Author : Thomas Desrochers
Thomas began remembering in the middle of the first week of May. There wasn’t a particular reason for it, no epiphany, no aching longing. It was just that Thomas had spent so long trying to forget that the only thing left to do was remember.
Before he purchasing the memory machine he had never done anything notable with his life. He worked long, well-paid hours, and he never spent more money than he needed to. Friday nights consisted of lying in bed listening to music. He had no friends, and to be frank he didn’t want any.
He had loved a girl so much once that her absence still ached in his chest. Yet despite the tremendous longing he had for her he couldn’t remember her face. He spent long hours awake in bed trying to visualize her. He never could.
The night that Thomas finally began remembering was a sleepless night much like the many before he had dreamt of dreaming through. His mind desperately wanted to sleep, but his body refused. He spent hours fighting a battle in his head he knew he would lose. After three hours he stood up, walked back into his kitchen, and sat down in front of the helmet. He looked at it for a while. He listened to the sink drip – it had been broken for a while. The kitchen’s electronics hummed. The city buzzed with the motions of life just outside his window. He listened to these things. They were real things, things that he could hear in the darkness of night. He wondered what they would sound like if they weren’t real.
He put the helmet on.
Thomas didn’t show up to work the next day. Instead he went walking through snow up to his hips on surface of a lake, laboriously wading out letters fifteen feet tall. It took the better part of an hour to spell, “Happy Valentine’s Day.” Then he waited for her on top of a hill overlooking the lake, sitting in the snow and thinking. When she arrived he took her by her dinosaur-mittened hand and took her for a walk. He loved holding her hand. They went out for coffee after that, looking like snow-drenched rats in the clean store interior.
Thomas missed work again the next day. He was too busy for work and instead spent the day out on the trails behind her house. He rode a horse for the first time even though he was afraid of horses. She had wanted him to ride her Hoss, though. So he had, despite his fears. He had never seen her smile so much. He didn’t know it, but he fell in love again. He spent the evening warming up in front of a fire, happier than he had ever been.
The authorities showed up on the third day. They found Thomas on the kitchen floor, covered in his own waste and not moving, face vacant behind the helmet visor. They removed the helmet, but could solicit no response from him. There was swearing, an ambulance, a frenzy of activity.
Thomas died just before eleven in the morning from a severe brain aneurism. The last thing he ever remembered was the sight, sound, and smell of eggs, whipped cream, and waffles while she asked what she had done to deserve breakfast in bed.
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