• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 04
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'I think I am starting to lose my memory,' he says. I look at his expression as he speaks. He looks calm and at ease. 'What did you have for breakfast?' he asks. 'I didn't,' I say. He tells me that he has bread, butter, and a cup of hot tea, no milk, every morning. 'Every morning?' 'Every morning.' It is almost ten a.m. and we are about an hour away from our first pit stop. This is the first time I am climbing a mountain in winter, and having company is nice, even if I am not sure what to make of this person with impending memory loss, whose dress sense reminds me of Barney the Dinosaur in the 1800s. We continue our walk, he a couple of steps away, muttering to himself. Time passes and we reach our first destination. We sit on a patch that isn't covered by icy snow, and pull out packed lunches from our bags.

'Why are you here?' he questions suddenly.
'What do you mean?'
'Why are you in this place?' he says.
'Um, I don't know. I wanted to see it?'
He nods. 'I like to see new places too, but I sometimes wonder what the point is when I'm going to forget them anyway.'
'I think that even if you forget, a part of you still remembers. Deep inside.'

We munch our food in silence.

'Is it so bad to forget?' I ask suddenly.
'I don't know,' he says, 'I think it depends on what you are forgetting and whether you want to.'



'I don't think it is bad to forget things, whether we want to or not,' I say. 'To me, what's most important is the experiencing of things as they occur. Memories fade. People leave. Everything comes with an expiry date. If we start to ponder the point of things, it takes the joy out of living. Maybe the point is to simply embrace whatever comes.'

He looks at me for a long time.

'You are right. But it isn't so easy. For some, knowing something beautiful is going to end can feel worse than not having experienced beauty,' he says.

We lapse back into silence. I gaze at the mountain peaks surrounding me. I don't think I have ever been in a more serene place. The whiteness of the snow blended with the faraway green of the slopes and valleys brings me inexplicable bliss. I wonder if I will always remember this moment. I'd like to think so, but probably not. This is okay. I turn to the man with a new thought, but he is no longer there. I look around and spot him about a hundred metres away, heading West. I watch his retreating figure grow smaller and smaller as the distance between us increases.