Like Craphound, Visit the Sins and Shadow of the Mothaship, I wrote this story at Gipsycon, the post-Clarion summer workshop I attend every year. There's another Clarion connection: the title for this story was conceived of while at the Clarion 30th anniversary reunion, as I sat in the Owen Hall courtyard with a gang of other Clarion grads and talked about the memories the place brought back, discussing the possibility that we were being bombarded with "recollectons," the fundamental units of memory.
Sonya and I were going through a bad patch, our last apartment a memory and our worldly goods split between friends' places, city lockers and a shopping cart. I made the mistake of trusting her with our bag of quarters while I took a shower at the Sunnyside Baths, and when I emerged, she'd wandered away from our cart -- I called it "the RV" -- and fed the whole lot to a mini-juke at the vending totem on the Boardwalk. I found her with headphones buried in her ears, swaying dreamily to a mix of music from our highschool prom, a distant smile on her face, and a litter of coin-wrappers around her feet.
I parked the shopping cart beside her and waited. No sense in letting the music go to waste -- maybe it would calm her down for the rest of the day -- and I wouldn't have taken one headphone even if she'd offered. That stuff from the old days just gave me the creeps.
Sonya danced there, and I knew what the happy, comfortable passers-by saw: a skinny, spaced-out junkie lost in reverie, a "sad comment on the collapse of Toronto's social safety net," a problem that would self-correct as soon as she forgot to eat for too many consecutive days.
I saw Sonya Beresford, the beautiful, charmed girl who I'd "just-friended" since the day I loaned busfare to a strange, pretty girl from school who picked me out of the crowd at the bus-shelter to ask. My mind draped her dancing form in a gauze of memory, and a million stolen glances at her in motion laid themselves overtop of her. Lord, she was beautiful, even then. And as unattainable as ever.
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