Seashell

It was the end of September, and Kabung was about to experience some mass changes in his life. As the seasons around him were shifting from summer to fall, his life was about to make a change equally as dramatic.


One bright and early morning, Kabung decided he needed to escape the stresses of the world around him; he chose to skip work and make a beach getaway. Kabung enjoyed the common beach activities, such as: tanning, swimming, feeling the sand between your toes, and collecting seashells. These simple yet extraordinary activities helped bring peace to the jigsaw puzzle he called his mind. After having the most relaxing day his memory could recall, Kabung decided to head back; but on his way to back to his "beach spot" he noticed one unique seashell. It was the type of shell that one can hear the soothing sound of the ocean waves in; but this seashell was by no means massive, nor surprisingly small. It was not the most aesthetically pleasing, nor was it amazingly revolting. For some reason though, Kabung felt as if this seashell was placed there for him. Naturally, Kabung collected the shell, but as he went to listen to those ocean waves we are all familiar with, he heard nothing. Instead of being eased by a relaxing sound, he was startled by an unfamiliar vision. Upon placing that shell to his ear and closing his eyes, he saw a scene, as if it was a movie in his mind. He, himself was the lead actor, and the girl in his life who got away was the actor's love. He saw a date scene with him and her together; identical to the dreams he had, had of times with her. In shock of what he was seeing, Kabung removed the shell from his ear and opened his eyes. What had he just seen? Why did he see so vividly what he had dreamed about 20 years ago? Kabung quickly realized that what he saw was not a trick that the shell had been playing on him, but was in fact a memory. It was a memory, as memorable as his first car, but this was a memory he had never experienced. Kabung then tried to remember other experiences with Jihiya, but as he had never had any experiences with her, he could not remember any. So, why is it that now in the vault of his brain there was one single memory of a date with Jihiya, a date that never occurred. This seashell had opened up Kabung to a memory that did not actually exist; and reflecting on what had just happened, placed one question in his mind. "What if we could remember anything as one of our own memories that we personally cherished, even if we never experienced that memory?"


Back at home, Kabung unpacked all the gear he had brought to the beach with him, and then went straight to the shower. A common idea is that we do our best thinking while in the bathroom, and this trip to shower would be very insightful for Kabung. In the shower he was recapping his day, and instead of being relaxed by his trip, he was perplexed by the mysteries of the memory shell. Kabung was curious if he was the only one to see that memory, or if Jihiya had also experienced it at the same moment. He was confused as to what was reality and what was fiction. Although he was strongly skeptical of what had happened and ultimately confused, Kabung was unable to stop picturing his new memory, so to him it was as real as himself. Curiosity quickly consumed Kabung as he was in the shower, and before he could even rinse the soap out of his hair, he was downstairs approaching that shell. With the urge to test the shell's powers again, and the underlying desire to possibly have another memory of his dream girl, Kabung put the shell against his ear. Instantly he was taken to this "dream world" again, that for him was quickly becoming a reality. The new memory that was being formed was again a memory of him and Jihiya, but this one was much more intimate than the first. It was a calming memory of the two of them just relaxing and making out, as if they had been in love for years. It was much deeper than the first, which to Kabung made it feel all the more real. As he experienced this encounter for the first time through this enchanting visualization, it was being formed as a tangible memory, that to him was about twenty years old. All the while though, it was still just a non-existent event. Once the vision ended, Kabung removed the shell and went upstairs to begin his nightly hibernation. When he went to set his alarm clock for the next day, Kabung realized that what had seemed like a couple minutes of simple dreaming was in reality over 6 hours. Kabung went to bed, his mind unsettled by the day he just had. Unable to sleep, he just lay there as a mass flood of memories and thoughts swamped his brain. Finally, after hours of deep thought and confused mental processes, Kabung finally entered that period of ultimate relaxation.

Unbeknownst to himself, the two memories that had been created and put into Kabung's mind over the course of the day, were doing more than just sitting in his brain. They were actually replacing two of his real memories from the same time period in his life. This means that to Kabung those two fake, non-exsistent memories, have become his reality. They have consumed two pieces of his true life, and taken their place. With a consistent use of this memory shell, Kabung could possibly create an entirely new life, and be unaware of the fact that he never experienced those memories.


The next morning Kabung awoke to a soft melodious song on his favorite radio station 98.6, The Buzz. Completely unaware of the altering that had occurred in his web of memories while he was sleeping; Kabung went about his normal morning routine. As much as Kabung wanted to just go escape into the world of the shell, he knew he couldn't. For now, he was still in reality and unfortunately that meant he had work. Throughout the drive to work his only thoughts were: "what more did that shell hold in store". Could it continue feeding him dreams of Jihiya, and soothe his inner starvation for his dream girl? As Kabung pulled into his assigned spot at work, he was strongly tempted to just head back home, and further push the boundaries of that memory machine. Although he did not head home, he might as well have, because at work only one thing was in his thoughts. That shell was preventing him from doing job, and brought him to habits he had never been accustomed to before. Instead of the normal hard-dedicated worker Kabung was; today he was a like jumping bean. Sitting in his chair he realized that he had already eaten 5 pencils, and that his leg was relentlessly twitching. Never a nail bitter before, he already bitten 4 nails, and also for some reason today his trash can was filled with 12 water bottles. When Kabung realized how unfocused he was, he decided it would be best to just tell his boss he needed the day off. Kabung went into his boss' office, who was also a good buddy of Kabung in college, to ask for the rest of the day off. Akala responded by saying, "This wouldn't be like the time you left physics class early in college just to go surfing, would it?" As this had always been a joke between Kabung and Akala, Akala was expecting some sort of chuckle out of Kabung. Instead of laughter though, Kabung responded with, "What are you talking about man, I never even did that. Now can I just have the day off, I'm feeling really out of it." Akala, puzzled at why Kabung could not remember something the two of them had always joked about, realized something must actually be wrong. After getting permission to go home, Kabung got straight into his car, and like a Nascar driver, sped home the whole way. Kabung got into his house, and without doing anything else went straight for that shell.


