Paul rolled the newspaper tight and whacked the thick roll of paper against his thigh, almost absentmindedly, almost as though the impact would spur his mind. He went back into the house and spread the paper on the countertop. The microwave was still humming as it warmed two bowls of oatmeal; the coffee maker spat and hissed as it percolated what Paul suspected would really get his mind going. Paul rummaged through the silverware drawer and found a couple of spoons, got the orange juice from the fridge and glass from the cabinet above the kitchen sink.

He pulled pill bottles down from the shelf over the stove and retrieved the pill organizer–broad and wide and heavy–from the back of the other counter. Each tiny lid popped up easily and the little bins in the organizer gaped up at him little baby birds awaiting breakfast. He lined up the pill bottles, unscrewed their lids, and then, almost without having to think about it, sorted the colorful pastilles into their daily distribution boxes. Still, something forgotten taunted him.

The microwave beeped; the coffee maker clicked off.

“Mother!” Paul called, clicking closed the pill organizer with one application of his broad hand’s pressure across seven little lids.

“Good morning,” she said, a little too brightly, as she came around the corner into the kitchen. She looked at him as though she knew she was supposed to recognize him, and he smiled at her, knowing she probably never would.

His thigh throbbed distinctly from the place against which he had slapped the gazette. The signal was transmitted directly to his brain: his keys! Not lost! Not mindlessly misplaced! Not forgetfully set aside as a sign of early-onset dementia. Simply in his jeans pocket, simply waiting for something to remind him.

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