Brain Freeze

brainfreeze-oneBy Lee Ann “Sunny” Brown

I felt the sense of panic set in the moment I saw her standing there. She looked vaguely familiar, but she was still some distance away so I thought I would have enough time to remember who she was by the time I got there. As I got closer and still couldn’t put a name to her face, I started looking for another way out of the store, hoping that she wouldn’t see me seeing her. Unfortunately, she caught my eye and my mind began to reel. It was too late. I was caught.

She began walking toward me with a friendly smile on her face that told me that she knew me—and that I should know her, too. Her warm embrace told me that she was so happy to see me, so I was relieved to think that it must have been a long time since we last saw each other, although her launching right into a conversation indicated that we were close, at one time, anyway. For all I knew she might even be my best friend; I couldn’t remember. Now, I was frantically searching my memory data base for who this woman was.

It was like I was sleep walking. I started to feel dizzy, like I was spinning in some kind of bad game show dream. I could faintly hear her voice coming through in the dense fog of my brain as I desperately went through and ruled out everyone from my immediate family. As she continued to talk excitedly, I nodded my head as I continued searching through distant relatives, neighbors, parents of my children’s friends, but nothing. I kept drawing a blank. “If only my husband was here,” I thought. At least we could bail each other out when we can’t remember someone’s name. I was on my own.

I decided to try and focus all my energy on listening to what she was saying and maybe I could derive a clue from that to trigger her name, or at least some sort of association. I heard her say something that sounded like “Chaley.” “Chaley,” I kept repeating to myself, over and over as she continued to carry on a conversation with me, or rather with herself, because I wasn’t able to contribute anything other than a blank nod.

Nothing she was wearing, or saying, or carrying gave me any clue about where I might know her from. All I could think of was who this person “Chaley” was that she kept talking about. My hands were now sweating and I felt hot. I was so embarrassed. I wanted to ask her her name, but felt like that would be unforgivable. It seemed like this went on for an eternity. Finally, she was hugging me goodbye and I saw her walking away. And, just then, it hit me! I knew exactly who it was, a teacher from high school and the “Chaley” she had been talking about was another teacher, Coach Haley. It all came flooding into my brain with complete clarity! I excitedly called out her name and said “Bye!” again after her but she didn’t seem to hear me. I felt just awful. I can only imagine what she must think of me.

The really unfortunate part of the whole thing is that this is the same teacher in whose class I would fall asleep in every. single. day. since it was right after lunch and that’s always my downtime. My only hope is that she will somehow read this and not think that I never completely woke up from my dream-like state.

Later that evening, when I got home, I proceeded to tell my husband what had happened to me. He didn’t say anything; he just sat there staring at me like I was crazy, and then he told me that he had been standing there the whole time. I now thought he was crazy! But then he began describing the whole story back to me, with every awkward detail.

All I can discern is that in that moment, I was having a Brain Freeze. I absolutely refuse to believe that it has anything to do with aging or the fact that I have a birthday this month. After all, all I tend to be having these days is a meltdown. But then again, it usually is followed by what feels like another ice age. Whatever happened, I have absolutely no recollection of my husband being there during my lapse in memory. Though the bigger question to my mind is why didn’t he help me out?

Maybe moments of forgetfulness are just a natural part of the aging process. I did spend a whole year thinking that I was a year older than I actually was. As my birthday approached, I couldn’t understand how my kids were their ages; it didn’t add up. When I asked my husband about it, he said it was because I wasn’t turning that age, I was turning the age I now thought that I was. It felt like I was being told I was adopted. It took me almost a year to get over it.

Anyway, I am thinking that if I am entering into a new ice age here, I might check on cryogenics; that way, when I come out of it later, I will at least have a reason for my brain freeze. But, then, at what age would I want to have myself preserved? I’m not sure, but I think I might have passed that age already. Or maybe I haven’t reached that age yet. And does age really matter anyway? I’m not so sure that it does. It might or it might not. I just can’t remember. I’m hoping that’s not a bad thing.

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