Red Letter Day

Bernard held the letter loosely in his hands. He sat down on his bed, staring at the blank taupe walls of the Renewal center and didn’t look at the letter. Bernard’s Renewalist, Maureen, had suggested he try and read the letter again today. He’d been trying for three hours.

Slowly, Bernard unfolded the letter, catching glimpse of the clean type at the top.

To Myself, Upon My Renewal,
What a strange way to start–

Bernard crushed the letter in his hands, and threw the ball of crumpled paper across the room. He closed his eyes tight and shook his head over and over before burying his face in his pillow. Even with his eyes closed, Bernard knew the letter was there. Waiting for him.

He had to read it today. Maureen had said as much, implying that this was a necessary block he had to get over before they could move forward. He had to read it today.

Slowly, tentatively, as if it was going to explode, Bernard approached the crumpled ball. He carefully smoothed it out, and began to read.

To Myself, Upon My Renewal,
What a strange way to start to a letter. Still, I don’t know of another way to address you. “Clone,” just seems…wrong. You’ve got all my memories, after all. Well, most of them

Which brings us to the reason you are receiving this reintroduction letter. I have not been negligent in my updating. Granted, more than a year has passed, and at lot has happened since the last bit of memory you possess. Luckily, the reason I was renewed wasn’t anything sudden—not an accident like poor Thomas, thank God. I have cobbled together an extensive collection of videos and snapshots and written material to better acclimate you, myself, my clone, me back into the world. But I wanted to start with this letter. Because there is no sense trying to obfuscate why you’re here, in this state.

Eight months ago, Mom died–

With a howl, Bernard tore the letter in half, and then in half again, and again, in smaller and smaller pieces until he couldn’t read it, until it wasn’t a letter, until it was only confetti about his bare feet.

Bernard took a deep breath and thumbed the intercom. “Shelly? This is Bernard, patient number 235674. Could you have Maureen send over another copy of my reintroduction letter. please?”

Shelly’s sunny voice crackled in. “Certainly, Bernard. How far did you get this time?”

“Same place.”

“You’ll get through it. This is just a difficult day for you.”

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