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Merlin

Merlin: a humorous, sweet, forgetful man.  

Merlin had an accident while he was a truck driver. He fell backward off of his truck while he was unloading a shipment and hit his head on the ground. He has brain damage that impairs his memory. He lives in the Memory Care Center at the Villa.  

He crosses his arms. He fidgets in his seat. He looks anywhere but in my eyes. I ask him a question to get him to look at me. He doesn’t hear too well and turns toward me so he can see me talking and asks me to repeat the question. 

He looks at me with worn eyes. Years have passed since he’s worked on a farm, yet he still wears the tired face of a farmer. 

He reminds me of my grandfather. Or yet, he is the kind of grandfather I wish I had. 

With every Friday comes the question, and how is school?

Whether he remembers me from last week or not, he cares. He cares about my schooling and my grades and how I am doing.

Every week I introduce myself as Chelsey. From Broomfield, Colorado. I go to school at Hesston College. I am majoring in journalism. I play volleyball for the college. I am enjoying it a lot. 

Chelsey. I am from Broomfield, Colorado. I miss it. Hesston is different, but I like it. I go to school at Hesston College. I enjoy it. 

I am from Broomfield, Colorado and my name is Chelsey.

Merlin. The man who goes home every weekend to tend to his farm. He still drives. His home is too far away to drive home every night. 

He only lives at the Villa during the week. He doesn’t like it here much. The beds are stiff and the food isn’t so good. 

“They sure keep you busy though,” he says. 

Merlin doesn’t remember much about his past life. Even though he is younger, he seems almost worse than some of the others. I think he knows this, as he keeps his answers short and simple. If he doesn’t remember something he usually doesn’t say. 

Or he says so reluctantly. “Oh, I don’t remember,” he wills say. And then shake his head. 

He smiles only sometimes. Just barely, from the corner of his mouth.

Still sure he can make it on his own, he doesn’t understand why he is in the Villa. He doesn’t remember the times he tried to climb out the window saying he needed to get back to his truck. 

There are many things he doesn’t remember. 

One being me. 

I ask him if he remembers me from last week. Of course, his answer is no. The words come out as if he is hurt that he can’t place my face. I say that I see him every Friday and talk to him for a while. He just shakes his head and says, “No, I don’t remember.”

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