by Connor Zimmerman ’20
“What if you could take away your deepest regret?” I stand there looking at the billboard with the sun shining on a laughing couple at a picnic. I stop and look at this billboard every day. It’s basically become ingrained in my mind. Her perfect smile and his little laugh, images of a world so far removed from my own. Jealousy begins to grow within me as I prepare to finish my walk to the tavern in anger.
“You know, it really does work.” I turn around, surprised to see a brunette woman behind me.
I ask her, “What works?”
She smiles and says, “The Resurrection Procedure. I remember being miserable for a long time, about what I obviously cannot remember. But the second I did that procedure, I felt like the weight of the world had been lifted off my shoulders.”
She begins to walk away. I’m about to chase after her, but I notice a clock hanging from a nearby store and I realize I’m late. So I begin to walk in the opposite direction.
I eventually come to McShane’s Tavern. I head to the back and see Jimmy and Matt at the regular booth. I toss my briefcase inside the booth and join them. With a half empty pitcher, I pour myself a glass of beer.
“Joey, perhaps you could settle this little debate between us,” Matt says.
Before he can finish that thought I blurt out, “I’m going to actually do it. I’m going to go through with the Resurrection Procedure.”
Silence permeates the booth, as both Matt and Jimmy take a long sip of their drinks. Jimmy is the first to speak, “You know, Joey, we realize you’ve had a rough couple of years, but I don’t think this is the answer.”
Matt jumps in and replies, “C’mon, Joey, those people never come out the same.”
I finish my drink and bang the glass on the table, “Well maybe I don’t want the same.”
Jimmy grabs my arm and says, “You had more good times with her than bad. Do you want to erase all of it?”
I shake him off and say, “The good doesn’t matter when its only the bad that I can think about.” I grab my briefcase and walk out.
The sun begins to shine through the clouds on my walk to the clinic the next day. I come to the building, a high-rise behemoth that has “Resurrection” written across it. Across the street is that same billboard with the laughing couple. I walk through the automatic doors and come to a room full of people running around. I walk over to the receptionist’s desk and get a clipboard with papers that need to be filled out.
Hours go by before I get taken into a room. Soon after I enter, the brunette woman whom I had seen the other day comes into the room in a white lab coat. She smiles and says, “I didn’t expect to see you so soon.”
I reply, “Well I would have come sooner if the waiting room wasn’t so busy.”
She laughs, “Yes, well, it is a popular procedure.” She takes my clipboard, and as she looks over the sheets she sits down near a computer.
She says, “Well, Mr. Richards, everything appears in order. So, tell me, what memory are we going to be removing today?”
My hands begin to shake as I say, “My wife.” She nods her head and begins to type into the computer. Stunned, I just sit there silently.
Finally, I work up the courage to say something. “You’re not going to tell me this is a bad idea or warn me or something?”
She looks up from her computer and says, “No, from your file you are clearly above the age to consent to this procedure. If you are having reservations, however…”
Images begin to flash before my eyes: our first date in a restaurant when I couldn’t stop sweating, our first night together where she couldn’t stop smiling, our wedding where we promised to always be together, but it ends the way it always does with her slamming the door on her way out and never coming back.
“Mr. Richards, are you listening to me?”
I look back towards the doctor and reply, “Sorry, what were you saying?”
She shakes her head and says, “Is this something you want to do? Because it can never be undone.”
I turn my head and look back at the billboard of the smiling couple, finally realizing how much the woman looks like my ex-wife. I begin to smile too.