Ray was a tall, handsome, athletic man in his forties. His wife, Gerry, was short, beautiful, and a few years younger. They had built a life on Earth but were ready to move on to the next phase in their lives. The planet Siphon was several light-years away. Humans lived a hundred years longer there than on Earth because of the atmosphere, gentler gravity, and fewer effects from UV rays. If they left Earth now, they would be in their prime for decades before their bodies declined, but there were risks.
Traveling there was perilous. Cryostasis was not always safe, and some transport ships never made it. The biggest risk was a mysterious effect the planet had on a few humans. Those affected had total memory loss daily. By midnight, they would lose all memory of who they were and who those closest to them were. Ray and Gerry decided it was worth the risk. The transport ship left tomorrow, and they would be on it.
They called planet Siphon home for nearly thirteen years when Gerry began to show signs of memory loss. The specialists ran every test and every treatment, but they were unsuccessful. Within 6 Earth months, Gerry didn’t know who anyone was, especially Ray. His only hope in keeping a relationship with the woman he loved was a recently discovered memory treatment. Every morning, he had to put a device on her temples. The device uploaded all her memories they could salvage from her mind. The treatment had the serious side effect of a shortened life span. Instead of living another hundred and twenty years, she would likely die within the next twenty with daily treatments. They gave her the first treatment so she could give her consent.
“I love you, Gerry. I don’t want to lose you to death, but I want you to know me. I want us to live our lives here together,” Ray sobbed.
“Sweetheart, I will always be with you and I will always love you whether or not I remember you. I want to live the rest of my days knowing you and knowing this disease so I can appreciate my life with you more,” Gerry looked into his eyes with a joyful smile. “I consent to the treatment.”
Ray pressed the devices to her temple and turned them on, just like he had done thousands of times before. Gerry looked up at him, her eyes swelling with tears. “I get another day with you!” she said as she wrapped her arms around him.
Later that evening they were walking hand in hand along a river, staring at the night sky full of nearby planets, an asteroid belt, and the brightest stars you could imagine. It was beautiful, but Ray knew her memories were quickly fading. He stole one last kiss and saw the familiar emptiness in her eyes return as he pulled away.
“Who are you?” she said.