“This was the night we said our last goodbye,” said X. He turned to look at C. “Face to face, anyway. Do you remember?” He didn’t wait for a reply. “You were sitting there and I was standing here and thunder—”
A low rumble erupted in the distance.
X lifted his hand to the sound. “And thunder was crashing. A storm was coming. I remember because I had to drive back in the rain.” The more he thought about it, the more surreal the whole night became. A threatening storm moving low over the East Coast, waiting until he had parted ways with C before unleashing its torrent on the ground below. “It was lucky. Or divine intervention. What do you think?”
That was the problem, X realized. She didn’t think anything because she couldn’t think at all. She was just a clone, a virtual copy, a shell of the girl he loved. It reminded him of the videos he kept of C, of the way he used to watch them with the sound turned down, watching the movement of her lips, knowing the words by memory, but slowly realizing that the sound of her voice was fading with each viewing. This clone was far more advanced, full of tactile wonders that video could never provide, but he knew that the same limitation existed. He could go back and replay the memory of that night, give in to the simulation and just experience it as he had before, a spectator to a rerun. He could change the memory if he wanted to, break out of it and create a new one…