If I could erase one memory, pluck a single synaptic strand from the near-infinite complexity that is the human mind and banish it to oblivion, then don’t you think I would? Don’t you imagine, had I the power to do so, that I would use it to excise the specific engrams that represent she who was the only being in all of the billions of this world who cared for me…who understood me…who loved me? The query is both moot and rhetorical for the response is self-evident. I do not do such for the simple reason that I cannot.
Do not suppose my failure has its basis in any dearth of knowledge. My life’s work has been to chart every pathway through the human mind with from its inception to its terminus. The affirmation of my colleagues and even my detractors has confirmed my success in this endeavor. There is no electrochemical response I cannot, with full confidence, chart the progress of, interrupt, route or redirect. In this I have no peer and, most assuredly, no superior.
Have no delusion there is a technological barrier preventing such from succeeding. I hold sole patent to the Annular Laser-Driven Encephalon Neutralizer or A.L.D.E. N. By means of this, I can disrupt a memory engram at its most basic level, dissipating it into harmless bioelectrical energy that is, in short order, absorbed into the field already emanated by all human beings. While clinical trials of the hardware have, in deference to small thinkers, been considerably limited, no negative side effects have been associated with this process in any documented instance. In synopsis, the technology required to affect the erasure is without flaw.
It galls me, a man acknowledged to be of superior intellect and reason, to admit the true reason I have been unable to remove her memory from my, otherwise, uncluttered mind. I have compromised my intellectual integrity, my academic repute and my professional standing for reasons no more valid than rank emotion. To banish her from my mind would be to deny the depth of my love for her in a most cruel fashion. To create, by artificial means, a world wherein she not only does not but never has existed would constitute an intolerable environment for me to continue to function within.
While the conundrum appears insoluble, my intellect refuses to credit such as plausible. In a century of continuous scientific endeavor, I have never encountered a challenge that could not be surmounted through application of analytical deduction and logical process. This case can be treated no differently.
If removal of the single memory will not resolve the equation then removal of all memories is the logical conclusion. To that end, I shall immediately program A.L.D.E.N to run continuous sweeps of my brain until the desired state is achieved. I wonder I have consumed so much time documenting this situation as, within 17.25 hours by my calculations, I shall no longer have any frame of reference to appreciate said notes.
This story was written for the weekly Motivation Monday flash fiction challenge prompt: If I could [erase/change/forget] one memory...