“Feel free here – book bar”.
Yesterday I felt more hungover than free so I finally had to force myself out of the apartment at 10pm to hunt for a dailimage. This is right outside of a café/bookstore that I’ve been telling myself I need to find the time to go to for about a month now…
Anyway, since I’m inviting you to feel free, I’m feeling free as well to post a bit of a weird short story, feel free to read it or not and comment, or not 😉
“I still can’t believe I got used to it so fast…” I said to no one in particular (my cat was on vacation so the apartment was empty), as I inserted my tiny flash drive into the left side of my head, right above my ear. It was a bit weird at first, of course, even though it was something I had always dreamt would one day exist, but it was exactly as I imagined it would be. Better, even. I pressed on the flash drive’s one button and turned my iPad on. Clicking on the little brain icon (original, eh?) at the bottom of the screen opened the flash drive. No one’s iBrain app looked the same, and each person’s iBrain look could differ greatly from one day to the next. My iBrain looked fittingly messy in the middle of this long, sweaty, August night that had sucked more than any other in the past few years.
Having a (slightly) obsessive personality, the invention of the iBrain was like discovering that Santa was real! When I was younger I would dream of being able to record my dreams, or to literally take stuff out of my head like you take out the trash. There was no way something like that could ever be invented, for sure. But Apple made magic happen. At first only for the truly insane, since who in their right mind would let a computer company drill a hole into your skull to place a card-reader in your brain?! But when pretty much everyone survived and the kinks were worked out, the wealthy started to want in. Ten years later, almost everyone in the world has one and the iBrain is now cheaper than the iPhone 22S!
I stared motionless at my iBrain on my iPad to try and figure it out. Technically, the memories and feelings from the day of rest “on top” of the giant mass of stuff your actual brain can contain, but right now one big cloudy mess of flashes of tonight bundled with about a thousand emotions was clouding everything else.
I’m still baffled at how it was even possible for the app’s designers to provide a graphic representation of your brain… Right now the blur from tonight’s event was literally represented by a gray cloud occupying the entire screen, fogging all the other elements, and because it was cloud like, it was hard to grab it and put it in the bin. I could only put tiny strands-of-cotton-like bits, one at a time, it was taking forever, and as I was trying to do this, I was forced to relive the horrible night I had just been through. It had started just fine. I had met up with Leah for our date… The flash of her kissing me hello made me tear up, and from there I couldn’t stop.
I bawled seeing flashes of our dinner, of her laughing at something funny I’d said, of me undressing her… Since I was putting everything in the bin, they were only glimpses, but they were enough. When we got to our fight I accelerated the pace, grabbing at the cloud strands with both hands. The one thing I couldn’t find was what had started the fight… Whatever. It was probably something depressingly unimportant anyway.
I had to stop for a second and go splash water on my face. It only got worse from there and I had to get rid of all of it today otherwise I wasn’t gonna make it through the work day that was to start in… two hours!
I came back in the living room, poured myself one (or was it four?) shot(s) of rum and picked up the iPad again. I saw Leah yell at me, I saw her storm out of my apartment, right after she had told me she couldn’t “do this anymore”, that it was too hard. I saw her eyes, and I felt again what I had felt then: it was the last time she was going to say that. It was the end. I knew her so well, I knew there was no going back. I snatched the last cloud strands and dropped them in the bin.
All of a sudden, as if by some magic, I felt relieved.
When you put things in the bin, they’re not erased. You can still access them. You can still go through those memories as many times as you want. They’re just set apart from the… main drive, if you will, and therefore do not clutter your brain or cloud your judgment. You know they’re there but you can’t access them –unless you specifically want to that is. But if you wish to permanently empty the bin you can. And thankfully, through some sophisticated biometrics engineering, only you can.
For the first time ever, I entertained the idea of doing just that. Removing her from my brain. I couldn’t just delete the fight though, I would have to delete it all. The good, the amazing, the exceptional, the terrible, the sexy, the funny, the delicious, the safe, the nerve-wracking… all of it. Almost five years of love and hate, of breakups and reconciliations. Of life, really. She was the one who had left last night but I knew she had done it for my sanity as much as for hers. We were toxic for each other, but like a drug addiction we couldn’t stop. The cycle would have kept on starting over and over until it left us dead… Unless one of us broke it.
Because the pain was so familiar, because I knew how much time and energy it would require of me, to get over her and make it out alive, I took the most radical decision of my life.
I pressed on the “empty the bin” icon. A menu popped up and the iPad’s camera turned on. I was told to have my left eye face it, while I pressed my right thumb on my drive.
I panicked and clicked on “CANCEL” instead.
Maybe I was being too radical, maybe I could live with all this still in my head… To test this out, I put all that was in the bin back onto the main drive… Wow! It was like getting punched in the face by a fast-forward video of all your memories, kind of like that scene at the end of A Clockwork Orange. I could barely breathe and put everything back in the bin as quickly as I could.
Magic happened again and my breathing slowed down once all the strands had been put away.
I started the emptying process again, this time sure of what I was doing. The invitation to stare at the camera while pressing the drive appeared again.
A new command popped up, a radar-screen-like image with the words “To confirm permanent deletion, press your left thumb on the middle of the green circle” in bright red letters. A bit dramatic, I thought. Below the radar it said “To cancel, simply press the red cross in the top right corner with any finger”.
I put the iPad down.
If I was going to forget her, I wanted to remember that I had erased her. I wanted to know that she had existed. I grabbed a notepad, and wrote of our last day, of our best and worst moments, of our first and last kiss, date, lovemaking, “I love you”, of what had made us feel like paradise and feel like hell… So that I would somehow always know that I had loved someone more than I ever thought possible. But that it had to end and I had had to make a tough and most likely idiotic decision in an instinct of self-preservation.
I pressed my left thumb against the screen. A progress bar appeared and when it reached the end, along came the “trash emptying” sound Apple users know too well.
I set the iPad back on the coffee table. Now across the bin screen it simply states: “Bin empty”.
I feel like I’ve been crying but I cannot really tell why.
Re-reading this page gives me the information I need. You would think reading about what I just did would make me sad but it doesn’t. It can’t. I can only express a very detached “oh well, maybe some stuff could have been kept”, but I cannot truly feel what it means. Because it’s all gone.
But it seems I’m also pretty drunk.
I need food.