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We Can Forget It For You

by Jeremiah Tolbert

My father came home from the war with a hole in his head, but not the kind that you can see. After his four years of touring, he opted for a wipe. There’s a big blank space where memories of the war should be.

“I knew guys who didn’t take a wipe. Half of them killed themselves. The rest are screwed up in ways you can’t imagine. Me, I can sleep at night. I sleep just fine,” he said often. He talked about his wipe every couple of days like that. I wasn’t sure how much of it was true, because of the crying.

One night, I heard a sound coming from his room. It sounded like crying, sobbing. I had never heard an adult make that sound. I tried to open the door, but it was locked as always. I asked my father about it at breakfast. He stared at me and then said quietly that he didn’t remember anything about it. Then he told me to get ready for school.

I think it was the crying that drove Mom away.

I worry that the hole in his head is growing. He’s already forgotten Mom. She writes me sometimes, but he never asks about her. She’s fallen into the hole, just like those four years.

Some day, will I fall into the hole too?

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