There are things that he knows and there are things that he cannot remember.
One of the things that he knows is that his name is Andrew Thane. This is, perhaps, the very pillar of his identity—without that, it’s quite possible he would soon forget that there was even a “him” to dwell on. He knows his name despite the fact that he cannot remember anyone, himself included, ever uttering it aloud.
Alongside his name—or not far behind, at any rate—he holds in his mind an image of himself. That, too, is a part of his identity—but can he trust it? He does not recall ever having seen himself in a mirror. Sometimes his eyes in his mind are somewhat green, but sometimes they’re darker, when he thinks of them. So which is it? He does not remember.
He does know for sure the building he lives in. It’s called the Leverett Building and it’s located at the intersection of Stonestreet Boulevard and Magnolia Avenue in the small town of Trinity’s Field, NC. He knows this, but he doesn’t really think about it all that much; it’s really just context for him so he can follow along in other people’s conversations. If someone were to ask him what the name was of the building, or where it was located, he would probably struggle to come up with the answer. But then again, if anyone asked him anything, it would come as an impossible surprise, and he probably wouldn’t be able to give any kind of answer at all.
Andrew Thane knows in his heart that he cannot leave the building. Bad things will happen to him, he is sure of it. But he can’t remember having been told that and he certainly can’t remember having ever tried.
He knows the layout of the Leverett Building, from the basement to the top, how all of the apartments are arranged with the laundry facilities and boiler room at the bottom, and even the roof, though he does not often go there. The only place where he sometimes gets confused is apartments 23 and 24 on the second floor: he can never remember right where the wall is that separates the two domiciles. It is as if he knew once, but then they changed it and he got confused—but he can’t remember them changing it. And unless he is right there, seeing how it is now and being confused that it’s different, he can’t remember how it was back then. Even then, he can’t remember, but only imagine and know he is right.
He even knows the people in the building, from Philip Mulberry, who owns most of the properties, to the Han and Mishkin families, to the old man living on the first floor who doesn’t like to talk to anyone, to Michael Morton living in apartment 31. He doesn’t know Michael Morton well. Apartment 32 is abandoned and he tries not to go there or even approach it. He can’t remember why…
He knows all the people who live in the building, and always has, but apartment 16 is empty and it hasn’t always been, like 32. It is recently vacated. Who lived there before? Just now? A family, perhaps? A couple? Two or three roommates bound by only circumstances? He can’t remember. The paint from the retouching isn’t even dry, the freezer isn’t even thawed out, but he has already forgotten them. They are no longer a part of his world.
Andrew Thane knows what a ghost is. He knows that it’s the spirit and even the consciousness of a person who has died that lingers in the world, unable to go on to whatever AfterLife awaits. He suspects that this is what he is, but he cannot be sure. He can’t be sure, because he does not remember dying. But what bothers him more than not being able to remember having died is the thought that he might once have had a life before, a life he can’t remember. It bothers him because if he can’t remember it, he doesn’t even know that it was there. It’s not a part of him.
He knows, too, that they say (though who “they” are is beyond his ken) that there are some people who can see ghosts. If this is true, he does not remember having met any, though if he had, of course, that does not mean he would have remembered.
He can only hope that this is true and hope that one day, perhaps, he might meet them. Perhaps the new tennants who move into 16. Perhaps they will be able to help him remember.