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He lived
in a self-induced
alcoholic stupor. Once
a brilliant man
a respected man.

“What do you want me to do?
What am I doing here?”
His head shaking in a disgusted manner.
“What is wrong with you people?”

He walked the halls endlessly
diapered and confused
reaching into his shirt pocket
for his stash – a sugar packet
hidden away, his only fix
in a controlled environment.

and he waited

for the sugar to ferment
producing the lowest form
of high available to him
these days.

He didn’t know her
Even though she visited often. But
there was a tinge of
recognition.

She was a woman
and he responded accordingly.

He had not forgotten
how to flirt or how to respond to
a woman who smiled at him.
He smiled back and his eyes lit up
allowing a bright light to escape
from the growing darkness in his mind.

When she left, he left
head bowed, eyes closed
interlocking fingers sitting
dormant in his lap.
The light faded as quickly as
it had appeared and the darkness
prevailed.

When she saw him last
he was pale and thin
“not doing so well” they
told her. She woke him
from his constant sleep
and when he raised his head
and opened his eyes
the light was out.
Bewildered and confused
they established that he didn’t remember her.

“Well, I remember you. You’re unforgettable.”

“I am?” Something resembling a smile
took up residence on his otherwise blank face.

She sang to him, for lack of a better way to communicate
“Unforgettable, that’s what you are…” Just that one line
and the lights came on if only for a moment.
A bewildered smile blossomed into a whole-hearted grin
of recognition.

He had forgotten who he was
He had forgotten his family
He had forgotten the good old days that put him there
But still, he remembered what he was

He was a man
and he responded accordingly.

He died
in a self-induced
alcoholic stupor.
No longer
a brilliant man
a respected man

But a man nonetheless.

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