I often wonder if memory wipes are the godsend people consider them to be.
“Are you a victim of trauma? Estranged from the family? Just had a bad break-up? Suffer no more! Get those toxic memories cleared, NOW…”
“…painless hassle-free procedure, completed by a professional at your local…”
“…at MindCleerTM …Satisfaction guaranteed, or get your money back!”
I am accosted by the blaring of memory wiping advertisements (sorry, ‘mind-cleansing’, the current euphemism of choice) as I stand in line for my sky-train ticket. Considering how ubiquitous ‘mind-cleansing’ has become, I doubt the utility of advertising. Hardly anyone advertises plastic surgery anymore.
I hate crowds. All those milling people, wearing the same face: china dolls, jerking along to so many strings. Everyone has a phone in their hands, a re-worked face, and their memories removed. How many people, in these thousands, have the strength to deal with new calamities, without memories of past hardships to bolster them? How many will eventually succumb to euthanasia, when even plastic surgery cannot smoothen out the wrinkles? Is it so wrong to be ‘ugly’, and sad?
Still, I am not one of those new-age emo purists. I do not revel in depression, or consider pain to be anything other than what it is. I just feel that pain is necessary for individuality. Happiness is, and always will be a momentary high.
The sadness in my life has shaped me, more surely than any happiness ever could have. The weight behind my eyes, my dimmed naiveté, the bittersweet nostalgia that overcomes me on sleepless nights make me who I am. I have had twenty-two years to become accustomed to my blunt nose, my narrow eyes that are too small, my mouth that breaks open too wide. As far as I’m concerned, it’s too late to change them.
And besides, I do have a partner. He has never told me why he loves me but he has told me that he does. For now, that is enough.
He will be waiting to pick me up at the station. I can picture him now, in his somber grey slacks and starched white shirt, straddled by the tie at his throat.
The truth is that I do not need MindCleer. He does it for me, for free, every day. I may be a sad person but he makes me laugh. He is a ‘nice guy’ to rival all the ‘nice guy’ tropes in fiction. And it’s not trite because he is real.
As I take my seat in the coach and roll down the window, my mind wanders to our last disagreement. I know that it was my fault, and I still made him feel bad about it. I suppose insecurities can never be a good thing, different though they may be from everyone else’s. Would MindClear get rid of the insecurities?
If you wipe away the source, can you ever truly remove the resultant repercussions in your personality?
My insecurities and inadequacies have shaped my behavior for so long. If the memory of the event that caused them were removed, wouldn’t I wonder why I behaved like that?
Surely not every memory associated with them can be wiped?
Are there people walking around with almost no memories, clean slates with cleaner hearts?
It really doesn’t matter. I should stop obsessing over MindCleer. Not everyone is a cleer junkie.
I stare at the endless seas of blue-green fields below. Windmills loom above me, gigantic spokes racing with the gale. In between the ripping fronds I can see automated tractors; gleaming metal juxtaposed with green. And suddenly, gazing unseeingly at all the orderly mechanical efficiency outside, I realize at least part of the answer to another question.
He does not love me for the sadness I carry, or the so-called individuality I cling to. I want the same things as everyone else: love, acceptance, happiness. My methods are just a little bit different. Perhaps I have never had the need to change. Deep down, I wear a china doll’s face.
He loves me despite the pathetic poetry I write.
I am not his ideal, and yet, he loves me.
And this is because love is not something you can calculate or explain. Self-proclaimed matchmakers are pulling at straws. It does not matter how many shared interests you have, or how interesting your conversations are, though of course these are good things that bolster its foundations.
There is no formula. Love simply is. It is magic.
I smirk at the cookie-cutter explanation I have dreamed up, and switch on my ebook-reader.
AN- I know that this story doesn’t really go anywhere but it was meant to be more like internal dialogue. And besides, I wrote a short story after more than two years. I’m just happy that I could string more than five lines together in a paragraph. Also, I’m not twenty-two. Have a great week!
PS- I just realized that the narrator or protagonist, or whatever she should be called, could be considered to be fairly obnoxious. She is ultimately as judgmental and obsessed about appearances as everyone else in this setting.
It’s just that I’ve noticed that no matter how you try to escape societal norms, they somehow creep into your thinking at some point. One example that comes to mind is ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’. It’s actually pretty racist but for that time and age it was revolutionary. Discrimination begets biases and bigotry (at least in my opinion).
Image courtesy: wallhaven.cc.