(This story appears on page 50 in Inner World Magazine #16)
Today I set fire to all my memories. Memories of you and I. Memories of me remembering you. Memories of your being with me every day despite our separation years ago. I felt the reassuring clasp of your hand in mine as we stood watching the fire spread to anything and everything that harbored the memories that so marred my mind. Our land burned, the tall grasses that used to hide our intertwined bodies from prying eyes, the twin cottages where we lived and loved, the clumps of bamboo trees under which we spent all those hours talking, the flames removing all color and life and reducing them to charred skeletons. It took time for the fire to burn itself out, especially in those spots where the weight of our memories was heaviest; several hours of raging fire to turn years of whispered conversations under the bamboo grove into so much smoke that it despoiled even the clouds in the sky with soot, with dark particles of fragmented memories. In time and in fire, all the flesh of memories was gone leaving behind only the hollow bones of imagined substance.
You leaned into me as we watched the fire burn itself out, and I felt the wetness of your tears on my shoulder as you whispered, "Free... finally free." I pulled you closer, held you tight against me for a few silent moments before kissing the top of your hair and pressing your hand onto my heart answered, "I carried out your wishes my love, but these flames, these flames did not burn down this heart's desire". Hand in hand, we walked silently through the charred ruins of our former lives all the way to the far horizon. In the blackened sky, our doves, now ravens, struggled in an endless cycle of flapping wings as if held in place by invisible anchors, unable to escape. We watched their struggle to be free for a while before turning back. I could feel your steps faltering and stopped. "All of this," I gestured around us, "all of what was, was not memories." I wrapped my arms around you, whispering "You are not a memory, my love. You are my heart's desire. And all that is born of desire cannot be so easily erased." I could feel your quiet sobbing, your face against my chest as I held you for a long while. Desire surged, and not long after there was a flash of color under the bamboo grove behind you and even from the far distance I could tell that it was back, the big floral-print chair that was our very favourite place to hold each other and talk. The cycle had begun anew.
(*The above story was inspired in part by an SL Sim shown here in two relevant pictures.*)