Today, I welcome Ofelia Gränd to the blog. She’s here to talk about another of her re-releases, and this one is a doozy. I read it back when it was called Trapped and I cried my heart out (as evidenced by this blog post from 2018) and I re-read it when Ofelia started discussing potential new names for the story when she was going to re-release it with JMS Books and cried even more. Just reading her post below made me tear up again, so while I warmly recommend this book, I also warmly recommend Kleenex. Lots and lots of Kleenex.
But enough of that. Let’s welcome my guest, shall we?
Hello Nell, hello Nell’s readers *waves* Thank you so much for letting me drop by again. I’m still in the middle of rereleasing books, and today it’s time for one of my absolute favourites of the stories I’ve written, Remember Us.
Remember Us used to be called Trapped, but there already was a Trapped in the JMS Books catalogue, so to avoid confusion, we renamed it.
It’s funny because I really, really dislike writing in first person – hate, almost. Then every now and then, every third year or so, I convince myself I should give it another try. Most often I end up with a horror story when I do, because if there is one thing first person works for it’s writing psychopaths – an excellent tool to show off the crazy without it being visible on the surface – but this is not a horror story. This is a story about one of my biggest fears – forgetting my family.
Charlie and William have been married for forty-three years, so while I say this is a contemporary story, I guess it’s really a future story since marriage equality hasn’t been around for forty-three years yet. They’ve lived a good life. Charlie had everything he ever dreamed of, a husband he loves, a daughter, love and stability, until…
William doesn’t remember him anymore. Most often he remembers them, but not in present day. He remembers them from when they were young. Some days he remembers they have a daughter, but most often not. And that’s my fear. What if I forget my children?
I never want them to have to sit there and talk to me without me having a clue who they are. I don’t fear growing old, and I don’t fear death for my own sake. It’s what I leave behind.
I never want to leave them, I never want them to be forgotten, and I never want them to doubt how much I love them.
I never want to forget how much I love them.
He sipped on his coffee and smiled at the trees. “Once, when Charlie and I were by the lake, we found a little trail. I say found…” He chuckled. “We were taking a different trail back to the car and got lost. When we’d walked for a while, we came across this little cabin with a view over the lake.”
I remembered the cabin. We’d been standing there looking at it for several minutes before we turned back to the lake and managed to pinpoint where we were going.
“I always figured we would buy it.” He frowned.
“You did?” It had never been for sale as far as I knew. Once we’d bought our house, I’d stopped looking at what was for sale in the area, though.
“Yeah. Charlie would’ve loved living there.”
“But you wouldn’t.”
He shrugged. “I like the city, but for Charlie, I would live in a place like that.”
I was glad we’d bought the house we did. William did like to live in the city; he liked to have people around him, to have lives brushing up next to his every day. I loved the quiet of the lake, nothing was more relaxing to me than not having to see a single person for days on end, but I didn’t want William to sacrifice anything for me. “You shouldn’t have to give up your hopes and dreams for him.”
“He is my hopes and dreams, and he’s doing it for me…all the time. It’s only fair I do it for him. If the cabin comes up for sale, I’ll buy it. Maybe we could have it as a get-away cottage.”
“It would’ve been nice.” I wondered what the cabin looked like now. We hadn’t been there for years. Time flies, and I wasn’t sure I had the energy to walk the trail anymore. We’d had a good life without a get-away cottage. We hadn’t been on many trips, even fewer once we got Ann. We’d made day trips, but we were both content to stay in our home, and while we’d never had to starve, money had been tight at times. We did the best we could, and I wasn’t complaining.
“It will be. He would be so surprised if I bought it for us.” William grinned and watched the few leaves still clinging to the twigs. “I should call him.”
“Who?” He started to get up, and I looked around to see if there were any personnel nearby.
“Charlie, of course. Who did you think I was gonna call?”
“I…erm…I don’t know.” I had to say something to take his mind off the phone call. I could already see the tightening of his lips and the way his eyes narrowed. If I couldn’t get him to think of something else, he’d throw a fit—throwing fits was an ability he’d never grown out of, no matter how old he became.
“There you are!” Ann came out through the door. “I looked in your room, but you weren’t there.”
“Ann?” I hoped I didn’t sound too surprised, but what was she doing here? On a Thursday? In the middle of the day? Her cheeks were rosy, and her eyes sparkled.
