Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Short Story: Forgotten Remembrance

While I stand on the crowded subway station, she comes up to me.

I've seen her before, always lurking from a distance and biting her lip. But something has shifted. She walks towards me with her chin high and quivering. 

"Do you know who I am?" she asks.

"No." I walk toward my gate. 

"I've known you my whole life," she says. "When we were children, we passed notes in class. And when we were adults, we shared secrets and built a life together."

"I don't remember having met you."

"You didn't. Not in this life."

I bring up the newspaper, not so much to read as to put a barrier between us. But her eyes remain embedded in my mind. Sad brown eyes in a pale green face.

"You don't remember, do you?" she says. "The time when the world was real, when our bodies were physical objects, not images of the mind. Before they trapped us in this prison of virtual reality. I was your wife once."

"I'm sorry," I say. "I don't know what you want."

"My name," she says. 

"I don't know it."

"But you have it," she insists. "It's written in red ink over your heart. You placed it there ages ago, so that you'd never forget me. As your bodies changed, you kept it. I need to know. Tell me who I am." 

I put my hand over my left breast pocket. The tattoo was a relic of my youth, or so I thought. Yet it had some special meaning to me. No matter how many times I shifted bodies, no matter how many old memories were destroyed or deleted, I kept the name upon me. It was the one thing I couldn't bear to lose.

I whisper the name to her.

She smiles. "Thank you."

She fades into the air in the blink of an eye.

* * * 

This story came about due to a 5-minute writing prompt based on the sentence: "That's strange, I don't remember having met you." I'd just added in the sci-fi element when time ran out. I was originally just going to post it in its unfinished state, but I decided to tack on an ending, just for the heck of it. Hey, it's something at least.

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