Johnny America


Ex Ni­hi­lo


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.

Filed under Fiction on July 29th, 2011

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