Two Brief Stories About Memory

[I like the idea of really short stories. Here two about memory: false memories and lack of memories]

I was sitting at a park when a young woman and her friend sat at a bench next to me. From the moment that I first saw her, I was struck. Not by her, but by her blouse. That grey lacy blouse, I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I immediately remembered that blouse, and the girl who wore it last summer. I remembered what it felt like to hold her hand, what it felt like to kiss her lips, and most of all, what that blouse felt like to my touch. But, I wasn’t transfixed because I was so sad that it had ended, or because I was fondly thinking back. I was stunned because none of it ever happened. That girl had never kissed me, we had never held hands, and I never touched her blouse. Sure, one night we spent drinking too many beers and talking. Even though nothing else happened, I have memories of so much more.

There is an old man who had lost the ability to to form memories when he was young. He was completely lucid and intelligent, but in all the 40 years his brain had been ill, he had only one thought: how lovely, that I am finally conscious now. For the first few months, he spent his time elatedly talking to everyone around him that the haze was finally lifted, that he was a person again. His excitement was so genuine that his wife didn’t get sick of the yelps of joy until the fourth month. Who could have blamed her for leaving him? Without the constant company of his wife, his doctors gave him a diary. He has spent the rest of his life breathlessly repeating the same actions hundreds of times a day. He first crosses out the last line written in his diary, chuckles to himself, and writes the time followed by “This is the moment when I am finally awake.”

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