As I turned the corner and passed the general store, my sodden shoes trudged over the dirty side-walk. Tuesday mornings always seemed to rain like this. As if, on a Saturday midday, or a Friday evening, or a Monday afternoon, the tiny raindrops would sit up in the sky – holding each other back because it wasn’t yet a Tuesday morning. The sky’s weeping assaulted me with every bead of fresh water. I hurried, too, for no apparent reason: I was well and truly soaked. As I quickened towards the veranda of the book store up ahead, the rain seemed to slow. Under the shelter of the veranda, I stopped for a moment and looked at the store. In bold letters, the shop window read: If you could only remember one memory, what would it be?
Why did your face pop into my head.
Just your face. That first day, the way you looked in the cinema’s half-light. The first touch of your hand. The scent as I got into your car. It was all there …
Still staring in front of the book store, I felt a whoosh of coolness flood my insides and, suddenly, I had that funny feeling. I could see my vague reflection blur. I wasn’t there. I wasn’t. Someone was. You know the feeling? When, for a moment, you forget that the person standing in the mirror is you – you can’t believe, for a moment, that you’re a real person and this is your life. It’s the opposite of De Ja Vu … what is it called? The sudden sense of unfamiliar …
Jamais Vu, I think it’s called – and suddenly, as I remembered, everything started up again. The rain began to rain again, and the cars began to drive again. Feeling turned back on – the cool breeze caressed by bare knees. Noise came back and the door of the book store chimed. I took this as my cue to leave.
Rushing again, I headed back out into the rain. It began to pelt down again, exactly as it did before. Towards me, another corner to turn.
Your face was there – still imprinted on the underside of my consciousness. Slowing a little in the rain, I allowed every one of my senses remember you …
Again, in an instant, you were forgotten from my memory. As I turned the corner and passed the general store, my sodden shoes trudged over the dirty side-walk.
In another universe the driver of the car dragged me out of the crumbled shop front – taking my phone from my pocket, he dialed your number first dialing the purposeless ambulance.