Unable to resist the feeling he got as he used the shell, Kabung grabbed it and pressed it to his ear. Again, Kabung saw a vision of him with Jihiya, a girl that Kabung crushed on in college, and again he formed a new memory. This was the third memory the shell had given to Kabung involving Jihiya, and each memory created a more real sense of love within Kabung, for Jihiya. He was becoming consumed with a girl that he hadn't seen in over 20 years. A girl, that in reality, Kabung had never actually been with, but for some reason he was slowly felling as if the two of them use to be in love. After this third time with the shell Kabung had become hooked to it; and from that moment on, it would be the focus of his life.


Everyday for a month, Kabung would wake up and go downstairs to the shell. Most days he would only eat a few bites of food either before or after using the shell. Some days Kabung would remember shower, but very infrequently. For that month he only left his house 3 times, just to gather essentials. He never checked his mail, nor did he communicate with anyone. His mailbox was overflowing with everything from unpaid bills, to magazines, and his voicemail showed a total of 165 unread messages. Kabung was unaware of what was going in his real life, which was quickly collapsing around him, without his knowledge. Kabung had been fired from his job, and because he had paid no bills, was on a quick route to foreclosure, losing his car, and eventually hitting rock bottom. All of this was going in the real world, but none of it mattered to Kabung because he was the "Shell World".


Since finding the shell, that one day on the beach, Kabung had created a whole new past for himself. Everyday Kabung would use to the shell to encounter a couple of memories with Jihiya, that never actually happened. Then, unaware to Kabung, every night during his sleep those new, fake memories would replace Kabung's old memories. They would become to Kabung, his true past. In just one month, he had formed a whole new life for himself, and erased his previous past. Kabung was under the idea, that 20 years ago Jihiya and himself had been passionately in love. He believed that they had been together for 2 years and were to about to be wed, but were viciously separated by her parents because they disapproved of Kabung. He was still madly in love with Jihiya, but ironically had never actually known her in the real world.


Sadly, Kabung's life did come crashing down. After 3 months of being sucked into a new world, that Kabung now thought to be completely real; Kabung was removed from his house. He had lost everything because he was only occupied by those false memories. The only truth he knew was the lies that the shell had fed him, and due to this, he never noticed what was going on in reality. He never paid any bills, hardly ever bathed, and ate just enough to survive. Kabung had become homeless, with nothing but his shell.


For one month Kabung roamed the city looking for a stable place to live. He found his solace in the form of an alleyway that had an unoccupied bench. During that month, Kabung only used the shell twice. He no longer had the urge to use it, but the damage of the shell was already done. He had already lost his real life and his real past, and now was trying to adjust to his new life and find the love of his past. Little did Kabung know, it wouldn't be long till he found Jihiya, in the real world.


One day in Mid-February, Kabung was out doing his daily begging, when a fellow homeless women approached him. He did not notice the women until he heard her voice. She softly said, "Kabung, my beloved Kabung!" Slowly Kabung realized who was standing behind him, but was hesitant to look because he believed this day would never come again. He turned around and immediately the women fell into his arms. She caressed Kabung, in a manor that a wife who hadn't seen her husband in years would do. She kissed him up and down his body and then said, " It is me Kabung, it yours love. I lost you in the past, but now I am back. My parents took me from you, but they are gone now. We can be together once again, and continue where we left off. It is me, 'Jihiya'."


Kabung had finally found the girl he believed himself to have been in love with; but how is it possible that she is also in love with Kabung. In the past, Jihiya never even knew Kabung, but now she is confessing her love for Kabung and even mentioning memories that the shell had created within Kabung. If these memories were false memories that the shell had created inside of Kabung, how is it that this girl, "Jihiya", knew them too.


After "Jihiya" revealed herself to Kabung, he broke down into tears of elation. The two of them just held on to each other right there on the side of street, as if the world around them was not happening. These two people, who in an imaginary world in Kabung's mind were once in love, were now showing their love for each other in the real world. What was happening with "Jihiya" and Kabung was impossible, because they never had actually been in love. The only love associated with the two of them, was the love for Jihiya that the shell had implanted in Kabung, through memory replacement. Although impossible, it was happening. Kabung and "Jihiya" joined hands, and walked around the city reminiscing the past that never really existed. They spent the whole day discussing what could have been and loving on each other. That night Kabung and "Jihiya" went back to Kabung's house; the now occupied bench in the empty alleyway. They continued to talk there for a couple hours, and then went to sleep. As "Jihiya" slept, Kabung realized there was something he no longer needed. He reached into his backpack, grabbed the shell, and instead of putting it against his ear, he walked to the nearby dumpster and threw it away. Overjoyed by the day he just had, Kabung went back to "Jihiya" and slept peacefully for the first time in four months. Kabung and "Jihiya" lay there sleeping, Kabung in total content, was out for the night; but "Jihiya" woke up once in her sleep. Jihiya contemplated the day she just had, and realizing that she had found what she was searching for, reached into her backpack. She pulled out a shell identical to the one that Kabung had just thrown away, and with little hesitation threw away the shell. Then as Kabung had done earlier returned to sleep next to the man she believed she use to love. For the first time in four months, Jihiya slept peacefully.





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