“This is nice.” She looked around the large balcony, her eyes lingering on the patio heaters and the blankets before landing on a pot with heather and some kind of cabbage. “Really nice. How come you haven’t been out here more?”
I shrugged. The patio heaters were new, but it was nice to sit here now, I wouldn’t argue with that. She squeezed my shoulder and sank down on the empty chair next to me. William’s face had turned into a blank mask, but at least he’d sat down again.
“Hello, Daddy.” Ann nodded to William, a faked pleasantness in her tone.
“Humph.” William turned to look at the trees.
“Not the best day,” I whispered, hoping against hope William would remember her, that she wouldn’t be hurt because she was a forgotten child, and that I wouldn’t have to talk about my husband as if he wasn’t there.
Ann nodded and patted my hand, not looking as hurt as she often did, and I dared a sigh in relief. “I’ve talked to the management, and it’s all decided now.”
I frowned at her. What’s decided?
She got to her feet. “I have to get back to work. I just wanted to tell you.” She kissed my cheek and turned to leave.
It was her turn to frown. “I told you, Dad, don’t you remember? Yesterday?” Suspicion crept into her eyes, and I wanted to reassure her I wasn’t turning into William, but I couldn’t remember her telling me anything. Had we talked yesterday?
“About you moving in, too.”
“Oh…that fast?” The heron stretched its neck until its head bumped into my Adam’s apple.
“Yeah. I mean, you won’t be moving yet, but it’s decided.”
“When can I move?” Warmth spread in my chest. I would be with William again. I wouldn’t have to go back to that horrid flat every night.
Ann smiled. “As soon as a spot becomes available.”
Cold followed the warmth. “I have to wait for someone to die?”
Ann winced. “Don’t put it like that, Dad.”
“It’s the truth.”
“It’s not. Some people decide to move out, you know.”
“Sure, Princess.” I chuckled. What person who was too worn out to manage on their own thought moving home was a good idea? I didn’t care, though. To say I hoped someone kicked the bucket was harsh, but I wouldn’t mind if they hurried along to do it. There was no way of knowing how many days I had left, and I wanted to spend them with William.
“It’ll be soon, Dad. I’m sure of it.”
“Yeah? Tell us before you decide to tamper with the food, will you? I’m not sure I would recover from food poisoning.”
“Dad!” She slapped my shoulder then giggled. “You’re terrible.”
“I do my best.” I smiled at her. She appeared younger today.
“I love you.”
“And I you.” I squeezed her hand before she hurried away, blinking a few extra times when my eyes started to burn. We should’ve had another child. Being alone to care for two frail, old men couldn’t be easy.
“Was that your daughter?”
I started at William’s voice. “Yes, that’s Ann.”
“Ann.” He frowned as he said her name. “Annie.”
“Yeah…Annie.” That fucking burning was back in my eyes. He’d always called her Annie when she was a little girl.
“She seems nice.”
“She is. Her parents did pretty well bringing her up.”
William nodded. “They must have.”
“Yeah, they must have.” I patted his hand but stopped when he gave me a wide-eyed look. “Would you like some more coffee?”
“That would be nice, please.” He smiled as he watched a jackdaw land on the grass below.
Charlie Wilkins had everything he wanted—a husband, a daughter, a house that was his home. He still has his husband, but William has forgotten who he is. He still has his daughter, but the roles have switched, and Ann is now the one taking care of them.
There is only one thing Charlie wants, and that is to spend the rest of his days with William by his side. But William is living in a nursing home, and Charlie is living…somewhere. Ann says she will fix it; she’ll make sure they’ll get to live together again. Charlie hopes she will before William either escapes or figures out Charlie has left him in someone else’s care. He promised William they’d stay together till death did them part, and he meant it, but what was he to do when he no longer could take care of William?
Contemporary Gay Romance: 12,055 words
Ofelia Gränd is Swedish, which often shines through in her stories. She likes to write about everyday people ending up in not-so-everyday situations, and hopefully also getting out of them. She writes romance, contemporary, paranormal, Sci-Fi and whatever else catches her fancy.
Her books are written for readers who want to take a break from their everyday life for an hour or two.
When Ofelia manages to tear herself from the screen and sneak away from her husband and children, she likes to take walks in the woods…if she’s lucky she finds her way back home again.
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