Flash Fiction 1st place - Ella McDaniel '22

Sometime that morning, they forgot their own name. It wasn’t sudden or anything. It was as simple as forgetting to unload the dishwasher or letting wet clothes sit in the washing machine overnight. Maybe forgetting one’s own name would be startling, but maybe it was for the best. Some things are best meant to be forgotten. They went downstairs, carefully running the pads of their fingers over the textured wood railing, and noted that sensation. They checked the dishwasher: empty. The clothes were folded. Everything was neat, tidy like it was meant to be that way. These things were done with purpose, with resolve. 

It’s okay to forget one’s own name. It might be seen as strange, or seen in someone who has somewhat of an underlying issue, but that can’t always be the case. It can be purposeful, it can be freeing. People leave things they were given over and over in their lives and sometimes with little emotion. Forgetting something doesn’t need to be seen as bad. It’s as simple as leaving one’s reading glasses on the nightstand. When you reach for them, they’re gone. That happens. 

But then they start to notice things, and actually note them. The clothes were folded every morning, the dishwasher was empty, the glasses were left collecting dust on the nightstand. It was all the same. The clothes became bleached by the sun poking through the window and the shadow was etched onto the bed. Dust collected on the fine layers of plates, spoons, bowls. 

Eventually, they pick up the glasses. Not for the reason that they need them to see, but for the reason that the dust had collected and began to keep them up coughing at night. Then, the clothes were strewn on the bed, no care was put into them being folded or washed. Forks clattered together in a wash cycle. They gather the strength to pick up the forgotten keys carelessly thrown near the door. They gather the strength to pick up the lanyard with a forgettable company’s name. There’s a nametag, but the bottom is ripped off.

The power goes out. Appliances click with the sudden change. The forks stop clattering. The clothes are all over the floor. They reach on top of their head for the reading glasses, but only find an almost unnoticeable square of dust.