Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Lithium, Part One

Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes

         Mar 28 Dr Strauss came to my room tonight to see why I dint come
         in like I was suppose to. I told him I dont like to race with Algernon
         any more. He said I dont have to for a while but I shud come in. He
         had a present for me. I thot it was a little television but it wasnt. He
         said I got to turn it on when I go to sleep. I said your kidding why
         shud I turn it on when Im going to sleep. Who ever herd of a thing
         like that. But he said if I want to get smart I got to do what he says. I
         told him I dint think I was going to get smart and he puts his hand
         on my sholder and said Charlie you dont know it yet but your
         getting smarter all the time. You wont notice for a while. I think he
         was just being nice to make me feel good because I dont look any

"You wont notice for a while."

         June 10 Deterioration progressing. I have become absentminded.
         Algernon died two days ago...
         ...I guess the same thing is or will soon be happening to me. Now
         that it's definite, I don't want it to happen.
            I put Algernon's body in a cheese box and buried him in the
         back yard. I cried.

"I guess the same thing is or will soon be happening to me. Now that it's definite, I don't want it to happen."

         June 21 Why can't I remember? I've got to fight. I lie in bed for
         days and I don't know who or where I am.

         June 30 A week since I dared to write again. It's slipping away like
         sand through my fingers. Most of the books I have are too hard for
         me now. I get angry with them because I know that I read and
         understood them just a few weeks ago.

         July 7 1 don't know where the week went. Todays Sunday I know
         because I can see through my window people going to church. I
         think I stayed in bed all week but I remember Mrs. Flynn bringing
         food to me a few times. I keep saying over and over Ive got to do
         something but then I forget or maybe its just easier not to do what I
         say Im going to do.

         July 28 I did a dumb thing today I forgot I wasnt in Miss Kinnians
         class at the adult center any more like I used to be. I went in and sat
         down in my old seat in the back of the room and she looked at me
         funny... I said hello Miss Kinnian Im redy for my
         lesin today only I lost my reader that we was using. She startid to cry.
         ...everybody looked at me and I saw they
         wasnt the same pepul who used to be in my class.
            Then all of a sudden I remembered some things about the
         operashun and me getting smart...

That progression - from understanding to incomprehension was Lithium for me. 
And yet Charlie was able to speak his truth, sporadically as it sometimes was, and in that sense I envy him. But he had to live with the knowledge that it was irreversible and impending doom, and that is something I do not envy at all.

That round circled pill is to deliberately choose that unnoticeable path from understanding to incomprehension for me. Can you wonder that I might shudder at even the smallest amount, and balk?

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