Memory

“Memory. That lying scumbucket.”

The woman had green hair and a large, shapeless brown jacket. She sat on the sidewalk, hugging her knees.

“I’m sorry?” I asked. I don’t know why. I normally push past homeless people, since I don’t carry cash and can’t give them anything. It’s embarrassing to have to say, because I think they’ll think I’m lying.

“Can’t trust a memory. You can only remember what you saw, for starters.” Maybe it was the hair. You don’t often see a homeless person with dyed hair.

“That’s… true, I guess?” I said.

“Even then, can’t trust it. Full of holes, and half of what is there is made up anyway.”

“I don’t have any money to give you,” I said.

She ignored me, staring fixedly at a point two feet to my left and who knows how far in the past. “All made up. But it’s what makes now.” She looked up at me, straight into my eyes. “So now’s made up too, you see?” I have only ever once seen a face like that before, on an eight-year-old at her father’s funeral.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

You’re sorry?” she demanded, and then laughed. “How do you think I feel? They’re my memories!”

I stood there for a while in silence, while she stared. She didn’t say anything more.

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