Monday, Jan. 31, 2005 - 8:47 p.m.
The pharmacy is one of the larger ones with a photo-developing machine, which in a sense, is a printer of visual memory. A woman orders twenty copies of the same photograph; it is a portrait of her dead husband. She feels a sense of comfort as she takes the photographs out from the envelope and looks at a familiar visage. She intends to pin his photograph all over her home. But this is only a temporary solution, because when the visual becomes unlinked from its memory, the face in the photograph will, to the woman, slowly change in appearance. Day by day, the face printed on the glossy paper will become less familiar until at last, the woman enters a house whose walls are filled with the many faces of a stranger.
The woman enters the pharmacy again, and the pharmacist asks, back for those memory-loss pills? The woman looks much weaker than the pharmacist remembers her. This time, it is the woman who shakes her head. "No," the woman says, "give me the melatonin and the sleeping pills. Give me the obliterating sleep so that I can forget what I cannot remember."