>> You should roll down the window just in case! If it’s really him, you can jump out and hug him right away anyway!

As I question my hesitation, it occurs to me that in all the fog and condensation, as well as my awakening bleariness, it’s at least possible that the person outside isn’t Uncle James.

Better safe than sorry, I roll the window down, first just a crack, and then by several finger-lengths. The world beyond the car starts to resolve itself, at least a little. It seems like I pulled off in some little parking lot. It’s hard to make out landmarks, but I think I can see a small building nearby. Looks like it might be a park bathroom or something.

Whatever it is, I’m not exactly focused on it, instead, I find myself arrested by the figure leaning his face toward my half-open window.

Standing, watching me with sleepy, sea-colored eyes is a familiar pale haired man with a long, tired looking face, and a rather puzzled expression. His blond hair falls in his eyes, and his pale lips are half parted as I meet his gaze.

He stares at me, and looks like he’s about to speak before I cut him off.

“U-uncle James!”

For a moment my heart leaps to my throat. It IS uncle James! …it is, isn’t it? Doubt creeps in before I’m able to hold my tongue, and my sudden smile starts to fade as I study him further.

There’s something off about him, but I can’t quite place what, right away. For one thing, he’s wearing a trim, black peacoat style jacket instead of the familiar military surplus like the one I have with me.

He also looks confused– even more confused than I feel– when I address him. He shifts nervously in front of my window.

“Sorry, uh, do you know me?” He looks at me without a hint of recognition and I feel my heart sink further and further into the cringe dimension. Shouldn’t have gotten my hopes up.

But, wasn’t that an odd thing for someone to say? People usually say ‘do I know you’…

“No, I’m sorry,” you reply hesitantly. “I thought you were my uncle…”

He puts his hand on your window and leans forward, his fingertip just over the glass, and very slightly intruding into your space.

“This is going to sound crazy,” he murmurs, “but for all I know, I could be. I can’t seem to remember…much of anything…”

>>_ _ _