Author : James Smith

Sarah’s eyes went dim for a second, and I figured she was getting mail. She squinted with one eye and said, “That’s weird. I just… got… headmail from my… from Richard.”

“What’s he say?”

“‘Wanna get dinner? Wear the red dress.'”

“Are you serious?”

“This is crazy…”

The waitress walked by, I beamed her the bill and tip, stood and put on my jacket. Sarah got up with me, looking vaguely distant.

“Are you still reading it? What’s he say?”

“This is just too weird. He’s got a girlfriend now. That’s good… Do I… Should I send it back to him? Let him know she didn’t get it?”

“What? Of course not.”

“Why not?”

“Come on! Two years and he hasn’t forgotten your address? How many times do you defrag your long-term memory in a given year? Two, three times? Or you bog down? Get bottlenecks? And he hasn’t dumped your address yet?”

Sarah walked beside me, thinking. You can tell, somehow, the difference in the eyes, between the look that says, “considering your opinion” and the one that says, “wiring untold megabits of crap through my forebrain, probably porn, please kill me.”

She came up out of it. “So, I should just leave it.”

“Yeah, and it better not be there by tomorrow. Throw his headmail out with tonight’s self-doubts and thoughtcrimes.”

She stammered, looked for a word, didn’t find it, online even, because she didn’t know what she was looking for. So she closed her mouth and we just walked some more.

We came to the store where I’d seen the keyboard we couldn’t afford. I stopped and stared at it, let her walk a few steps before noticing I was gone. Counted the seconds. Felt her come up behind me.

“That the one you were waxing over so poetic last night?”

Sarah came around in front of me and I nodded, chin against her head. I smelled her hair. I watched the keys where our reflections cut the glare on the glass. I tested a palm against her hip, imagined those keys along that curve of thigh and played them, the kind of thing I’d play on a Sunday, the sunlight orange and silver where vertical slivers of sky could reach us. The cat at my heel.

She leaned back into me. I didn’t know if she was thinking about him just then. When we married, we agreed to offline any leftover sense data from past lovers. But he was back in there now. She could re-think his last thoughts to some other woman any time she wanted, and I figured I would have to do something about that.

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