Nancy remembered how to make scones without using butter. On a Tuesday, she visited a blood bank to check if she was afraid of needles (no), stood at the edge of a fire escape to check if she was afraid of heights (no) and then wandered a reptile house. When a pretty girl in a department store smiled at her, she smiled back. In the change-room she wrote in her notebook:
Sexuality? Or just polite?
Over dinner she told her husband of all her new discoveries. The doctors had explained, many times, that this was the best way for her to regain her memories and reanimate her personality. She had to expose herself to the world and see what the world gave her in return. So far the world had given her a broken wrist at age nine and an inane fascination with criminal dramas.
‘I’m getting there.’
Her husband patted her hand. ‘Very nearly, dear.’ She slept beside this kind stranger.
Tomorrow was a foreign film and two art galleries, first classical, then modern. She left halfway through the film and did not make it to the galleries. At the department store Nancy let the pretty girl fix her face with mineral foundation and cherry-red lipstick. She pressed a sponge with foundation delicately against the scar that cut through Nancy’s hairline at her left temple, frowning.
‘The bullet is still in there.’
Nancy gave her a credit card to pay for the makeup. She had been practicing her signature.
‘Have a nice day.’
Later, alone in her underwear and new makeup, she wrote:
Not gay, not polite. Desperate to tell.
She washed her face and went downstairs to bake scones.