the reinvention of love
by Jennifer-Oksana

you think that before all the memories were lost in paradigm city, they must have been able to explain love so easily. forty years of having no history is maybe a blink of an eye to all those long past, but you think that perhaps they might have had a bit more sense and remember to document an explanation of love. technology is easy -- barely two generations and androids and megadeuces are back on the street, if they ever went away. humans eat and play and work and drive and fight and die as though nothing had ever happened.

how wasteful, then, to rid the city of its history if all that's been gained is a willful forgetting of the simple things. good. evil. love. hate. a city without memory is a city without definitions should be a city where human nature rises anew.

somehow you doubt paradigm city is much different than any other human city except it has no memories, no past, and no words to explain.

your grandfather created you to look like his daughter. his dead, human daughter. is that love? duplicating what you know is yours, obsessing on it until it becomes clear that you are not the girl? how could you be? you're not a human being.

and yet you think there's not really much difference.

roger couldn't tell, not at first.

roger smith is a louse and a opportunistic son of a bitch.

you spend too much time thinking about roger smith.

he thinks you're cold and metallic some days. some days roger can't tell the difference between you and any human woman. he has become used to you; you suppose this is better than being alien to everyone, including yourself.

you're never sure what's better and what's worse. love is always on your mind, and there seem to be no words. you know what love does. you've seen it. love is why the saxophone player tried to make money for a present for his girlfriend. love is why there are families and lovers and mothers and children. love does not seem to rely upon memory, though it certainly helps.

but what is love? your brain, your memory, your software and hardware cannot supply a sufficient answer. sometimes, when you hear songs, you think there may be hints. when you sit at roger's piano and begin to play a song you can't remember over and over because there is something that makes you want to hear it one more time that you do not know and can never remember, sometimes you think (love is like this) and you do not know where the thought comes from.

there are so many things you will never know definitely, neither you nor roger smith.

you have seen the words inside the megadeuce, and he cannot explain them any more than he can explain love.


roger smith is hardly the not guilty. though you're not sure. what, precisely, is one to be guilty of? what was in paradigm city's memories that made it better to take all the memories, to make everyone, in effect, not guilty?

why is roger smith the one with the megadeuce anyway? there are those you think would be less prone to showing off, using it with more public interest in mind. but big o is roger smith's and roger smith belongs to big o.

and you, you who are no one's now, you are drawn to roger smith like a moth to flame.

you think perhaps this is love. you think perhaps it may be nothing more than interest. you think and you think, but it does not change anything. no matter where you go or where he goes, you are for each other. he calls you and you come. you are lost and he finds you.

and yet you cannot define it as love, because there is no definition of love in a city without memory, without a past, where history is mixed into dream and the domes of the city and twisted around madness for good measure.

so many who search after memory are mad.

you do not even know if it is possible for an android to love.

he painted in your eyes after you asked him what love was.

you think he thinks you love him.

perhaps you do.

if you knew what love was, you could be sure. but you do not and he does not and you're not sure it's possible for you to know. it is a most vexing problem. one that you're not sure you will ever be able to solve to any suitable solution.

you sit down at his piano and begin to play notes idly until it becomes a melody. today it's a new song. it may be a memory. you're never sure.

if only there were words to explain the experience of playing.

of watching roger smith walk into the room and listen.

of wanting to play again, to never stop playing as long as he's listening.

is this love?

is this memory?

is this desire?

you're not sure. in paradigm city, there are no easy answers, or words to explain them if there were.

you play the melody again.

roger will be home soon.


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