The Circle Chapter 9: Memories

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This entry is part 9 of 9 in the series The Circle

We stayed in silence for a few minutes, with both Stephanie and Kim laying nude on the bed and my sitting at the end of it, still clothed.

Kim and I made eye to eye contact a few times and it was as if she was sending a message telepathically telling me to just give my wife some time.

And so, I did. I did look at Stephanie a few times, but we didn’t really connect: she seemed lost in her thoughts.

She did whisper some gibberish and some out of context words, but nothing really made sense. She also counted on her fingers are few times and nodded a few times as if she was agreeing with herself.

Both Kim and I seemed to respect her process so obviously, it’s Stephanie who broke the silence.

“It’s really hard to pierce the veil. I have conflicting memories. No, not conflicting memories. That’s not it. Let’s say conflicting emotions about certain memories, and confusion between memories of actual events and memories of fantasies with only one way to tell them apart: by analyzing the memory and seeing how consistent and clear it is, but the first time they turn up, they are as fuzzy and unclear as the fantasies.”

She stayed then, not as much lost in thought as looking for words to add.

“Perhaps you can share a few of the confusion and we can fill you in”, I said.

“Nah. That’s not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is my emotions regarding those memories or fantasies. It’s as if there was two sets of values in my head: one which is ashamed of those thoughts and another which is excited.”

It’s Kim who took that one. “Oh yeah, the slut vs prude fight! I had it as well”. I knew what she was talking about, even if I wouldn’t have thought about it.

“What?”, Stephanie said, with some disgust in her voice.

“No, wait, just listen…”, she said. “So, we are taught growing up that a lot of behaviors in women makes slut out of us. It varies from place to place, but if you summarize, any expression of sexual desire except in a very limited and restrained way as part of a married couple is seen as slut behavior. Men are allowed to express their desires, but any women that does is a slut and thus, a pariah of society. The opposite of a slut is thus a prude woman who is respectable and honorable but oh, so boooorrring.”

I tried to restrain a laugh, but failed. We had had this conversion dozens if not hundreds of time before.

But instead of complaining or saying anything, Stephanie laughed.

“It’s weird”, she finally said. “A few things come as flashbacks, as if you explaining it unlocked the memories.”

I nodded. “This is what they said would happen. The pill actually works by breaking the emotional links to painful memories. It’s really good at it, so you can reflect back to what hurt you without feeling the pain. But what they didn’t know is that it also changes how new memories are linked so that when you stop the medication, those links are kind of severed, at least, temporarily. It’s as if the pill made a fake index file without the painful links, but without the pill, the brain had to re-index itself”

Stephanie looked at me, with an odd look.

“I remember the doctor explaining it to us now! He used the same analogy!!!”

She was exited at it, even clapping her hands.

“It’s weird, I believed you when you talked about the pill, I believed me from the videos, but now, I have the clear memory of the doctor explaining it to us. It’s like, instead of remembering reading about an event, I suddenly remembered living the event”

Kim hugged her, and I got closer to join the hug.

“That’s wonderful. It means that you should be able to rebuild your index completely”

“What did the doctor say again, something like 5% couldn’t?”, she asked.

“Close, he said 5 to 10%, but news reports now say it’s closer to 14%, but they expect the number to drop since for some, it’s just longer”

“So I am fast? I mean, it’s not even a day yet?”

Kim actually replied to that one.

“You know guys, I have a theory about that.”

“You do?”, I said, surprised. I personally didn’t have one.

“I read a lot about the other people. You had decided to wait until the last time possible because you wanted more information”

“That sounds like me”, Stephanie said.

“So far, most of the people who went on interviews who said they didn’t get their memories back are relatively fine with it. I have a feeling that the more differences there are between your pre-medication life and your post-medication, the easier it is. You move to a condo, your daughter moved out. You have a new job, a new girlfriend, a new dress code at home. The brain sees the huge shock between it’s memories of the previous day, which was actually years ago, and the current new memories. While trying to connect them, it finds a bunch of the memories made under the medication and from those memories, it can find more and more and more. But some people kept the same job, the same house, the same routine so the brain has a hard time seeing that there is even a difference.”

I nodded. It made sense!

“That could be it. I mean, it’s not like I have any memories of editing coming back, but I kind of remember making calls for advertising. I used to do editing, but never did ad sales before so the brain is able to see the difference. And why? because I began thinking about what it would be like to work in front of my computer without clothes. Without that drastic change, It would have probably taken a lot more time”

“We are proud of you”, I said, not really sure why.

“So, to get the rest of my memories, I would need to trigger more differences with my old life, right?”

“I guess so”, I added.

“I have something perfect in mind…”

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