Flash Fiction: Aide Memoire by Mairi Campbell-Jack
The newest instalment in our series of ultra-short stories
It was the third day this Emma – ‘Call me Em,’ – had visited. A whiff of smoke lingered after her in the vast antiseptic cleanliness of the ward, the rudely penetrating smell of bleach only just covering the stench of ill health. Emma always made the skin under his bandages itch, despite the numbness the intravenous drugs swaddled him in. He wondered how his arm would look once the dressings unravel. Would it look smooth like wax dribbled down a candle or furrowed like wet sand as a tide goes out?
‘You have to believe me!’ Emma pleaded yet again.
He went inside himself and could find nothing moving in response to her. No quickness of breath, no fast heart, no rise of emotion in his chest. There was no ‘have’ in his mind connected to her. No urgency. He was completely and meditatively still.
‘I know that you are upset,’ He started, trying to carefully choose his words. He didn’t want to hurt this woman’s feelings any more than he had to. ‘But look at it from my point of view. You have no proof.’
‘All the photos, all the letters from when you were away, they were all destroyed in the fire. Everything was destroyed in the fire,’ Emma replied.
‘But, there would be evidence here.’ He countered, jabbing his finger at the blue and white icon on the tablet screen. ‘There are no profiles under our names, let alone a relationship status.’
Emma’s forehead crinkled into ridges of pain. ‘We always agreed that we wanted to live in the real world, not online. We always said we wanted our memories to be real.’
‘I don’t remember,’ He said.
A tear trickled from Emma’s left eye and slowly tracked a path down her cheek.