Imprisoned in the body which has betrayed you, you beg me “What do you remember?” and I paint you whole again. I replace your crippled leg, restore your height. You stand. You walk. I take you back to feed the ducks at the Rosyln Duck Pond. When we run out of bread, you lift me high above the pecking mouths of hungry swans, wide orange beaks that could swallow me whole.

“What else do you remember?” you beg.

I am a frenzied tour guide, running through our history, trying to outrun the disease that is steadily consuming you. From Montawk summer mornings on the fishing boats to Sunday afternoons at the Met. Your hunger for memories is bottomless.

Sometimes, when I call you, you are wounded. “You are living in the past,” he has told you. “Daddy, he doesn’t understand.” I lift your broken body from the bed, and we drive to the Alley Pond Environmental Center. On the corner where Great Neck turns off the Grand Central parkway, we stop at a posh green grocer to buy carrots.

The rabbits are waiting. They wait all week for our visits. They recognize the sound of our footsteps, the chime of the till as the grocer rings up our purchase.

“Daddy, I took my kids to the petting zoo. I taught them to hold the rabbits.”

“You remember?”

“Daddy, I remember.”

“What else do you remember?”

I remember the way you drove the road that extended from our driveway to the end of the world. I would follow you anywhere. Do you remember the storm that forced us to pull off the road the summer we drove to the Tanglewood Music Festival? I thought the flood was beginning again, a day consumed by darkness. You pulled into the parking lot of a rest stop. Drinking coffee and hot chocolate, you told me stories of other road-trips. I wasn’t cold. Then later, finally arriving at the Red Lion Inn, I marveled at your magic, how you just knew the way from New York to Massachusetts.

It was only later when I learned to drive that I learned your secret, the roadsigns overhead that directed you through the maze of turnoffs.

Daddy, where are the roadsigns on this journey? How far can I take you before memory dead-ends?

“What do you remember?”

"Daddy, I remember.”

“Write it down. Send me a letter I can hold."

Today, as I pick up the phone, I prepare a memory. I’ll dress you in beach clothes, the sand whispering under your bare-feet as we walk, following the seagulls to a horizon we’ll never reach. You lead me, draw me deeper into the waves. I could swim to China.

As the sun sets, it is time to go back. Both of us, shivering and chilled, we don’t want to leave. Recklessly, we continue further down the beach. You turn to me, suddenly urgent as the sun bleeds into the horizon. “Sweetheart, when you grow up, promise me you’ll remember.”

“Daddy, I remember.”