Your Heart Would Remember (Short Story for Rhino Writing Contest #3)

A short story in a world without a past... Story about lost memories, family and fulfilling purpose.

Global Amnesia.jpg

Global Amnesia: Your Heart Would Remember

by: ahmad al-hemmally (ahmadmanga)

“ُEverything has a purpose.” I talked to the calendar as if it could hear. “Even you are still here for a reason...”

“Can’t believe it’s tomorrow already...” I red-marked the twelfth of December. “The first anniversary of the adversity. And I still haven’t fulfilled my purpose.”

I heard knock at the door so I took the calendar away. “Come in.”

My so-called mother breaks into the room. “Happy holiday Harris! Here, I made your favorite cakes.”

Why did she think this is my favorite?

“Ah, why do you keep the windows shut?” she looked to the window. “It’s a lovely weather.”

How could the weather be ‘lovely’ when I could hear the rain outside?

I stared at the cakes reluctantly, asking myself again if she’s my real mother. I don’t remember liking sweet stuff. Then again I don’t remember anything.

One year ago, everyone on the planet lost their memory at the same time. It was called ‘The global amnesia’ But people here just refer to it as ‘the adversity.’

“Hey Harris… Don’t you want a cookie?” She smiled, but I sensed the doubt behind that smile. “Didn’t you like them before?”

How can she know that? Ever since the adversity you can’t be sure of anything about ‘before’.

“Can’t we stop the act?” I pushed the cake a bit away. “We don’t know for sure if we’re really a family.”

“I know…” She paused. “But what can we do? I searched a lot, then finally found you. you’re Harris… you must be my Harris!”

“I can imagine how hard it is for you…” I casted my eyes downward. “But the adversity is hard for everyone. Especially those who don’t even know what their purpose means.”

Her smile died at that.

The purpose… What did that word mean to me before the adversity? I don’t know. But for the current me it means everything.

On the day of the adversity, people couldn’t be sure about their identities, as if everything related to that had disappeared along with the memories. And the world was stuck in a state of panic.

Who I am? What I’m doing here? Meeting internet friends? What’s internet? I felt like knowing the information one moment, and in the next it suddenly disappeared.

Instead of memories, every single person had this thing. “The purpose.” A remnant from the past. Something they felt they needed to do.

“Finding your son Harris.” I finally stood up. “That was your purpose Ellis.”

“Yeah,” She flinched as I called her with her given name but her smile returned. “I finally found you, and that’s what matters.”

“Since your ‘purpose’ stopped nagging you when you saw me, though, it means I’m your son.” That was the most logical explanation. “But I can’t accept it yet.”

“Harris…” she paused. “You’ll eventually find her, like I found you.”

“But I don’t even know who she is to me!” I clenched my fists. “You’ll never understand what it feels like. To be linked to a person you don’t know what your relationship with is?”

My ‘purpose’ told me to find a girl… that her name was in my house somewhere.

“When the adversity started I was wandering on some street. I lost ‘who I am’ and ‘where I belong’.” I sighed. “But then someone started to organize people. A leader who saved us from that chaos and gave everyone a place to stay.”

“That happened here too...” Mrs. Ellis moved toward me. “I panicked… looking for my son, but I never knew if I had a husband. Mr. Noah helped me to find you in another city.”

“I was searching for my house. If this woman is my mother then the name of the girl would be in here.” I repeated what I thought that day. “But I never had a clue! I fruitlessly searched all over the house… Do you understand my disappointment now? The only thing here related to the past was this calendar.”

“The calendar?” Mother-- Ellis followed my gaze to find the schedule on the table and her eyes widened. “Wh-- what about it?”

“The day before the adversity was marked red, with the name of the street I was in. But that’s all… Since I was there at the time, it can work as evidence that we’re related. But it doesn’t tell me anything about the girl--”

“Do you know about the picture?” Ellis got too close.

“A picture?”

“It was right here.” She flipped through the calendar pages. “A picture out of place but I felt-- knew it was yours.”

“But…” The adversity took all the pictures we could know our identities with. “You know if we looked at a photo we’d only recognise ourselves in it right? Any other person would appear featureless. How did you know it was mine?”

“It’s not a photo but a childish drawing.” She smiled. “So lovely….Ah! wait a bit I’ll bring it here.”

She left the room. “A drawing! How did she know it was mine?”

I stared at the cake as I waited for her… I didn’t like the sweet stuff but Ellis took care to make it so I decided to eat.

I sighed as I heard the rain outside getting stronger. “What a lovely weather...”

“Baaack! I kept it inside my treasure chest so it took a while to take out.” Ellis broke into my room again holding a scrap of paper. “Look… Your mind probably won’t remember, but your heart would. I know it!”

“I said I might not be your son!” I took the scrap of paper and looked at it. “Just don’t--”

In the drawing was a smiling family… a young boy and his parents with a celebration cake on the table... Clearly the work of a child.

The mother looked a bit like Ellis… But that’s obvious, this was found in her house. It shouldn’t have any relation to me but…

“‘Happy Birthday Mom’, from Harris.” It could be any other Harris, my mind said… but…

Her name is in my house, somewhere.

The silent voice in my mind… My purpose… stopped.

“Mom…?” I slowly lift up my eyes to stare at her.

“D- did you just call me your mom?” she smiled weakly, like she wanted to believe, but didn’t want to get her hopes up.

“Mother!” Being at loss of words, I hugged her.

“I waited for you…” She hugged me back. “I waited for you to say these words to me.”

She held me so tight I could barely breathe. But I didn’t mind. I might be doing the same to her.

“Mom.” before it felt awkward to call her by that, but now I can’t even think of using her given name. “I’ve missed you.”

I didn’t know I missed her until now.

Now I know why she was so sure I’m her son… As soon as I saw the picture I knew this woman is my mother. There doesn’t need to be any logical explanation for this. The thing I was searching for wasn’t really a name but something close enough.

“But even though I know you’re my mother now,” I cried. “I still have no memories of you.”

“Don’t be sad, Harris.” I knew through her tears that she felt the same. “We'll just make new ones together.”

After a while she sat up. Still in tears, she gave me her biggest smile. “Welcome home Harris.”

I looked at her then at the picture. I didn’t remember drawing this, but I knew I was the one who drew it.

My smile vanished as I noticed something.

“Mom… There’s another person in the picture.” I handed her the picture. “Want to search for my father?”

“Now in this rain?” she wiped her tears and looked at the window.

“We can wait but...” I looked at the raindrops on the window’s glass. “It’s a lovely weather.”

[The End?]

Author Note:

I hope I made the reunion dramatic enough.

There are too many plot holes in this but the core story is there somehow… and if I could convey the feeling of the characters then it’s all what I wanted. According to my friends at the fiction-workshop, it seems I couldn't make the setting as immersive as it should be... But If I wrote another story in this world I'll try to fix that.

I'm entering this story is for @carolkean contest promot: "His name is in my house, on a hard drive, somewhere" as I decided midway to write it for the contest, the funny thing is that I didn't have to change anythi-- well, just some rewords.

For the prompt, I changed the name to PICTURE while still making the character think he searches for a name...

Special Thanks

To everyone in Discord's Writer Block. This story is edited with their "Fiction-workshop" help, thanks a lot to @carolkean who started the contest and helped to improve my work in it, and also @tinypaleokitchen and @jayna who helped me in this particular work.

And finally you, the reader...

I Appreciate All the Comments and I Love to Discuss Things with my Readers, Please Tell me Anything in Your Mind on This Story.

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