What We Remember Is Not What We Forget
Conversations with a Character
"Do you remember me?"
She twirled her hair with her long finger. I noticed she still stood on one foot, using the toe on the other as a sort of balancing fulcrum point. One slight push and down she would go. Or perhaps she would begin dancing on a moment's noticing, balancing on air.
It was true. I remembered her clearly, just as I had created her. She looked the same. Wavy auburn hair. Faded blue eyes. A nose slightly twisted at the end. A smile bordering on sinister.
"Are you sure? You look ... doubtful."
"I'm sure. I'm just remembering. That's all. It's been a long time."
She moved her body, shifting weight to the other foot now.
"And the story? Do you remember the story?"
Ah. Now. The story.
"Not well," I admitted, sheepishly. "I remember that I could not find a way to finish it. The story, I mean. I reached a point," and here I hesitated, trying to grab hold of the past, "and could not see the way forward."
She nodded. Rather sympathetically, it seemed to me. Which was rather generous, really.
"Where have you been?" I asked, quite curious, in fact. Where do characters go when writers let them linger in unfinished stories?
"Here," she said, pointing rather aimlessly, "and there."
"And now? Why have you come now?"
She put both feet on the ground now. She increased the twirling of her fingers. Her hair, braiding and unbraiding, as if her thoughts were manifest in knots.
"Oh, I'm just visiting. Just wondering how you were doing. Wondering if you were still writing."
"I am. Just not your story."
I saw a flash of something in her eyes. Not quite disappointment. Something.
"And will you? Ever finish the story?" she asked.
Would I? Maybe. Maybe now.
She nodded, fading a bit.
"Don't forget me," she whispered, and I nodded back.
And then she was gone.