By C. E. Pereira
It was Christmas Eve! Tamara and Jack were putting up the Christmas tree. A year has gone by since Tamara had lost her memory. Month after month of undergoing test to her mind brought no improvement. Only the new memories made in the past year were there. The rest of her memories were the stories told to her, which she treasured. She’d gone through the photo albums everyday, learning more about the people who loved her.
Only in her dreams did her memory come back. But once awake they were gone. The first few months were the hardest. She cried each morning as the dreams disappeared when she woke up. Even the doctors were not sure. They think that the subconscious part of the mind awoke the memories buried there in dreams her dreams. But once awake the dreams faded and so did the memories.
Earlier she and Jack went out and got a tree on the farm itself. So here was Jack telling her stories of past Christmases. Each tinsel that she hung on the Christmas tree had a story attached to it. And like a sponge, Tamara soaked it all up. These stories were like a lifeline to her. Her laughter could be heard throughout the house. Hearing her laugh and seeing the laughter reach her eyes, Jack kept on recalling memories to tell Tamara.
The house was filled with the smell of baking. Mrs Drummond the cook was busy in the kitchen baking cakes and cookies. The turkey will be roasted tomorrow with all the trimmings. The Quinn’s were throwing a Christmas party and Tamara was as excited as a kid waiting for Santa to come.
By evening the house looked festive with the Christmas tree decorated and the lights twinkling. Christmas Carols could be heard coming softly from the Library. And as usual that was where Jack found Tamara, engrossed in a book.
“Hi Tammy! Want to take a ride to Valley Creek and visit,” asked Jack.
Reluctantly Tamara put down her book. “Okay. Let’s go.”
It took them less than twenty minutes to reach Valley Creek Ranch. Daniel was sitting on the porch smoking when the jeep pulled up. Waiting for the pair to alight, Daniel hollered for Jess.
“Hi Daniel!” Tamara waved to Daniel.
“Hi you two. Come on up. Jess is bringing out the wine,” Daniel winked at Tamara.
“Where’s Byron?” asked Jack.
“Wrapping up the day at the bunk-house with the ranch-hands. He’ll be along soon,” said Daniel.
Just then Jess came out with the bottle of wine and some glasses. Jack got up to take the tray from Jess and place it on the table. “Here let me pour the wine,” he said.
“So, what time you’d like us to be there, Tamara?” Jess asked.
“I.I.. Jack?” Tamara looked ready to bolt.
“About six,” Jack said.
“Tammy… Is anything wrong?” Jess asked.
Before Tamara could answer, Jack said, “Tammy doesn’t want to be hostess. I told her on the way here and she keeps telling me to ask you to be hostess.”
“Don’t worry Tammy. I’ll stand besides you when the guests arrives,” Jess stated.
“Thanks Jess. I just hate being hostess…I think,” Tamara said.
Laughing out loud, Jack replied, “That’s for a fact. You don’t like being hostess. I always have to go hunt you out. And usually you hide in the Library, reading.”
Smiling, Tamara answered, “My heart seems to remember. I’ve been listening closely to it lately and it hasn’t been wrong.”
“Care to share with us what you’re discovered?” Daniel asked.
“Well, yesterday when I accompanied Mrs Drummond to the market, I saw this teenage girl walking towards us. As usual I didn’t recognize. But in my heart I wanted to smile and talk to her and tell her I did know her.” Tamara stopped talking for a moment smiling, lost in her thoughts.
“Then what happened?” Jack as usual was impatient.
“She was Mrs Drummond’s granddaughter, Tess. She’d been away at college the past year and had returned for Christmas. Tess just threw her arms around me for a hug and chatted away about anything and everything.”
“I’m sure by the time you reached the market your head was going to burst with too much information. Tess sure has a tongue which can out talk anyone,” said Jack laughing.
Jess and Daniel joined in the laughter. Then Tamara heard Byron voice behind her, “What’s the joke?”
Daniel filled him in. And Byron too, burst out laughing and Tamara joined in the laughter. Byron enjoyed seeing Tamara laughing. The fear in her eyes was almost gone. And the major break through came when she starting trusting Jack totally. He could see the love and trust in her eyes when she looked at Jack. He thanked God that she was healing even though her memory hadn’t come back.
Trying not to laugh, Tamara said, “How’s that no one warned me earlier? But seriously, I think Tess and I always got along as friends. I’m right, aren’t I?”
“You got that right, sis,” said Jack.
“So what else did your heart tell you?” Jess enquired.
Tamara took a moment to get her thoughts in order before answering Jess. “My heart knows that you and Daniel have always been there for me. And, you still are. The moment I arrived at Double Creek Ranch my heart knew I was home. And Jack… your voice and smile tugs at my heart. My heart knows that I’ve seen you smile and heard your voice a thousand times and yet I don’t remember. But my heart knows. My heart remembers you.”
Getting up, Jack went and sat on the armrest of Tamara’s chair. He pulled her into a tight hug and kissed her forehead. Jess and Daniel had tears in their eyes as they watched brother and sister hugging.
Byron watched with yearning in his soul. And prayed Tamara’s heart remembered him too. Just then the McAlaister’s cook came out and said that dinner was ready. So they all trooped in for dinner. Conversation at the dinner table was light and funny. And Tamara’s laughter could be heard quite often that night.