Machines

Author: Elizabeth Hoyle

“Do you remember me?” The machine they were strapped to was hot.
“No. Do you?”
“No.” They were silent for a long moment.
“What are we going to do?” The woman could not remember why they were here.
“Well, they said they have a machine that can help us remember. Do you want to give it a try?” The man considered the woman.
“Let’s give it a go. What have we got to lose?” They were shown to the proper waiting room. When they were called in, the helpers strapped them into the machine, seating them side by side. Their gloved hands tut-tutted the bruises that purpled the man and the woman’s bodies. The helmets, when they were finally affixed, were itchy. The helpers had to go out of the room to turn the machine on. There was a soft whirring noise, quite a lot of light, then it was over.
They looked at each other and remembered. The fight, which had grown out of hand too quickly. The miscarried baby that had fallen to the floor after some of the worst pain in her life. His tearful, pitiful attempts at an apology. They had taken steps to get it all out of their minds. The machines had been like the ones they’d just emerged from. The hospital staff had been helpful and understanding, considering it was such a new and risky procedure.
The weight was too much for both of them, though they couldn’t remember it all quite yet.
“This is the remembering machine, isn’t it? Where is the forgetting machine?” He asked.
“Yes, it is. The forgetting procedure waiting room is down the hall, to the left. You’ll probably be there a while. There’s a huge line of people waiting,” a helper said through her face mask.
The man and woman tripped over each other in their haste to get out the door. The path to the forgetting machine was oddly familiar, but neither of them wanted to think about that.

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