Memory notably, which I did not think myself entitled to draw upon, will have its word to say, if necessary. This represents at least a thousand words I was not counting on. I may well be glad of them.
– Beckett, The Unnamable
In the palace is a room facing northeast where nine of your friends sit every evening, drinking coffee and eating cherry cobbler, making proclamations on their finances and investments. Two are particularly vocal, arguing over details of the confidentiality agreements they have signed and using the term folks a lot. One has never once opened his mouth in these discussions; another has not spoken in over two years; and still another is deaf, a fact that nearly all the others have chosen to ignore.
You remain in the next room with headphones on, listening to the discussions translated into Polish by a woman with a thick, flinty voice. Every other sentence, she interjects the phrases jestem ruina or jesteś ruina. Even though the translator often sounds offended, you find her voice comforting as the talk gets more detailed.
While you struggle to memorize what your friends say, on a screen in front of you flash updates of their recent personal marathon, weight training, and cycling statistics; various articles on fracking, central banks, the pope, and the Affordable Care Act; videos of 90s hip-hop and straight-edge hardcore songs; tweets from @anarchiv_ebooks; and the lines this email highlights all the things that make you an amazing man, capital gains on volatility, whoa that’s weird, and we all know what good and evil are.
After your requisite two hours of sleep per night, you transcribe their discussions from memory back into English, which you then email to each source for verification. Although you are just in the next room, facing west, the verification never comes, no replies are ever granted.
These emails are printed then, and they are stored in the teak wood chest your father bought at auction in Zoar, the lid of which is emblazoned with Digital Heritage (Dusty Archive). The chest remains in the basement of the palace, next to the sofa where your parents often sit quietly noting down questions to ask you.
You only ever access these transcripts to verify how many times gold was mentioned the previous week, as most of the important lines you can recall at will.
Upon your request, or every two months or so, your mother opens up the chest, binds together stacks of the printed emails with twine, and drops them off in an empty gravel lot by a church to be recycled.