Anomic Aphasia Or All The Words I Used To Know

By Elaine Mead

We found it funny at first. You knit your eyebrows together in amusement as I describe the large white block,

the placid rectangle,

the cold cupboard in the kitchen.

You mean, the fridge? Your eyes twinkled. I made a joke to mask the embarrassment.

The list of lost words grew without discrimination. I took my favourite ones and tried to bury them deep, hoping they would be safe. It didn’t work. When I forgot your mother’s name the amusement quickened to concern.

When I forgot your name the concern became


If you forget the word do you forget its meaning too? Like fear. Or love. What does it become without the right word? Your face still made me tingle but I no longer had a label for it. I knew who you were and what that meant but there were ever encroaching gaps.

The diagnosis informs us I shouldn’t forget names and the concern becomes anger. You shout your name at me across the distance between your brain and mine. I try but I can’t make it stick any more. I smile apologetically.

One                        day                        you                       stop                       shouting.

You                          whisper                         another                         word.

A name.

The significance of your key on the side table should have moved me.

But that word had left me


Elaine Mead is a sometimes writer from London, currently living in Western Australia. She has a penchant for all things flash fiction and micro fiction, and you’ll often find a short story collection in her handbag. Her flash fiction has previously been published on Reflex Fiction, AdHoc Fiction and Underground Writers. She’ll be your friend if you buy her coffee and you can find her on twitter: @_elainemead