"Flowers for Algernon" By Daniel Keys, published in Fantasy and Science Fiction.
Copyright 1959 by Mercury Press.

April 28

I don't understand why I never noticed how beautiful Miss Kinnian really is. She has brown eyes and feathery brown hair that comes to the top of her neck. She's only thirty-four! I think from the beginning I had the feeling that she was an unreachable genius--and very, very old. Now, every time I see her she grows younger and more lovely.
We had dinner and a long talk. When she said I was coming along so fast I'd be leaving her behind, I laughed.
"It's true, Charlie. You're already a better reader than I am. You can read a whole page at a glance while I can take in only a few lines at a time. And you remember every single thing you read. I'm lucky if I can recall the main thoughts and the general meaning."
"I don't feel intelligent. There are so many things I don't understand."
She took out a cigarette and I lit it for her. "You've got to be a little patient. You're accomplishing in days and weeks what it takes normal people to do in a lifetime. That's what makes it so amazing. You're like a giant sponge now, soaking things in. Facts, figures, general knowledge. And soon you'll begin to connect them, too. You'll see how different branches of learning are related. There are many levels, Charlie, like steps on a giant ladder that take you tip higher and higher to see more and more of the world around yoti. ***"I can see only a little bit of that, Charlie, and I won't go much higher than I am now, but you'll keep climbing up and up, and see more and more, and each step will open new worlds that you never even knew existed." She frowned. "I hope . . . I just hope to God--"
"Never mind, Charles. I just hope I wasn't wrong to advise you to go into this in the first place."
I laughed. "How could that be? It worked, didn't it? Even Algernon is still smart."
We sat there silently for a while and I knew what she was thinking about as she watched me toying with the chain of my rabbit's foot and my keys. I didn't want to think of that possibility any more than elderly people want to think of death. I knew that this was only the beginning. I knew what she meant about levels because I'd seen some of them already. The thought of leaving her behind made me sad.
I'm in love with Miss Kinnian.

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