ICICLES

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Icicles

By

D. Edwin Burbee

It is a wintery evening as people leave work to start and brush snow from cars. Laughter seasoned with see you tomorrow blends and fades into darkness. One man remains walking first left then right and stops, his mind races. I do not know where I parked my car. Budding fear soon blossoms into terror as he checks his pockets. No keys, no wallet, My God help me, where am I? The streets are empty he is completely alone. I must get home I have been gone for weeks. He begins to run aimlessly, cold air burns his lungs with tears freezing to his face.

Icicles captured by a clothesline tinkle lightly, softly, played by unseen fingers of breeze. Translucent piano keys, suspended necklace-like from the once taunt line, perform micro symphonic music. A high-pitched clinking, much like the sound glass objects make when they knock against each other, creates a grouping of sounds; a tune. The melody attracts, captivates, and hypnotizes the man rapt by this mellow music, and he wonders is this the key that unlocks my memory?

Ernie wakes drenched in a cold sweat. “It is the same awful nightmare,” he mumbles, “identical situation every night for weeks; ever since I was hit by that Acura, and ate an air-bag.”

A ringing phone shatters thoughts. Ernie picks up the receiver with a moist shaking hand; “hello.”

“Mr. Savage this is Coastal Neuropsychology, Doctor Sweeney’s office, calling to confirm the appointment you made last week. It is for tomorrow.”

“Thank you, it’s at one correct?”

“Yes, at one.”

“I’ll be there.”

As Ernie thumbs through magazines in DR. Sweeney’s waiting room, a nurse beckons him in. “Good afternoon Mr. Savage I’m Doctor Sweeney.”

“You can call me Ernie.”

“Alright its Ernie then, what is troubling you?”

“Nightmares, actually singular as in nightmare every night it is exactly the same.”

“Can you tell me the basic content?”

“I dream I have amnesia it is real, petrifying. I need to go home but I do not know where I am”

“Do you know where home is?”

“No, but the need to quickly get there is overpowering.”

“Ernie I’ve gone over tests from your accident and no physical damage is indicated. It appears the emotional component may be the reason for this nightmare. What do you see?”

“A frozen clothes line with icicles hanging and the wind causes them to chime musically. I become enchanted by the sound believing it holds a solution to my amnesia. Yet, all the while, my brain is in turmoil trying to think where I am. Every time I sleep the nightmare returns, the same. I believe that soon I will not wake up; I can not take much more of this!” Ernie begins sobbing, rocking back and forth in the chair.

“Easy Mr. Savage, relax. I have a few more questions, are you up to it?” Breathing deeply

Ernie calms, “I am fine go ahead doctor.”

“During this dream are you cold?”

“No, I realize it is cold but I do not feel cold.”

“Any background, can you see anything else?”

“It appears to be white all around me.”

“Go home and take these sedatives. You need rest. Relax Ernie; we will find the underlying cause of this. Call me if anything changes.”

“Thank you Doctor.”

Ernie leaves Doctor Sweeny’s office and returns home. Washing down pills with water, he collapses on the sofa, falling asleep immediately. He comes to hours later, trembling violently. A riveting thought shocks; I must see Dr. Sweeney, the nightmare changed.

Ernie returns to the Doctor’s office. His appearance conveying the condition within.

Wearing the same clothing from the last visit, he is also wearing a vacant stare.

“Sit here Mr. Savage; I’ll have my nurse bring a glass of water. Your phone call suggests the nightmare has changed?”

“Yes, as I stare at the icicles I hear a voice calling my name.

“Do you recognize the voice?”

“No but it sounds like a women.”

“Ernie, are your parents alive?”

“No, I’m adopted”

“At what age were you adopted?”

“My earliest memory is being nine years old.”

“And you have no recollection of an earlier time?”

“No, not at all.” My adopted parents are both deceased, killed in a fire while I was in college. A

social worker told me that my mother lost her life in a plane crash, however I have no knowledge of my father.”

“Go home and attempt to rest. I will research records using your Social Security number to shed some light on your past. If I discover any relevant information, I will call you. Feel free to call if your condition worsens.”

“Yes Doctor.”

Upon returning home, Ernie lays down on his couch. Within minutes, he is

asleep. Seeing the icicles once again, their charismatic tinkle bewitchingly freezing his stare.

“Ernest, come inside honey it is too cold and everyone is waiting for the birthday boy.

How that boy loves the outdoors, why he would live out there if I didn’t call him in.”

“Let him play awhile Millie, he’s well dressed.”

“I know, but he is all I have. When I fly to New York next week just make sure, he wears his leggings when outdoors.”

“Aunt Alice will be in charge, now how about a glass of port on the rocks?”

Glasses are filled with ice and wine while Alice lights the five candles on Ernie’s cake. The two women sing happy birthday. Ernie blows out the candles everyone claps and cheers.

“Open your present Ernest, your mother can’t wait.”

“Thanks Mommy.” Ernie rips off the wrapping paper revealing a glass globe music box. Inside is a winter scene, a washerwomen is hanging clothes on a line; Icicles hang among clothing. Ernie turns the box on and a tinkling chime-like melody plays.

Jesus loves me, this I know For the Bible tells me so

Little ones to Him belong They are weak, but He is strong

Yes, Jesus loves me! Yes, Jesus loves me!

Yes, Jesus loves me! The Bible tells me so


A hospital loudspeaker blares; Code Blue room 234…Code Blue room 234….

At lunch, a nurse asks an intern, “What was your Code Blue for?”

“For Ernest Savage, the guy who was in a car wreck and has been in a coma since he was

admitted last week; he passed away.”

“I often wonder if a person in a comatose condition has the ability to think.”

“There is no answer to your question but he died with the most pleasant expression on his face.”