Her Memory

She’d found herself forgetting everything. It was, she explained to friends and families (who didn’t seem interested), like a wall or chasm existed between the answer and the question. She knew the answer was on the other side, but she couldn’t reach it.

This infuriated her. She’d been a five-time champion on Jeopardy! Ask her anything about culture, politics, arts and literature, physics and chemistry, or geography and history, and she could give you a quick, correct answer. Or could. Now it was changing.

She would not accept this. She adapted, because that was her nature, first keeping copious notes on calendars and notebooks about everything that happened. Nothing was too mundane. Updating her calendars and notebooks took from fifteen minutes to an hour every day, and was done as part of her ritual of preparing to retire for the night. Memories of more personal matters were augmented via recordings. The first recordings were done with a small Sony tape recorder. She switched to digital as the technology matured and became cheaper and more reliable. Eventually, she started making digital video recordings and storing them on the cloud. Then she could see and hear herself, reassuring herself of who she was and who she’d been.

By then, she’d retired. By then, her hair was wispy and white, and she wore wigs, out of vanity. By then, she’d buried her third husband and second child, and her parents and siblings. By then, she’d gone through cancer in her cervix and successful treatment, and had a hip replaced after a fall, and was treated for glaucoma, and celebrated her ninetieth birthday. By then, many friends had died or moved away, or were in hospice, or couldn’t remember her. By then, new technology emerged for an augmented digital memory, something like Keanu Reeves’ character had in Johnny Mnemonic. She’d enjoyed the book (by William Gibson) (because she loved science fiction and fantasy), but didn’t like the movie. But then, she’d never been a huge Keanu Reeves fan, outside of Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, although he wasn’t bad in the first Matrix film.

Technology improved. She gave her memory a name, George, after her first husband. George would chat with her about what she needed to know and do, and what had happened, who said what when.

A new product, “Your Best Friend,” emerged. Using smart technology embedded in phones, computers, cars, houses, and businesses, her memory could have a holographic presence and a voice outside her head, almost everywhere, almost all the time.

She loved this aspect. She named her new memory Jean, after a friend she’d lost in her past. She and Jean had shared many good times together, and she thought it would be better to have a dead girlfriend as a faux companion rather than a dead husband.

She and Jean went everywhere together. It was initially a little strange to others and she was self-conscious about it, because it was all new, and others didn’t have virtual holographic friends. Others thought it odd, or that she was weird, or demented, you know, delusional. She was on the cutting edge. If her husband(s) could see her now. Hah!

Technology improved and became cheaper and more prevalent. Soon, many people had such companions, nannies, guards, and mentors. Eventually, she forgot that this was her memory.

Her memory had become her best friend, which, if she thought about it, was how it should be.

 

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