Almost there. He was almost ….there. But not quite.
It was harder then he first thought it’d be. He knew it’d be no walk in the park, but this was more than he’d anticipated.
Besides, he thought, what the hell does “walk in the park” mean? They aren’t normally known for being easy. He knew a few women that were easier to walk on than a park. He also didn’t understand the origins of “drink like a fish.” What’s that all about? Oh well, that’s just the way it is, he guessed, nobody ever questions the words that come out of their mouths. Mindless repetition makes the world go ‘round.
Speaking of mindlessness, back to the task at hand. The undertaking. The hardest part was figuring out which ones have to go. It was painfully obvious that some had to go. They had to be deleted. Erased. Destroyed. But which ones?
For example, there was the time he broke that kid’s nose in elementary school. There they both were, on the playground during recess. The kid was a bully. This bully had been teasing him and getting on his nerves for weeks now. So what if he was a little scrawny? So what if his parents worked long hours and he didn’t get to see them that much? What business was it of the bully’s? So he punched him. With a crowd around them, egging him on, he’d cocked his fist and broke the bully’s nose.
It felt so good. So righteous. He had stood up for himself and showed that he wasn’t a coward. He and his family were strong, and the cheers of the surrounding horde of dirty nobodies, (their faces lost to time), agreed with him. But at what cost?
He hurt the shit out of his hand. It was bruised and stiff for days. And as for the bully, he had been shamed. Brought down and shown to be full of nothing, in front of his peers. His nose suffered severe damage and he had bandages over much of his face for weeks, if not longer. Stright up Owen Wilson nose. He was a laughing stock for the rest of his days (kinda). The bully was lucky that little kids have the memory retention skills of Kardashian fans.
So take that memory as an example, he said to himself. Should it stay or go? It straddled the line of being both good and bad at the same time. Is it in or out? That’s a tough call. He’d put it off, until he was able to sort out the ones that he knew for sure needed to be gotten rid of.
He thought back to what made him originally decide to mess with, (“Alter” is what they officially called it, but he didn’t like that term. It was too clinical, too neat and sterile.) Everybody knows what the process really was; he was messing with his mind, his brain, his thoughts, memories and personality. “Alter” was the wrong word, “messing around” or perhaps even “wrecking” seemed more appropriate.
His original purpose was one of the most typical and base reasons: a woman. He was tired of songs on the radio evoking memories of her. He was tired of scents in the breeze making him whip his head around trying to find the source, because it was the scent she wore. He was tired of situations on tv shows and movies dissecting their relationship so well, and not on purpose. Last week he even saw a girl who wore a similar pair of socks and it stopped him short. Even socks? he thought. Jesus Christ! Who reminisces over a pair of god damn socks?!
He thought it’d be easy to excise her from his memories. But he didn’t realize how much memories were woven together, perhaps even tangled, in the most complicated pattern ever designed. It was like trying to decode the human genome, or trying to take off a chick’s bra with two fingers. Very frustrating.
So far he’d lost all memories of his dog, Jay, that he’d had for ten years. (At least, he thought he had. He couldn’t remember.) Also gone was what his favorite food was, along with any food allergies that went with it. So that would be a fun adventure, rediscovering both. He was also pretty sure that he was an adult, but a few birthdays were missing. And who is Mr. Brooks?
It’s worth it though right? He asked himself desperately. He would no longer remember anything about her or their time together. It doesn’t matter if the memories were good or bad, he couldn’t take the chance, they all had to go. Some sacrifices need to be made. Or else, it’s just a sad, pointless slog through life. Then again, maybe he was just a pessimist. He didn’t know anymore.
Once he’d finished going to town on his memories, he’d be a new person. Make no mistake about that. A new man. Would he be better, or worse? Only one way to find out. And in the end, the funny thing is that all that loss would affect him the least. Because he wouldn’t remember a bit of it.
Wait a minute, what was his name again?