"Hey, a mind is a terrible thing to waste, right?"
"It's a terrible thing to give away, too!"
We sat in silence. The windshield wipers kept a steadily losing pace against the rain beating down. The weather had been changing every year lately, with rain coming sooner and staying later, less snow on the hills....I looked out the window rather than at my brother. He was furious, but he wasn't going to stop me. My husband, on the other hand....well, he'd been out of work for almost three years. I had a degree, I was young enough, and now we had an opportunity to move north. I swallowed hard, then controlled my face. All that damn rain....
"I'm definitely not giving it away, you know." I still couldn't look at him. He kept his eyes on the road, but I could see his fingers clenching and unclenching the steering wheel. Trucks full of sandbags were headed in the opposite direction. I knew why, and I also knew that Jim was out there, fighting that losing battle to keep our already-drenched fields from getting wetter. Much wetter. I finally started to cry, I couldn't help myself.
"Bill, what if I forget everything? They say I won't, but I know that they're lying! I don't believe that they can lift a neural map without collateral damage - what if I forget Jim? What if I forget....oh, my god!" I couldn't press my hands in my face hard enough to stop the images of what I'd lose, if they slipped up, if they lied.....the farm. Mom and dad. The animals. Our first disastrous, lovely date. Oh, my god. And then unbidden came all the things that I wanted to lose - the drowned goats, the neighbor's dairy barn floating away, the empty bank account, the look on Jim's face when I miscarried and we couldn't leave because the bridge was out. I nearly died, I don't know why I didn't, and then burying the twins in soggy ground and piling on the rocks to keep them down there in the mud. Oh, yeah, I'd like to forget that. I wiped my face with my hand, pushed back my hair, took a deep breath.
"Bill, you won't leave me there, will you? You'll stay with me no matter what? If this works, we can all leave, you know. You and Marta can come with us. I promise."
Bill gave a sharp laugh. "Will you put it in writing?"