Author : J.R.Blackwell, Staff Writer
“Seven months after the Storm latched on to her memory, she didn’t know my face. Four months later, she forgot me entirely. A month after that, she forgot everything.” Jacob lowered his head. It was his day to speak at the Storm Virus Survivors meeting, and he had chosen to appear as a Dragon, to give himself a feeling of strength. He curled around the other seated Avatars, his tail tapping nervously, his claws crossed neatly, like the paws of a cat.
The support group met in one of the freeware preconstructs. It was a field on a spring day, in the middle of which were comfortable, hand carved wooden chairs arranged in a circle. It was a preconstruct everyone had seen before, meant to sooth. To Jacob, it seemed cheap. Jacob was an artist, he designed the constructs that people lived in. His Avatar, the rippling dragon, was a the most complex in the group. Most of the others chose just to replicate their physical forms.
Jacob sighed. “I don’t want to remember her that way. I want you to think about a year ago, her life after he knew she was going to be erased. She held on till the last moment, she kept her joy with her. When she could, she would tell me everything she remembered about how we met. She came to treasure her memory in a way so few of us appreciate.”
The leader of the group, an Avatar in a long white dress, spoke. “Did she Reboot?”
“Eventually, she had to. Storm invaded her system and erased her memory, everything she’d ever known.”
“Are you two still together?” asked the group moderator, Mary-Anne.
“No. After she Reboot, I left. She had family to take care of her.”
“Why did you leave her Jacob?”
Smoke curled out of Jacobs nostrils. “Everyone says they’re still alive because they can Reboot, start over. They are wrong. Reboot, and her organic childhood is gone. Reboot, and I never held a candle with her in n-shaped e-space. Reboot, and we never tried on those bodies so we could experience a summer day in Maine. Reboot, and the woman that was is gone. Mimi is dead.”
Quinn raised his hand. The group leader nodded at him. “Have you tried to contact her?”
“I don’t know the innocent person that walks with her pattern. I only know the loss that burrows in my being, at every decision I make, at every moment.”
Mary-Anne nodded. “I’m really glad you chose to share Jacob. Does anyone have any thoughts they would like to share with Jacob?”
Quinn raised his hand. “I know I’m not supposed to give advice, but I just feel like, if you liked Mimi before, you might like her again. I mean, maybe not, but it’s worth a chance, right?”
“Thank you Quinn,” said Mary-Anne.
Jacob shrugged his massive shoulders. “It won’t be the same. She’s changed.”
“We all change, even without Storm, we change. Why not take a chance? You might like this Mimi too!”
“That’s enough Quinn,” said Mary-Anne. “No advice.”
“It’s just, when the Storm took my memory, my friends stuck by me. It meant so much to me. I know you are afraid, but she needs you, and you may be giving up a big chance.”
“Quinn, this goes on any longer and you’ll have to be excused from the group.”
“No, I think he may have a point,” said Jacob. “I was so afraid that the new Mimi wouldn’t love me that I couldn’t take a chance on her. She needed me, and I abandoned her.”
“There is still time!” said Quinn.
“That’s it,” said Mary-Anne. “You are out!” Quinn disappeared.
“I’ve got to go too,” said Jacob. “There’s a new person out there I need to introduce myself too.” Jacob winked out of the group to meet his ex for the first time.