Toward Non-Volatile Memory
By Soramimi Hanarejima
Once again, you take us on “a short detour to see a memory”—meaning we’re going to visit some event in your past. So, I take a nap. To give you some privacy and get some respite from the strain time travel subjects the body to. I recline the time machine’s co-pilot seat (really more of a glorified passenger seat), and minutes later, my consciousness is dissolving.
When I wake up, we’re still in the memory—or rather, hovering outside its location in spacetime. On the viewscreen, your teenage self seems to be shouting at your mother, arms wide in self-righteous outrage. Both of them are familiar to me, though I have never seen your mother’s face so tense with anger. The hard features of exasperation are unmistakable despite the quality of the image—fuzzy from our vantage point, perched on the periphery of this moment to skim photons off the edge of its light cone. Tears run down your cheeks while you watch this scene just as silently as it plays out. I turn away and close my eyes.
You’re always doing this. Always volunteering us for fieldwork, then taking us to these sad times in your life. Is this some kind of therapy for you—a method for working through regret or sorrow or confusion by confronting the raw truth of the past? Sure, part of me wants to see my youth too, but I’d only go back to the good parts, and even then, I wouldn’t stay long. The difference between the past and how we remember it is weird. See too much of that and the credibility of memory unravels.
Suddenly, you’re shaking me by the shoulder. When I open my eyes, you ask, “What does this look like to you?”
I turn to the viewscreen and see your mother take several deep breaths. Your younger self is gone—has probably stormed off. Your mother’s brow unfurrows, and she looks out the kitchen window, up into a pale blue sky, then says something, her indiscernible words unhurried.
“A prayer?” I offer.
“OK, thanks,” you answer.
You wipe the tears from your face with your shirt sleeve, then say, “We can go now.”
The image of your mother is replaced by a gravimetric plot, and you get us back on course to our destination earlier in this decade: Mirali Gourse’s epiphany, the one she credits her invention of oneiropathy to. Your hands tremble as they feed coordinates into the navigation system interface on your control panel.
On mine, I pull up the geodesics you’ve plotted through Minkowski Space. All together 1.7 hours of the proper time to go with six gravitational wave events to course-correct around when we run into them.
“I got this,” I tell you. “You get some rest.”
Soramimi Hanarejima is the author of Visits to the Confabulatorium, a fanciful story collection that Jack Cheng said, “captures moonlight in Ziploc bags.” Soramimi’s recent work can be found in [PANK], Typehouse, Pulp Literature, and Tahoma Literary Review.
© Soramimi Hanarejima
Photo Credit: Adobe Stock © Lucian Milasan