Jeremy’s spent the first two hours of his working day staring at the back of his hand. He’s been eating biscuits too, but mainly staring at the back of his hand, and wondering what is happening. There’s a vagueness to him today. Immediately after his first coffee, which usually pulls him clear of the shadows of thought, Jeremy goes to the urinal to relieve himself. He imagines the alcohol exiting his system, but is quickly weighed down by the memories surrounding how it entered. Jeremy doesn’t shake and it leaks in his pants. Now he’s sitting, staring at the back of his hand, smelling of urine and wondering if he’s going to snap out of this living coma any time soon.
Soon it’s lunchtime. He takes a book from his bag – the one that has lived there for over a year – and opens to the page he last read. There is a photo of a girl he once knew. On the back is some writing he chooses not to repeat in his brain, in case it sticks. Instead, he lets the words slide like a pickle down a window, to the floor and out of his mind. Barely leaving a streak. He then replaces the photo, thinks for a second and throws The Great Gatsby from three stories onto St Kilda Rd.
On the way home, Jeremy realises he has no dish washing liquid. He surveys the aisle and picks up the box that corresponds to the television ad he has chosen to recall, the one that says the diamond finish. ‘Finish’ is the name of the brand and it seems apt. The ad, he remembers, shows all the muck that gathers in a dishwasher over the years, and how this particular product can wash it all away. Jeremy considers drinking it, but remembers he has band practice in a few hours and doesn’t want to taint his voice.
Instead, he picks up the ‘Finish’, walks to the counter, opens his new wallet – the one that has no small window for a photograph – and pays. As he walks the final stretch, Jeremy looks at the back of his hand one last time and makes out three words of the sentence he’s been trying to decipher the entire day: “right” / “now” / “gone”.
Finally, he remembers it all.