Author: Ilias Stroulias

Ever since I was little, bad memories dragged me down like weights chained around my neck.

I still recall vividly that time in English class when the teacher called me a monkey for messing around with my friends. The whole class laughed and all I could do was bury my head on my desk.

This and a host of other memories haunted me for years. Eternally replayed in my mind like that Elvis song my mum was crazy about.

Even something as simple as watching a movie, was hard. All it took was for the protagonist to do something to trigger me. My mind flashed to that time I made a fool of myself twenty years ago and I would cringe or dart my hand up as if to shoo the bad thought away.

Throughout most of my life it was manageable, but in the last couple of years it became too much.

I don’t remember what particular event triggered this. Of course I don’t. But it had come to a state where I couldn’t function.

That’s when I got my implants. With them all you need to do when that bad thought resurfaces is to swipe it away and set it to snooze for tomorrow, for the next week or month.

Long term memory is beyond the implant’s reach. It won’t let you delete thoughts. The memory stays lurking in the bog old memories like to wallow in. But you can just swipe the troubling recollection away the moment it bobs into the surface of your mind.

The joy is that if you swipe one particular memory enough times, the implant learns it’s extra distressing and it auto dismisses it every time.
It’s a joy. I no longer have to endure the consuming panic that engulfed me when some uncomfortable ghost from the past creeped out.

Of late though, I get some strange vibes about one memory I keep swiping away. It’s triggered all through the day. Whenever I idle past that empty room in our house, the one I often wonder why I haven’t turned into an office yet. Or when I see the school buses milling around our neighborhood. Even sometimes when I’m alone while my wife sits in the bedroom looking at old sketchbooks.

Now and then I catch her sobbing. I sense I should know what is making her sad but I dare not ask. As I walk away a memory flitters past before getting swiped away.

It seems to burrow under the implant’s defenses and my heart skips a beat.

Who’s sketchbooks is she poring over? These can’t be from her childhood. They seem new. And we don’t have children, do we?