These are the things you will forget:
You will forget words. No one will notice at first, not even you, because your genius intellect will find synonyms, different ways to say the same thing, your brilliant mind desperately attempting to compensate for the sudden proliferation of broken pathways and failed connections. Your intelligence is betraying you, masking your deterioration while it's still treatable. By the time your brain can no longer compensate -- by the time you are stumbling and hesitating, unable to finish sentences -- it will be too late.
They will tell you it is a parasite. You will have to ask what that means.
You will forget who you are; you will lose yourself, a piece at a time. You will forget your degrees and the prizes you've won, your birthday and your social security number, your high school and the name of your cat. You will forget you like eggs scrambled, not fried, and that you once memorized the Concise Oxford English Dictionary to win a bet. You will forget your triumph when they told you about the stargate and you realized you had been right. You will forget how it felt when, at 36, you fell in love for the first time.
You will forget where you live. You will wander, panicky and lost, until someone finds you and asks you kindly where you want to go. Home, you will say, although you will no longer remember where that is; you will only know it is the place where you feel safe. They will take you to a room where there is a bed and things you recognize as yours but something will still be missing. You will sit on the bed and cry, and they will ask you what the matter is, and you will not know how to tell them.
You will forget science. You will forget the Kaluza-Klein proposal; you will forget quantum theory, M-theory, superstring theory, every goddamned theory; Euler's formula, Schrodinger's equation, Dirac's equation, Breit and Klein-Gordon and Rarita-Schwinger; electrons and protons, quarks and muons; relativity and Einstein and E = MC2; Newton and falling apples and F = MA.
The ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter is the same as the ratio of its area to the square of its radius.
The square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides.
One plus one is two.
You will forget your love of numbers. You will forget how you thought of them as the programming language of the universe, key elements of the base code that describes the galaxies and stars and all that was and is and could be. You will forget how you admired their precision, their rightness, their limitless capacity to make the unknown, known.
(You will forget that you expected him to laugh when you tried to explain this to him, but he only listened, his face serious, and nodded, as if this was something he had always known about you, about himself.)
You will forget your promises, the deals you brokered with your personal gods (science and probability and the rational universe) to keep him alive, and safe, and with you. You will forget what you offered in return for the improbable successes you asked for, and no one will be able to remind you, because you kept your bargains secret. Your hands were fast, but your mind was always faster; you worked your own miracles, time and again, but a miracle by definition opposes logic, and so you always doubted yourself, until the moment of success. But you never doubted him.
You will forget your dreams. Sleep will no longer grant rest; it will only serve to further open up the dark expanses in your mind. You will become afraid to sleep, knowing that each time you wake you will be less than you were.
You will sense, but be unable to explain, the strange inversion which gradually overtakes you. Your waking hours will become dream-like, fragmented and incomprehensible. The rules governing the shifting, bewildering world you now inhabit will be like dream-logic to you, impenetrable and opaque.
Then, you will welcome sleep again, and seek sanctuary in its blank oblivion.
You will forget his body the same way you learned it: inch
by inch, kiss by kiss, one scar at a time. Your lips will brush his neck
and you will feel the circle of puckered skin there and you will pull
back, confused and unhappy at the sudden unfamiliarity of flesh which
you should know as intimately as your own. What's wrong? he will
ask, and you will touch your fingertips below his ear and say, I should
remember, I don't, I'm sorry, and he will say, It's okay, it doesn't
matter, but you won't kiss him there again.
You will stumble when you try to speak; you will mumble, unsure and tongue-tied. Articulating the simplest concepts will be beyond you. You will grow angry and frustrated; you will curl your hands into fists until your fingernails puncture your palms and blood flows. Your misery will only ease when he touches the fresh white bandages and says, I know, I know, I know.
You will forget pride. You will forget arrogance and ego. You will forget anger.
Not at first; at first, you will feel ashamed and embarrassed; you will hide what you can't remember, conceal what you no longer know.
Later, you will rage against this creeping attenuation, like a man who defies the rising floodwaters as the water laps his feet.
Finally, you will know innocence again. You will weep often and easily, not caring who sees. You will laugh with equal ease, delighted by trifles. You will lay yourself bare to the world, and feel no shame at your nakedness.
You will forget time. You will take off your watch before you go to sleep and in the morning you will no longer know what it is for. The days will lose form and structure; they will blur into an infinite present, without meaning or context. No past will define you, and no future will beckon you. You will drift, lost, in a sea of now, with no way of navigating the endless, flat waters.
You will cry when people leave because you will not understand that they are coming back. Every departure will be a death, every parting, grief.
You will forget that there are things you must not do, or say.
You will call for him; you will say his name freely, no longer rationing its use in case the sound of it on your lips betrays you. When he comes to you, you will reach for him, heedless of who can see you, desperate for the comfort and reassurance only he can give you. You will seek his embrace as your last safe refuge from the incomprehensible, frightening world. You will tell him you love him, not caring who overhears.
He will answer, and not care either.
You will forget you ever knew these things in the first place.
These are the things you will remember:
Your mother's voice.
Your sister's tears.