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Today’s client is a tall girl. Long blond hair, almond-colored eyes.
She’s nervous; she continues to drum with one heel of her foot, and she’s biting her lip regularly.
She’s impatient; she looks down at the watch often.
But more importantly, she’s hopeful. And far be it from us wanting to disappoint a customer’s expectations.
I enter the room.
<<Hello.>> i greet her.
As soon as she sees me her eyes light up, and she stands up with a snap <<Hi! Good morning.>> she greets while extending her hand to salute me.
<<I read your report. >> I begin talking, sitting in my place.
<<Yes.>> she nods, sitting back.
<<As you may be aware, we cannot carry out this operation without a valid reason due to legal constraints.>>
<<I know, but haven’t I already provided all the necessary information? The only thing left is this interview, isn’t it?>>
<<Yes. A little interview, nothing special. It shouldn’t be too specific either, we just need few more details. But keep in mind that everything you say will be recorded.>>
<<Good.>> I hand her a sheet <<You should already know this, but I will repeat it. You will now proceed with the forced removal of certain memories, but you will not only lose visual information but also sensory information. This means that smells, colors, sounds, emotions and even thoughts could be erased. But if you want you can decide to leave some parts of your memories intact , such as faces names and specific events.>>
She nods <<Okay.>>
<<Great. >> I take out my pen and my notebook <<So … you asked us to remove the memory of a specific person from the mind. The subject in question is a man with your same age if I’m not mistaken. You has known him since elementary school.>>
<<The reasons you gave us are sentimental. You want to forget the feelings you had towards him. Right?>>
<<Good. Tell me a little about how you met him.>>
She sighs <<Well … as you said I have known him since I was little. We were classmates. He was a child full of friends while I was the typical quiet girl. He lived near me though, so starting from middle school we started walking back from school together.>>
<<And by doing so you had the opportunity to know each other better, right?>>
<<Exactly. It was the only time during the day when I could talk to him freely, without his friends around. It was just the two of us … and he was very kind towards me.>>
<<This means that you two didn’t talk often in class … right?>>
<<No. He was friends with everyone so he always had someone more fun to be with. He knew many children from other classes too, so even when we were in the garden after the lunch break he was surrounded by people.>>
<<I understand.>>
<<Anyway… I’m afraid it all started during that time in middle school, on those walks we took from school to home. I was very shy, but he always encouraged me to talk to him. He was always smiling, cracking jokes, and he even bought me an ice cream once.>>
<<Oh … he was a gentleman.>>
<<So it’s in that period that you have developed feelings for him, right?>>
<<I suppose so.>> she sighs with desolation <<However he had already kissed someone. In the mouth. And there were other girls who courted him, so I never talked about my feelings with him, also because I could only talk to him during those afternoon walks … and they were pretty short. Ten, maybe twenty minutes of walks. No more.>>
<<That situation lasted for all the middle schools. >> she continues <<The first year we limited ourselves to talking about school, unpleasant professors, subjects to study for the next day … from the second year we started to open up a lot more though. I discovered his passions and he discovered mine. >>
<<You have become friends.>>
<<Yes… but no. We didn’t talk much in class. His group of friends wasn’t for me, and I wasn’t for them. And we never contacted each other outside of school, so I never saw him during the summer holidays, even though I couldn’t stop thinking about him.>>
<<I can imagine.>>
<<He would always return from his holidays with a deep tan and slightly sunburnt skin, and my heart would race every time I saw him. I couldn’t help but steal glances at him whenever I had the chance.>> she hesitates a moment and her gaze becomes a little sad <<I remember that one day … I was sitting at my desk, and he was in the desk attached to the window. Feet on the table, phone in hand, face lit by the sun… he was simply stunning, and I have this memory of him saved in my mind because that was a particularly beautiful day. The professor was absent and there were few kids in the class, so everyone was quiet and everything was calm. And I looked at him secretly for the entire hour. >> she says with melancholy eyes << I miss those days. Next to me was my best friend. She tried to distract me from him, she wanted to talk about the last book she had read, she wanted me to give opinions about it, but I couldn’t help but look at him and just dream … lost in his beauty … yeah, those were good times.>>
<<What happened then?>>
She shakes her head <<Nothing special in retrospect. He turned and caught me staring at him. I immediately moved my head in shame, but after two minutes I couldn’t resist and looked back at him. And he was still looking at me.>> she says with a slight smile <<He waited for two full minutes. And when he saw that I was looking at him again … he smiled. Gently. And happily. As if … as if he was happy to know that I was looking at him.>>
<<Did that smile mean a lot to you?>>
<<Yes … That smile had made the whole day memorable. I still remember it after all. And still dream of it. Still think about it. And it still makes me smile… and cry. I mean … he caught me staring at him, but instead of ignoring me he waited for two minutes for me to look at him again so he could smile back … and I smiled back too! We looked into each other’s eyes for… I don’t know. I don’t know how much. Seconds that seemed like years. >> she says, while her voice becomes emotional <<Oh my God … every time I think about it my belly tightens. Maybe because he was handsome. Maybe because I made a thousand mental films out of that smile. Maybe because I’m just stupid … but that smile didn’t make me sleep that night. I thought about it, and rethought it, and rethought it again … and once I fell asleep, I dreamed of it. And …>> she freezes for a moment <<when I woke up the bed was stained with blood.>> a nervous smile escapes her <<It was the first time this happened to me. And it happened because of him, because I thought about him all night. Can you believe it?>>
<<Of course I do.>> I reassure her with a delicate smile.
