Monday, March 06, 2006

The Alzheimer's Patient

I watched a play yesterday.

The play itself was not particularly heart wrenching, though the teary-eyed sister in front of me would let out the loudest sniff again to remind me that we all have very different emotional thresholds. Yet somehow, the various implications of the story cast me into another bout of helpless reminiscent.

Sitting in the passenger seat watching a drenched KL street scene passed by in a blur, it was like witnessing my own play being staged right on the windscreen, yet again, like the long shadows of a sunset that stubbornly clings on to you no matter where you turn, except that perhaps a sunset does not last as long. I blinked helplessly wishing that I would snap out of it, yet how do you escape the sun.

The play told of a young man suffering from Alzheimer’s who would forget his way home every time it rained. During a similar episode one afternoon, a passer-by came to his rescue with an umbrella and they fell in love. The story ended tragically with the rescuer killed in a horrid accident, and the Alzheimer’s patient would go on with his life unable to recall even his name. Memories, it seemed, were mere waves on a vast ocean that would sink without a trace as quickly as they had risen. It didn’t matter if it had reached a record-breaking height, or if it rose in a peculiar way no other waves had risen before it. It was just destined to follow the law of the gravity and return to where it belongs.

In a cruel analogy in the play, the Alzheimer’s patient’s painstaking effort to document his memories in a laptop became fruitless when a malfunction wiped out all data. And he could only watch and wait helplessly as the disease ripped him slowly, piece by piece, of all his most precious moments in life. They may be heart-warming recounts, painful recollections, or life changing and defining instances, yet they deserved only the shortest of existence.

We all too, I realised in the end, suffer from Alzheimer’s. Just like the lead character in the play who would go on to forget the most profound love in his life, we shut down our mental facilities selectively and decide to forget many things, like the guy whom we have confessed our love to, or the one we have promised not to forget, or the one whose life we had gone all way out to destroy. Perhaps you forgot how much it meant at that point in time, but the disease has no cure, and you are just a helpless wave destined to return to the ocean.

I remember I have loved a man.

I remember I have loved..

I remember I have..

I remember..




Anonymous said...

I remember not...


greateastern26 said...

How happy is the blameless Vestal's lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray'r accepted, and each wish resign'd.

Quoted from the movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
About a couple (Jim Carrey and Kate Winslet) undergo a procedure to erase each other from their memories when their relationship turns sour, but it is only through the process of loss that they discover what they had to begin with

bravingkl said...

interesting concept, but there are no sweet memories without sour ones.

greateastern26 said...

did love need a reason?

lawboycool said...

cant tell u how much i love this article

bravingkl said...