300-word story: A brain embolism leads to a very strange epiphany.
They say that your life flashes before your eyes when you die, but there was one woman who didn't have to wait that long.
At the age of eighty-eight, Maureen Ellison experienced a brain embolism. Despite her advanced years, this didn't prove fatal; instead, it caused her to forget everything that had happened since shortly after her eighth birthday.
If anyone had witnessed this bizarre event, they would have seen an elderly woman quietly doing a crossword burst into high-pitched whimpers. It wasn't that she was acting like a child, she actually was a child; a young girl had been exploring an atlas recently received as a gift, only to suddenly find herself in strange surroundings. But before she was able to cry out for her mother, another segment of life returned without warning.
Maureen could now remember everything up to the age of eighteen. She had been fetching some paperwork for her boss and then – PING! – here she was, in a room she didn't recognise with the biggest television she had ever seen.
The process occurred seven more times, with ten-year chunks of memory snapping back in an instant. With each one, Maureen incrementally progressed from adventurous youth to various stages of a humdrum adulthood until she was back to normal. Looking in the mirror, she was met by the familiar wrinkles of an old woman unexpectedly reminded of how little she had accomplished. It was a sobering epiphany indeed.
So, at the age of eighty-eight, Maureen Ellison did something she should have done a lifetime ago. Packing a bag, she abandoned her home and headed for the airport. All those years had been wasted but it wasn't too late: she was going to make that young girl proud, even if it was the last thing she ever did.
Copyright © 2020 Rich Sutherland
Image: Armin Lotfi