Randomly Accessed Memories III

I was young. Probably not even a teenager yet. It was summer, and I was refilling an ice tray in the kitchen sink. I was being clever about it. Through experimentation and observation, I had come to realise that there’s no point carefully dripping water into each separate pocket – just blast the water and wave it underneath, top it up a little, and voila. Sorted, in no time flat.

My sister saw me, and was confused. “Why are you doing it like that? You don’t get it properly full.” Oh, sister mine. How naive you are. And yet… It turned out that she, too, had experimented. Had observed. Had concluded with a swift nod of certainty that the ‘blast off’ method was hopelessly wasteful, and that the only way to be sure was to fill every pocket, one by one.

Two people repeated precisely the same action, with the same goal, and came to two completely different conclusions. Blew my mind.

We didn’t have this ice cube tray. It was the eighties. It’s cool, though, right? HAHA. COOL.

Bit older now. Maybe even eighteen? It’s possible, I forget. My Dad, sister and I are on a train as part of a journey to Brussels to visit one of my father’s three sisters. We’re chatting, it’s all very mundane, then I pop into the toilet. I’m faced with my reflection, and horror surges through my body like ice water. My face. Oh god, my face. I have unutterably hideous, scraggly hair all over my chin and cheeks. What? How? WHEN?!

My family. They’ve been talking to me! Looking right at my face! They saw… this… and didn’t say anything? It’s beyond belief.

I went back into the carriage, transformed from man to monster. I slumped and shrunk and cowered as subtly as I could, trying to hide the lower half of my face. Every moment that passed was an eternity. I simply couldn’t understand how they could act like nothing had changed, nothing was different.

Don’t look at me. DON’T LOOK AT ME.

I met a Suicide Girl on a work trip at one point. Actually, I met a few of them, but I really hit it off with one in particular. So much so that we spent a bit of extra time together, went for lunch, that kind of thing. It was lovely. She’s ridiculously pretty, of course, as is probably self-evident, but also interesting and nerdy and funny and seemed to genuinely like me. Obviously I had a crush on her. Obviously.

I tried to keep something going even when I returned home to the UK, which was of course damned to failure, but… I tried nonetheless. At one point, I had a sort of quick conversation with my brain.

“Huh. She looks a hell of a lot like that actress from thingy. Evil ex-boyfriends. Edgar Rice.”

“Silly brain, you’re getting Edgar Wright mixed up with Edgar Rice Burroughs.”

“Oh.”

“Do you mean Scott Pilgrim?”

“Exactly. The blue-haired girl from that.”

“Actually, you know what? You’re right. Spitting image. Not coincidental, I suppose, both of them are extremely good-looking in a professional capacity. But still – not just a passing similarity, but genuinely uncanny.”

“You should tell her.”

“Really?”

“Of course! She’ll be flattered! It’s not like you’re comparing her to Miss Piggy! Right now every nerd in the world is salivating over Mary Elizabeth Winstead.”

I mentioned it to her. She hated the comparison. Hated it.

We don’t talk any more. I don’t think it’s for that reason. Well, not just that reason.

I do, as it happens, yes.

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