All around me are unfamiliar faces...
|“Prosopagnosia?” The detective wryly repeated the word as he cocked an invisible eyebrow at me. I winced at the clinging undertone of heavy skepticism. Between us, smoke curled from the ashtray as my ill-defined interrogator slowly crushed the remnants of his cigarette.
“It’s more commonly known as face blindness.” I elaborated, trying to be helpful.
Clasping his hands, the grizzled man regarded me from the shadowy abyss stretching between his ears. Was he convinced or still doubtful? I was unable to read his expression, forced to rely on body language and audio cues. In fact, I had considerable trouble telling him apart from the other policemen in the station.
“Clothing, hair and voices are the only ways that I can recognize people.” I continued beneath the weight of his indistinct gaze.
“Is that right?” He leaned forward, moving the fuzzy darkness closer to me. Unconsciously, I flinched back.
Opening the manila file, the detective pushed a photograph towards me. “Even if you have this… condition, I would expect you can recognize your own husband?”
This was a trick. Or was it? I was fairly sure the man in the picture wasn’t him. The picture showed someone with blonde shoulder-length hair and he was dressed in something I’ve never seen Jacob wear before. It couldn’t be my husband.
Shaking my head, I told him so. The policeman sat back, seemingly mollified by the confidence in my answer. “You are half-right. This is actually an old picture of him attending a college costume party.”
Swallowing, I felt my face burn with shame. The blank portrait was another reminder that I would never see the face of my beloved ever again. Although I survived the stroke, I awoke to a new sort of hell. Fate turned me into a walking paradox, a blind man that could see.
The seizure robbed me of my ability to perceive Jacob’s playful smile, his loving looks during quiet moments, or the way his nose crinkled when I ordered mushrooms on my pizza.
Memories were all I could rely on.
Even they were fading fast, details cruelly melting away as I desperately clung to their tattered remnants.
“… We were hoping you might be able to provide more details of your husband’s murder.” The calm voice broke through my cloud of anguish.
Looking up, I blinked away the sorrow and nodded dully. He went over the previous statement I’d given as I half-listened. I didn’t want to remember that night.
“After you heard the window break, the then perpetrator entered the bedroom. Could you describe the assailant?”
Sifting through the jumbled memories, I struggled to remember. His outline stood, wreathed in darkness. I reached for the phone, a blinding pain as something struck my head. Crawling on the floor, Jacob roaring in anger as he wrestled with the intruder...
There were gaps, spaces I couldn’t fill.
I saw him standing over Jacob’s body, brown haired and blurry faced.
He pushed a photograph in front of me. “Does this look familiar?”
The hair was slightly different but I had an unmistakable feeling that this was the killer. Excitedly I stabbed at the picture with my forefinger. “This is almost definitely that murdering bastard! The hair color is a total match but I can’t be certain-“
I stopped as the detective gestured for someone else to come in the room.
Handcuffs clicked as he informed me that I was under arrest. Stunned, I looked around in confusion. “What the hell is going on here? I told you that this guy is the asshole that killed him…”
Realization dawned as they dragged me to my feet.
There was a full-length mirror in our bedroom, something my husband insisted on buying. I had gotten a good look at the killer, all right.
Turns out, it was my face that I saw.