Light from a giant screen blasts between two erect seated silhouettes - us. She leans over to me.
"I'm slowly forgetting everything."
I told her it was better than remembering. I told her she was lucky. She asked me what it would feel like. I told her I couldn't explain with words. So I showed her.
We got into a car. Told the driver to take us out into the country.
The sunlight hit us harshly. An unneeded blanket. The wind wrestled with her hair through the window like a cat on a ball of yarn.
We reached somewhere far away and she felt it. The gravel rumbling underneath the tires. It was the rhythmless gargling that accompanies finality.
We approached her home and she said she forgot what street she lives on. But that some things feel right, without being completely sure they're true. That some things can never be forgotten.
Her furniture shared the softness of her glance, and equally as affirming. Being with someone as complete as her would make anyone feel broken. She handed me a cold glass of water.
"I can't tell what I've forgotten. It's as if it leaves without saying goodbye."
"What was it like growing up?"
She remembered, as if spying through the fogged up window of someone else's mind. The burning sensation feet can have in small shoes when running on cement. The frigid green of her backyard in December. How dangerous and comfortable it was to sleep on the stairs.
She said this is how she remembered all things, or at least the things that have signature feelings unattached to anything else. I told her she'd experience all of these things again in the singular even lying ahead of her, even if she had forgotten them.
She drank three glasses of wine and never suffered the effects.
"Would you like some more water?"
I told her I can't digest the water. So there is no purpose. She refilled my glass anyway.
"I like a lot of people but I've never loved anyone like I think I'm supposed to."
There is no supposed to. There is no one watching. Only people waiting. I said to her, wouldn't it be great if she forgot everything insignificant in the world. Everything but me. I wonder what that would mean.
She began asking questions. Finally, I began talking.
"What exactly do you do? Or what is your title?"
I said that they haven't invented a word for what I am. I'm a nameless vessel to what is eventual and inescapable. No one looks forward to me. My face, my hands, my shadow on the wall are all signs of the incurable. That nothing will ever change.
Leaning forward, she grabbed my hand. Rubbed her fingertips along the veins. I pulled away.
Looking away, she asked:
"What does it really feel like?"
"I've never felt it before."
"Who will take you when you must?"
"I don't know."
She closed her eyes. She felt these things: alone at a diner for hours, waiting; quietly standing in a crowd full of chattering strangers; locked out of a car, stranded; a room with no windows, no doors.
I said it'd be best if she sleep soon.
Morning light blasts the drapes between two erect seated silhouettes - she and I.
I know instantly she didn't recognize me. Simply accepted I was there. We didn't speak. The barely audible ruffling of movement spoke well enough. When I felt it was time, I left. She followed.
The driver swung the steering wheel and we sat listening to all of the faint noises that accompany existence. Flags flapping with exhaling lungs of wind. She understood it all so well.
We approached railroad tracks and a rusted bronze train, parked. The car stopped a short distance away. Some trains you don't need to buy tickets for. Just showing up is good enough.
I stepped out of the car and she did the same. Reaching an entry step to the train, I stopped. She walked ahead of me, grabbed the railing to pull herself in. I suddenly took her hand, almost naturally.
She looked over her shoulder, with blank eyes. I let her go, and she stepped quickly into the train.
Standing back, I watched steam spray out of the top of the train, and the gears of the machine begin rotating. The rhythm I had memorized.
The train began moving, soon it was out of sight and around the corner. The next train arrived a few moments later, and stopped. No one got out. No one was waiting. Except me.