thrice great hermes
by stanley lieber
the problem was, it wore off.
seeing the thing was fine, making the realization stick was quite a different exercise. contrary to the cliché, there was no need to "unsee" a thing; as the initial sensation receded, so, too, did its memory.
well, some memories. violet couldn’t shake them all. the question became: was she remembering events, or was she remembering having remembered them? looking at the photo albums her whole life had confused the issue, until she no longer knew what she knew, or how she knew it. what if those people had never existed?
her brother, sl, had said things like that. maybe she was glad that their contact these days was infrequent. so, why did she miss him?
at work, patients (plural) had complained about her hygiene. coworkers had complained that she never pulled her fair share of cleaning duty in the community kitchen. her ex-husband wanted her to take their son for the summer, have him stay over at her apartment for the duration.
she fell back on her reading. she’d begun to keep a log of the titles she completed. at first she tracked the date when she started to read the book. then she realized that it might make more sense to track the date when she finished. she’d tried both, and the log was already a mishmash of different combinations of data points, difficult to collate and analyze systematically. the whole thing had become a burden.
she felt like there was something she had intended to write down. some idea, or realization, or some clever procedural tweak that could be implemented at work, to shave seconds off the department’s response time.
it was gone, now.