Ex Nihilo

by Noel SLOBODA
 

One of the last times we visited my wife’s mother at the rest home, the old lady reported she’d been robbed: “They stole my shoes. They stole my sweaters. They stole my memories.”

At first we thought the octogenarian’s mind was just playing tricks on her. However, an inventory of her apartment revealed that, while all the shoes were present, several sweaters were indeed missing. So we decided to mount a security camera above her door, to catch the thieves in the act.

But on our next visit, the camera was gone. My wife’s mother maintained it too had been stolen. Eventually, she proclaimed, everything would be taken from her. Resolved to get to the bottom of the mystery, we purchased another camera and secreted it in a begonia my mother-in-law kept by the window. We could hardly wait to examine the evidence when we returned the next morning. Only, my wife’s mother wasn’t in her room. Nobody had seen her leave, and no visitors had signed the logbook.

Luckily, our begonia-cam was still present, so we immediately hooked it up to her television set. As playback began, my wife’s mother appeared napping in a chair. Then—just like that—she vanished. When I turned to ask my wife if she had witnessed the event, I found that she too had disappeared.

I never have determined if my wife was stolen or if the eradication of her mother simply made it too hard for her to exist. Either way, I still have the begonia and the second camera as evidence of her being.

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