"Hey?" She laughed and brought me back to virtual reality.
"I know you tend to get lost in that brainy head of yours, but here's ice cream!".
She always knew how to uplift me.
"I can't believe that we're finally getting married next week!" She giggled. Her eyes blazed enough to light up ten entire towns.
At that moment I realised how I've been in the same jiff a million times, the same flavour of ice cream, the same conversation. But this time something provoked me to stop. Provoked me to not let her cross the street to go home.
"Honey, don't go now, please?" my voice trailed off in despair.
She giggled as she gently pulled her delicate hands from mine while looking back at me and stepping onto the grey road. I could see everything in slow motion. I could see the red bus from the corner of my eye approaching in our direction speedily. The driver intoxicated. I blinked to pause that nanosecond and kissed her forehead before seeing her die right before me.
"You want to go through that again? Witness it again?" A voice enunciated within me.
I wondered if at all I could take her to the hospital on time to save her. If at all I could break any rule of any realm, I know I'd save her. But the doctors said she died on the spot...
"But what if she didn't die in the first place?" I thought to myself with a hint of selfishness.
Could I risk it all?
And would I?
I'm goddamn sure I would.
I was ready to face the possible repercussions for her. If I could turn back time and bring her back, if there was even the slightest possibility, would fate accept its reverse? Nothing mattered anymore. I'd pick her. Over and over again, over any situation or circumstance. Over any pain or punishment. It's her who matters. It always has been her. I played and pulled her close to me, right in time. The bus missed her by an inch and crashed against the building across the street. Tautness filled the air. Out of the blue, my vision started to flicker.
"You are now stuck in the time loop for breaking the rules of the hour. Your consequence is to remain and live your life in this loop until you meet your natural death." Spoke my virtual assistant, Helen.
I blinked to pause and exit, but there was no button nor function. This seemed like a reality. She was here, in my arms. Trembling because of the accident that we witnessed. Alive. And nothing mattered more than this.
More than her...
I hugged her tight and moved my fingers through her Lilly- scented caramel hair. Clinging to her as if she'd be snatched away if I left.
The alarming sound of something familiar chimed. Xara and the surroundings turned into dust and swooped away from sight.
"QUIT DREAMING. Wake up, Dave!!"
And I was awakened to the perfect disappointment. My robot named after my deceased grandmother but twice as scary yelled.
"It's 6 AM time for your morning jog, little boy!"
"First of all, you are NOT my grandma, Helen. Second, DO NOT EVER call me 'little boy' again. Lastly, I-"
Helen stuffed my mouth with my favourite creamy mushroom toast with extra butter dripping down my mouth which according to my nana's handwritten recipe was some 'extra love' as she pulled me out of the Vertigo Memory Stimulator before I could complete my words and lead me to the bathroom door.
The Vertigo Memory stimulator allows me to relive my memories, and if I try to change how differently I would've done things, it screens dreams with hypothetical or alternative things that could happen if you'd do things differently.
It's scary and unbelievably realistic.
"Off you go L I T T L E B O Y " My robot mocked me.
I sighed and walked into the lavatory and looked into the mirror, undressing for a warm bath. Showers sure do allow some quality time with your brain just to ponder. They resemble warm hugs from loved ones caressing your skin, don't they?
Well, at least in 2050, they will. Tears rolled down my cheeks as I stood.
My teardrops disguised themselves as water from the shower just as I masked my grief so perfectly.
God loves the sound of a broken heart. He would have spared the pain if he could, but if I cry I could at least stay human in a world of technical beings.
"It wasn't real?" I wept in disbelief, pressing my hand firmly against my mouth to avoid making any sound.
Helen pressed her silicone cheek against the bathroom door and said, "Please calm down, Dave. Breathe in, breathe out."
I did as she intoned.
"Good" she smiled.
"Now, redirect your thoughts, unless you want me coming in there and-"
"I'm fine!" I yelled.
"Just please, let me be alone for a little bit."
I sometimes really wish I didn't inject my nana's cryopreserved memories into this silly robot.
My precious grandma.
She wanted to save a little bit of her love, in scientific terms 'the preservation of cells and tissue by freezing for further study, possible revival in future or use the memories in forensic study and injection into chips for loved ones'.
Her body now rests in peace, calmness and tranquillity in a nitrogen-filled grave...
However, it is nice having someone just like my grandma, to have someone or should I say some-'thing' look after me. It's 2050, after all. Science and technology have advanced. Men, women and animals too have been brought closer but also farther away from who they were destined to be.
Yet in this fast-paced world, I find it easier to cling onto recollections and memories than to move on...