“Your future self is watching you right now through your memories.” ~ Aubrey de Grey
“You see it too, dontcha?”
Miriam raced from person to person in the hospital day room, holding up a used lunch napkins by its top two corners.
“It’s right there,” she said, shaking the paper square with righteous indignation if the next person didn’t agree there was an image of Jesus clearly in the food stains.
“I bet she was the kid who saw all the fluffy animals in clouds,” Glenda said, having escaped from Miriam’s histrionics by agreeing with her without comment.
“She’s a regular life of the party during the Rorschach tests,” Carter said, watching Miriam get more frantic as more people refused to see Jesus.
Glenda, a first-time visitor to the medical facility, nervously looked around the room wondering what the other patients were going to do. A deck of cards laid on the table where she and Carter were sitting.
“Blasphemers!” Miriam screamed at the other patients in the room before curling up in a ball in the corner, her precious napkin clutched to her chest.
“Don’t worry,” Carter said, shuffling the deck and handing it to Glenda. “Miriam is the only crazy-crazy person here, the rest of us are just simple-crazy.”
“How can you joke about it?” Glenda said, shaking her head as she dealt each of them 16 cards. “Don’t the other people find that offensive.”
“We have to be able to laugh at ourselves,” Carter said, “it’s the only thing that keeps us sane. If we can joke about it amongst ourselves, it’s not so bad here.”
Glenda laid a single yellow rose on top of Carter’s gravestone. Her shoulders shook as she covered her mouth to hold back the sound threatening to escape.
Her husband, Joe, put a comforting arm around her, pulling her in close. It was only when he looked down to kiss her cheek that he realized she wasn’t crying, but trying to suppress a laugh.
“What’s so funny about a cemetery?” Joe said.
“Oh, I was just remembering that time I visited Carter when he was in the Oakdale Behavioral Hospital.” Glenda put both her arms around Joe’s waist and rested her cheek on his chest. “That time when one of the other patients swore she saw Jesus in a ketchupy napkin. He always had the best stories when he’d come home.”
As they turned to go, Joe grabbed Glenda’s arm, trying to keep her from stepping on top of Carter’s grave.
“I keep forgetting you’re so superstitious,” she said, side-shuffling to stay upright.
‘It’s not just an old wives’ tale,” he said. “It’s just respectful to not walk on someone’s grave.”
“Oooh,” Carter shivered and a made small squeaking noise.
“What was that?” Glenda sat up in her chair, taken aback my Carter’s sudden twitching.
“It’s nothing,” he said. “I just get these little chills sometimes. My gramma used to say when that happened it was someone walking on your grave.”
“That’s not the least bit nuts,” Glenda said, shuffling the cards for another hand of hearts.
“Now, you know where I get it,” Carter said. lining up suits in his hand before laying down the 2 of clubs.