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“What day is it?”

“It’s Thursday. January 4.”

“I don’t remember New Year’s.”

“We stayed at my place and watched 5 episodes of The Wire in a row. You’ll remember it again.”

“We did?? I can’t believe I don’t remember that. I guess that does sound like us.”

“It does!”

“So—I know this sounds so dumb—why am I in the hospital?”

“You called me from your apartment while you were getting ready for work because you couldn’t remember what day it was. I went over to pick you up, and you just seemed really confused. So I brought you here. They said you have something called transient global amnesia.”

“What? Amnesia? Are you serious?”

“No—I mean yes, I’m serious, but it’s okay. It could go away any second; it only lasts 24 hours at the most. It’s totally random. We’ve had this same conversation over and over for the past 4 hours!”

“Really? I am so sorry!”

“No, it’s kind of funny! You can’t help it. I just wish you remembered this so we could laugh about it later!”

“That’s so weird…what day is it? I can’t remember what day it is.”

I’m 14, standing in the doorway of my house with the boy I like. His shirt is buttoned wrong. I tell him. He looks embarrassed but doesn’t fix it right away. I guess because I’m standing right there.

I let it go quiet, which I never do. I look straight at him, which I also never do. There’s a moment, I can feel it, but he just makes a face and says, “What?”

I’m 23, home for Christmas. Mom has a new boyfriend. I’m sitting on the back porch, bracing myself for him to get here for dinner. It’s weirdly humid for December.

I see Mom walk into her bedroom through the open window next to me. She doesn’t see me at first, begins to make tiny adjustments to her dress, her hair, in the mirror. She looks calm in a way I have never seen her. I hold my breath, trying to be so quiet so I don’t break it.

She sees me and gives a startled shout.

I’m 30, in the hospital. I’m in the hospital? I’m totally blanking. Where am I supposed to be today?

“What day is it?”

“It’s Thursday. January 4.”

This is so strange. I feel like I knew that, it was right on the tip of my tongue, but it doesn’t seem right. I don’t remember New Year’s.

“I don’t remember New Year’s.”

He tells me we stayed home and watched The Wire. I still don’t remember. What episode are we on? I’m going to have to watch them over again. I wonder if he could tell I wasn’t paying attention? Did I fall asleep?

“This is such a stupid question, but why am I in the hospital? I’m so confused!”

He doesn’t seem surprised I’m asking this. He’s telling me I have amnesia. He’s joking. That only happens to people on Days of our Lives. But he seems serious. He’s serious?

“No, it’s okay, don’t worry. It goes away within 24 hours and it’s already been 6. They don’t know why it happens, but it’s totally temporary. You’ll remember everything again.”

So what’s been going on for the past 6 hours?

“We’ve been having this same conversation over and over.”

He’s going to break up with me.

“No, you can’t help it! Sometimes you mix it up a little too. You’re keeping me on my toes!”

He’s trying to be funny to make me feel better. What were we just talking about? I feel like you feel when you can’t remember a dream 5 minutes after waking up. You know it’s right there, but you can’t get to it. Why am I here? What day is it?

I’m maybe 6 or 7. I’m sitting in the front yard. It must be early fall, or maybe late spring. I’m pretty sure it’s fall. I’m wearing a hat I found in our hall closet. It’s straw and makes the sun speckle in warm dots and dashes across my face. I’m listening to my little radio. I can hear a lawn mower somewhere down the street, humming in approaching and retreating waves of sound.

I see Jason walking down the sidewalk from his house. We usually play after school every day. He gets closer and he’s saying something, but I can’t hear it.

“What?” I yell at him.

He yells louder, “You look like a farmer!” He’s laughing.

I don’t understand why he thinks I’m weird? I take off my hat and set the radio on the brim so it doesn’t blow away.

I’m 25. I am sitting on the couch next to my ex-boyfriend. My shoes are off, and I feel hyper aware that my feet are bare. He has been my ex-boyfriend for 4 months, during which he has actually started acting like he wants to be my boyfriend. So far I haven’t let myself believe him.

A carpet steam-cleaning commercial is on. I’m singing the jingle in my head when I finally let him kiss me. I still don’t believe him, but it’s done.

An hour later, he turns away from me onto his side in bed. We don’t say anything, but I know he has shifted back again. I know this tight, sick feeling in my chest. I know the light will have changed, that the air will be thinner, staler, in the morning. But I don’t get up.

“We’ve been having this same conversation over and over.”

For how long?

“About 11 hours? Yeah, 11ish. Go back to sleep. Maybe you’ll remember everything when you wake up.”

I’m 17. I’m standing in front of a room of people, trying not to think about the red blooming from my face and chest. Trying to stand up straighter than usual, make direct eye contact, overshadow the color with confidence.

I know I’ve got them when I begin the second paragraph of my speech. I feel the energy in the room sharpen and snap into place around me. I see them watching me, believing me, knowing they’ve found their winner. The color in my face recalibrates from flush to glow. I am walking, gesturing instinctively like I’ve always known what to do with my arms.

When I finish, there’s a hush. They’re waiting, giving a beat in time entirely to me before they step in. A brief second that is all mine. Then they start to applaud.

“Hey there, you awake?”

“I think so? Am I in the hospital? What time is it?”

“It’s 4:30 in the morning. Do you know what day it is?”

“Well, I think it’s the 4th? But the last thing I remember is getting ready for work this morning. How did I get here?”

He smiles and begins to tell me.

I’m 30. It’s New Year’s Eve. I’m sitting on the floor of my boyfriend’s kitchen at 3am. He’s pouring me another shot of whiskey, and we’re taking turns giving toasts for the New Year. I’ve just given a lengthy, heartfelt toast to The Wire. We’re laughing, down on the vinyl floor of a kitchen barely big enough to hold us both. I can hear sirens out the windows on 54th Street, muffled by the snow.

He begins his next toast. He is toasting to me, which after all this time makes me nervous and cringey, but the whiskey helps. I try to listen. I try to be quiet and look at him and listen. No jokes, no arguments, just receiving. I hear the floor creak as I shift my weight, feel a little chilly air sneak under the blanket around me. I’m aware of the fridge humming, of the smell of the Christmas tree we still haven’t taken down in the living room, of the crazy miracle it is to be sitting on a kitchen floor at 3am, in this tiny speck of New York City, listening to the first person I’ve ever known whom I think I will want to know forever, telling me he feels exactly what I’m feeling.

He does his shot, sets the glass down, and looks straight at me.

“Your turn.”