It might manifest in a memory lapse-- possibly very subtle, or the inability to operate something familiar like the microwave or the remote for the DVD player.
I don't think any of us expected it to occur as soon as it did.
Charlie came home the other day for a week's stay. I had spent the days prior to his arrival cooking, baking and twirling about in small, tight circles, clapping my hands.
I also spent time worrying that I might forget to buy that one special food item for which he might randomly hanker. So I bought everything in the supermarket.
As the hour of his arrival approached, Seth and I were a-twitter. Though a bit cramped from crouching by the window with our noses pressed to the glass, when we saw him pull in, we all but trampled each other as we rushed to be the first to greet him-- nearly getting stuck in the door a la the Three Stooges.
Seth and Charlie performed all the male "greeting" rituals of back slapping, nipple twisting, wrestling and a bit of mutual hair tousling.
I rushed towards him with lips puckered, arms open and my emotions in such a frayed state from buying everything in the supermarket that I could have either see-sawed towards huge elation or have been hugely crushed, based on the slightest nuance of events.
Luckily, Charlie tolerated my endless, clawing hugs, babbling and overwrought ranting....so elation ruled the moment.
As the evening progressed, it was time to catch up. After Charlie answered all the questions we shrieked at him, I launched into my stories of who I've seen, what I've done and any and all news of the neighborhood I could recall.
Strangely, it appeared that I had told him all this stuff already but had absolutely no memory of having done so.
When, with more than a glimmer of fear in his eyes, Charlie informed me of this, I immediately reverted to my default setting of defensive belligerence and having immediately forgotten I'd just told him these things, started telling them again.....
Seth was in just as bad shape--insisting on talking, at length, about a book he'd recently read that Charlie claims the two had discussed in great detail recently on the phone.
Like me, Seth remembered nothing.
At this point, Charlie's personal vision of his future went right down the drain as he would certainly have to give it all up to care for two unhinged parents who'd lost their memory and were showing disturbing signs of being unable to work simple devices (Seth suddenly couldn't open a beer bottle and I was flummoxed by a package of cat treats) and, who would quickly progress to wearing their undies on the outside of their clothes.
I'm pretty sure it was all a result of being over-excited but, honestly, I'm don't think neither Seth nor I could have figured out a zip-loc sandwich bag at that point.
The growing look of sheer terror on Charlie's face, as he imagined his future as a caregiver for two deranged imbeciles, was so funny that Seth and I added insane laughter to the evening's growing list of irrational behaviors.
Once we'd all calmed down and, to some degree, regained our memory and dexterity, at Charlie's request, we recited the alphabet -- without singing it -- and counted backwards from 100 by seven. He seemed satisified but still seems wary.
I can only wonder what will happen when he leaves in a few days.