<<Yeah …>> she sighs <<what a stupid girl I was.>> 
<<The middle school eventually ended .>> I say after a while, to encourage her to go on with the story since she was remaining silent.
She sighs again <<Yes.>>
<<And what happened between you two after that?>>
<<I hoped for our last walk together. But it didn’t happen. He went to celebrate the end of school with his friends … rightly so. And I went home alone.>>
<<Never seen him again?>>
<<Of course, I saw him again the following year in high school. I had chosen the same school as him, hoping to walk home with him again. Looking back, I have to say that my decision was very, very stupid.>>
<<Let me guess … those walks didn’t happened again.>>
<<Absolutely not. In the morning I went by car and he was on foot. During the return he always went somewhere else with his friends … and the few times he came home on foot he was still in the company of someone.>>
<<What about your relationship with him in the classroom? Were you still friends?>>
<<Friends?>> she reflects for a moment <<He would at most acknowledge my presence with a greeting, but that was about it. We didn’t really talk much. Sometimes he would ask me for small favors, like coins for buying snacks or maybe some sheets and pens… But other than that, our interactions were non-existent. Those days I also made more friends, so I often stayed with them while he was always with his group. Eventually, he got a moped at sixteen, and since that day our interactions outside of school dropped to zero.>>
<<Yet you continued to think about him. >>
She gives a half smile <<Did I already say he’s handsome? In class he always stood out, also because he was very good at school. Me … not too much. That school wasn’t for me. I went there just for him after all. How stupid … >>
<<Did you complete it though? The school I mean.>>
<<And did you settle well inside it?>>
<<Yes … more or less. Never argued with anyone, never made dramas … and the professors were satisfied with me.>>
<<And this boy here … you continued to see him after the school has ended?>>
<<I …>> she sighs <<no.>> she admits <<After the high school he disappeared. I only see him on social media, but I don’t write to him. And he doesn’t write to me. We are no longer friends. Our “relationship” ended with the middle school. And the last thing we talked about was …>> he smiles wistfully <<the science homework for the next day.>>
<<Got it.>>
<<I got engaged at the university.>> she speaks with renewed energy <<My boyfriend is really nice. He is not as beautiful as he is. He is not very athletic. He’s not too good at school either. But he makes me smile! He always has a joke to share! >> she says, letting a smile slip away <<He is …>> she freezes for a moment <<I think he feels the same way about me. I’m not the best, but I’m the best he could have. And I think the same about him. He’s not perfect, but he’s not bad either.>>
I nod <<But then … why does you want to forget the person you told me about? If you no longer sees him, where is the problem?>>
<<I saw him again the other day. From afar. Under the sun. He was laughing. He was with friends, and probably his girlfriend … He … he’s handsome as usual. And seeing him smile reminded me of that day in middle school … the day I made all those mental movies, the day that it doesn’t want to leave my mind because of a stupid, single, smile.>>
<<And how did you feel seeing him again?>>
<<Bad.>> she says <<I felt bad because I thought about how … how nice it would be to be a little prettier. Pretty enough to be accepted by his group of friends. I thought about how it would be nice to be a little more outgoing, a little more nicer, a little more funnier, or smart, or … interesting. And I thought about that day …  the day that will never come back. Because yes, it’s true, I can try to put on better make-up, dress better, go to the gym … but no matter what happens, I will no longer be on a school desk thinking about nothing with my best friend next to me and my secret love across the room. Even if now I were to become the most beautiful and interesting girl in the world … it would still be too late. Because in the end I don’t care about being wanted by males, I don’t care about being popular… I’m only interested in him. I wish he was my first kiss. I wish I had him in my house doing homework together. Talking about the future together. To worry about the subjects to study together … to fantasize about the world together. But we are adults now. Even if we were to get engaged by magic, it wouldn’t be the same. Now it’s too late to dream, to be “stupid little teens” doing “stupid little things”. We are too old for that. So … I felt bad because I felt like I had lost. Lost opportunities, lost time, lost him and the five years of high school that I made just to be able to see him every damn day … I lost everything.>>
<<You are still very young though.>> I remember to her.
