to go and now inhabited our basement like a phantom doing who knows what on his computer day and night. Trisha was 17 and we fought constantly. Afterward, she’d turn around and moan about me to all her friends on her Twitter and Facebook accounts. She’d always worn me out, even as a baby. I was her mother, but I had to admit that she wasn’t very likable.
I was not leading a particularly happy existence.
The next day after the movie, I stopped by the library on the way home from work and googled “how to fake amnesia.” It was kind of a lark, but I didn’t want the search to show up on any of my devices just in case I ever decided to go through with it.
If Channing’s wife could brush off her current life (which looked pretty amazing to me) on account of her amnesia, then surely fake amnesia would allow me to withdraw more or less gracefully from my life. Because even though I didn’t really like any of my family currently, I still mostly loved them and didn’t want to hurt them. Amnesia seemed a pretty good excuse to start over without explicitly saying, “I hate my life and you. I want to start over.” Who knows—if I did fake amnesia—maybe I could even have a fake breakthrough and come back to my life after an extended breath of fresh air.
The fake amnesia idea remained just a seed for over a year until my family decided to fertilize it with a whole bunch of their crap last spring.
Check back tomorrow to see what kind of crazy she has to deal with in her family!