Iris sat at the table for a while, dazed, and then she rose and went to fetch her coat. She buttoned up and stepped outside and walked out onto the humming streets in the evening rain.
She went to Lewis’s shed. She had not been there for months, having seen him regularly at the bookstore and around town. Lewis did not hold the same aloofness and distance as before, but there was still a shine and electric glint in his eyes. His shed was still messy, but it had become an organized hullabaloo.
Theo had changed little. He panted and thumped his stubby tail and sniffed and whined by the door as Iris walked in.
“Hi Lewis,” said Iris. “How are you?”
“Fine, fine,” he said absentmindedly. He did not notice that she was soaking wet. “Good to see you here at last. There’s so much to do. Have you heard of this new species of mammal discovered in the Amazon? Fascinating thing. I wonder what they think of being given names at last. Names are important, aren’t they? They feel so real. Well, to humans, at least.”
“It sounds quite interesting, but that’s not what I came here for.”
“Yes, sorry, please tell.”
“Mira came by today.”
“Amaya’s here?” Lewis turned from his desk and stared hard at Iris. His hazel eye darkened and his blue eye glistened.
“You know how it is,” Iris replied. “Time likes to tear people into fragments and memories. She left an hour ago.”
“I’m sorry.” His shoulders slid down. “I wish I could have spoken to her.”
“I know, Lewis. You would have said good things.”
“Mad things,” said Lewis. “I seem to run into madness more often as I try to understand sanity.”
“There’s something changed about you, Lewis. What is it?”
“Haven’t you noticed? I’ve got a new coat.”
“That’s funny how you didn’t notice. I suppose we see each other more often now that our images have become engraved into memory.”
“I suppose. How is your work?”
“It’s all right. But it hasn’t changed much, though I can’t seem to remember what it was like before.”
“That’s how it is, right? You don’t feel the change until you realize that you’ve forgotten the old things, the old smells and places and people. The only thing you know is that you’ll never go back. God, I hate it. It hurts like hell.”
“You are forgetting,” said Lewis, “one crucial part. Yes, you may never be able to go back. Anything fleeting tends to taste of bittersweet nostalgia and remorse. You’ll learn that, someday. But let me tell you something. You, Iris, have had good memories. My dear, what a life you’ve had, and what a life you will have!”
Writing month, day thirty, word count: 29,014
(Tentative title drop, taken from one of the characters. The storyline is finished, but the writing is rough and there are some holes that need filling and polishing—I’ve still got a long way to go, but oh am I happy that I’ve come this far).