An Elephant Never Forgets – A Short Story

The sunlight streaming through the windows created shafts of light across the room. Adelaide’s favorite chair was positioned in one of the beams, keeping her warm as she sat reading a novel.

Adelaide quickly became immersed in a far away land and lost all track of time. How lovely it was to explore a world beyond her own four walls. A world filled with adventure, travel and even a little romance. Just as she was about to discover what was on the other side of a mysterious door, a woman tapped her on the shoulder.

“Hello Adelaide. I’m sorry I didn’t mean to startle you.”

“That’s alright my dear,” Adelaide replied. “I’ve probably been sitting here too long anyway.”

“How are you doing today?”

“Oh, fine, fine. It’s so nice to see your friendly face though.”

The woman smiled as she sat in an adjoining chair.

“It’s funny you came by today. This book I’m reading reminded me of my daughter and I’d love to tell you about her.”

The woman smiled and leaned into Adelaide as she began to reminisce.

“When my daughter, Cheyenne, was in college I used to love to go visit her. She didn’t go to school very far away so it was easy to make a spur of the moment trip. I’d pack an overnight bag and hit the road.

On one of my visits we decided to go on an adventure. We climbed into her car, cranked up the stereo and took off for parts unknown. There’s nothing better than driving down country roads, singing at the top of your lungs.

Before we knew it, those back roads had taken us into Austin. We explored the city, ending our evening down on 6th Street. We could hear the music wafting through the streets from the bars that line the streets of downtown. We danced and laughed our way down the streets, reveling in the warm spring evening and in each other’s company.

Neither of us was in any hurry to get back to real life, but alas, the call of classes and adulting eventually became too loud to ignore.

Just as we were about to turn the corner and head back to our car, Cheyenne put her hand on my arm. ‘Mom, look over there. I think I know how we should end this adventure!’ I was a little taken aback by what she was suggesting, but my rational side was quickly silenced by my desire to remember this time with Cheyenne forever.

Screwing up all my courage I followed my daughter into the establishment and after an hour we emerged with matching bandages on our ankles. That’s right, we got tattoos!”

Lost in her memory, Adelaide didn’t notice the lone tear that escaped her companion’s eye. The woman quickly wiped it away so as not to upset Adelaide.

Just as Adelaide was ready to continue her story, the two women were approached by a young man.

“Excuse me ladies, but lunch is ready. I’ll walk you to the dining room. Miss Adelaide, would your friend like to join us?”

“I really can’t stay, I’ve got to take care of some things. Raincheck?”

Surprising herself with the tinge of sadness she felt at the prospect of her companion leaving, Adelaide responded, “Of course, honey. You come back to see me anytime you’d like to.”

“I’ll be back soon. I promise.” The woman gave Adelaide a quick hug and hastily turned toward the door just as hot tears formed in her eyes., threatening to spill down her cheeks.

As she began to walk away, Adelaide noticed the elephant peeking out of the woman’s pant leg.

With that brief glimpse of black ink, Adelaide was overwhelmed with love and excitement and cherished memories. “Cheyenne!”

Cheyenne stopped and turned back towards her mother. With tears streaming down both of their faces the two women embraced.

“Oh Cheyenne, I’m so sorry I didn’t recognize you sooner. Please stay for lunch.”

Cheyenne did as her mother asked and the two women spent the afternoon together reliving their greatest adventures. As the light began to fade, Cheyenne could push her departure no longer. She bent down to hug her mother and kiss her goodbye, knowing that their time had been precious. Even more so because Alzheimer’s continued to slowly chip away at Adelaide’s memory with each passing day.

As Cheyenne was about to push the door open on the cool evening, Adelaide called out to her daughter one last time.

“Remember Cheyenne, an elephant never forgets.”

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