<<Yeah. And that’s the problem. This life gives you the best years when you are ignorant and stupid. And when you grow up and finally understand something… it’s too late. Because now I have to study. And to work. It’s not like when I was in middle school, when I didn’t have to do anything. University it’s not like high school, which was easy. No. Now in class I don’t have time to watch the boys, I can hardly watch the teachers as they explain …>> she sighs <<I … the point is that I’m engaged. And the guy I’m with is really special. I would like to love him as I loved the other one. I would like to see him as I saw the other. I do not find it right that while I … >> she hesitates a moment before continuing, then resumes speaking in a lower voice, as if she does not want to be heard by anyone, not even by me <<that while I masturbate I think about this guy. You understand? I don’t masturbate thinking about my boyfriend … I do it thinking about the childhood crush I haven’t seen for years, because in the end, as much as I try to ignore it, that guy is really … better. He is not only more handsome, but at school he always did well, he was loved by everyone, followed by everyone, and even in sports he was one of the best!>>
<<I understand. But perhaps you should consider the fact that this boy is not so>>
<<I know.>> she cuts short <<I know what you want to tell me, many have already said it. And you are right. Nobody’s perfect, not even him. But the point is that although I know that he’s probably not perfect … my heart doesn’t. I still dream of that smile. I still dream of that class. I still dream of that day. I still lose blood on the bed when it happens. And I’m tired. I want to forget it. He stole my heart that day… and I want to have it back. I want to get it back and give it to whoever I say. To my boyfriend.>>
<<Very good. What exactly do you want to forget about him? The face? The fmotions? The feelings? >>
<<Everything. >> she spits <<He must not exist.>>
<<Do you want to completely eradicate that person from your mind?>>
<<Yes. Completely.>>
<<I don’t recommend it. Mutual friendships, relatives … he himself could end up meeting you and at that point there would be a problem, do you understand? Additionally, from a legal standpoint, we can’t erase someone’s memory of another person without informing them.>>
<<That means … that you will tell this to him?>>
<<Exactly. It will arrive a letter to his house saying that you have chemically forgotten that he exists. He won’t know the details or the reasons, but at least if he ever sees you again he won’t take the risk of running into your face saying hello.>>
The girl thinks about it for a few seconds, then she sighs <<Are there any alternatives? I don’t want him to go tell his friends about such a thing. I don’t want to run into him without realizing it, nor do I want him to… do weird things. I don’t want that once forgotten he comes back to me just to be remembered or something like that.>>
<<We can prevent such a thing very easily. We can put an instinctive revulsion into your brain for that boy. Even without remembering him, you will avoid him.>>
<<Uhm… well…>>
<<And there is also a more discreet alternative.>> I add.
<<That is?>>
<<The removal of only feelings and emotions.>>
<<Wich means …?>>
<<You will remember him. You will remember that smile. Your adolescence. Your walks. But your brain will not be able to recall the emotions or feelings that it had or is currently experiencing. In short, that boy will become like the uncle you saw as a child, the one you remember but who, in the end, doesn’t mean anything. Got it? He will be… like those people you see on the street. You are consciuos of their existence, but you doesn’t really pay attention to them. He will become … irrilevant.>>
<<Oh … and in this case he wouldn’t be warned, right?>>
<<Exactly. He would not be informed about this operation.>>
<<Uhm … okay. And … about the feelings …>>
<<Do not worry, you will still have feelings for your current boyfriend. Nothing will be altered. The only things to change will be the feelings you have towards this specific person. >> I explain to her << Describe that smile that torments you so much.>>
<<Well … I’ve already done that. It is … very beautifull. Sweet. Under the rays of the sun, therefore also shining … unique. Far. Too far for me …>> she sigh << I don’t know … what else could I say? Fantastic? Angelic?>>
<<Good. Now think of the smile of an ordinary person that you saw on the street, and describe that.>>
<<Well … it’s just a normal smile. >> is her reply.
<<Exactly. “Normal”. After the operation that “angelic smile” that torments you will become just an “normal” one. Forgettable. Relatively useless. You will remember him when you’ll see him on the street, but you won’t remember loving him, nor will you remember ever feeling anything for him. You will see him exactly as you see all the other people, and if he is as handsome as you say you will see him as one of the many “cute guys” walking down the street. And if he’s really as beautiful as you described him to be, then you will look at him a few seconds longer than normal, but in the end …>>
<<In the end I will look away. >> she ends the sentence <<Just like I do with all the other “cute guys” I meet on the street.>>
She smiles, with a hint of relief and happiness <<Thank you. >> she says <<That smile … it was no longer making me smile.>>
I close the notebook on which I took the notes <<Good. I would say that we are ready.>> I stand up <<Please, follow me.>>
<<Yes!>> she gets up in turn <<Let’s go. I’m ready.>>