My therapist says that’s how you ruin a good memory. By overthinking it again and again until the facts begin to morph into something ugly. I, myself, can’t imagine the memory growing much uglier than it already is. But maybe that’s because I think about it a lot.
I don’t tell her that. Instead I just nod and stare drowsily out the window. Dreaming of a time when I can remember what the grass felt like. Or the smell of a summer breeze. I can’t help but notice it, even if they tell me not to. The sun is nearly blinding and I almost wish it didn’t remind me of the lighting in this place.
I have told her this before, I know I have. We’ve had this conversation. But if I ask her I know the answer will be the same. It always is.
‘No we haven’t.’
I try to recall the memory. I want ammunition this time. I want to look her in the eye and be certain that it happened. Drag it back out of the black pit it’s now transformed into and tell her I am myself. I am human. I remember. But I don’t.
Something minuscule first, start with something small and work your way up.
What was she wearing? What was I wearing? Probably the same over-bleached gown I’ve been tying around my midsection for the past month or so. Has it been a month? Has it been longer? The sun feels blinding at this point. I pinch the bridge of my nose, I can feel it coming on. It’s slipping through the surface and trying desperately to formulate a pattern in my brain.
But all that comes is a searing headache.
“You look uncomfortable,” When I glance back up she has her legs crossed while her pen scribbles something hidden behind her tablet, “Are you thinking about it again?”
“I’m trying to.” I admit, but the words come out in a slump.
“Well you shouldn’t. I told you countless times it was an accident, you know. It happens after these operations. Little memories -”
“Excuse me… that was inconsiderate of me to say.” But her eyes tell a different story. “What I’m referring to are the short-term memories. The smaller ones that flit in and out within seconds. Most of us don’t remember them anyways. And you’re best to forget them as well. Focus in on the big ones, the long-term goals. That’s what you came here for in the first place, isn’t it?”
Is it? Because I can’t remember.
“I don’t want to forget them.” I can feel it in my heart now, it’s thudding up against my ribcage and reminding me how helpless I feel in her domain.
“I realize that, but it’s what you signed up for when you took on the surgery. You probably don’t remember much, but we had you sign a contract. Do you at least remember that?”
Unfortunately, I do. Or at least I’ve watched the video long enough to recall.
“How many times have we had this conversation?” I stare at her like a deer in the headlights, trying to focus in on her every move despite the fact it feels like someone’s just hit me over the head with a crowbar. Everything behind my eyes has grown fuzzy. And each time I try to focus on it something smears across the surface like a piece of shit being rubbed into a carpet.
She pauses for a moment, contemplating an answer, I’m sure. So I further her on.
“Be honest with me, Doc. I want to know.” But the look in her eyes isn’t certain, I’m not sure if this will work on her or not, “Please. I need to know my own progress if I’m going to continue making it.”
You haven’t made much progress at all. And that’s a compliment coming from me.
I close my eyes momentarily, or more so they close without my direction.
She hesitates for a moment, I raise my hand off for her to continue. Her voice sounds wearier now but she takes the bait, “To be fair, you’ve stepped up your game a bit. You’re asking more questions, which means you’re more aware than the other patients. You’ve tried since the beginning. That’s all we can really ask.”
“That doesn’t answer my question.”
“I don’t really think much could answer your question at this point. Are you still hearing it?”
“Always.” And it resonates that back in the back of my head. It wants me to be aware, it wants me to know it’s there.
“Does it ever tell you to do things you don’t want to do?”
“No.” It just offers insight, and tells me how much of a manipulative bitch you are.
Don’t get nasty with her, it didn’t work the last time.
The voice resonates…deep. Like a distant echo of one I’ve never heard before. A voice that no-one has heard before.
“What is it?” I choke out.
“It’s most likely you, or at least you in a sense. We’re not absolutely sure yet, we’re still running tests….” She pauses for a moment to tuck a loose strand behind her ear, “If you ask me personally, I’d say it’s your conscience. I think when the chip was inserted it split you almost into two. For some it’s a light and dark side. One wants to cause harm, the other – the you – wants to figure it all out.”
“Mine’s never asked me to hurt anyone.”
And if you don’t listen they will keep running tests until you die.
Her gray eyes look heavier now, like a thunderstorm that’s lost all of it’s lightning.
“Syll,” Her voice is low and soft, much more real than it’s ever been before, “What exactly is it telling you?”
“Nothing,” I say it confidently, assuredly, even if I feel my lip trembling, “I haven’t heard it in over a week.”
– BIATA, ‘from a fictional novel that may be written one day‘