“I’m going to forget,” he said to me one day.
“Everything. Anything. I want to clear my mind entirely. I’m going to the river Lethe. Will you come with me as far as the Styx?”
In vain I tried to dissuade him from this goal but he was adamant. So we went to the underworld. He said his goodbyes solemnly, paid Charon, who pointed a bony finger towards an empty spot in the boat. He sat down bravely and for the first few seconds stared stoicly ahead. But then he turned and watched me until I became a small dot in the distance.
Charon returned soon after with no passenger.
“Did he find it? Did he drink?”
“I guided him to it. He drank.”
“When will you go back and get him? Or on your next trip?” I asked.
“He doesn’t remember you or anything about what he’s left behind. He doesn’t remember why he drank from Lethe. He doesn’t remember he was alive. He’s already passed through the gates. I can’t do anything.”
I was not surprised by the answer. He knew, and I knew before we ventured out that this would more than likely happen. But I had hoped that perhaps I was a part of his memory that even Lethe could not wash away.