“50 years? Are you kidding me?” I’m not, but I’m tempted to.”50 years indeed. Half a century since the first edges were registered. Since the first people started to fall. Are you able to remember how did you fall?”
“Yes I am.” She takes a few steps back, like if she were scared of me. Maybe she is. Maybe she think I’m a geist, a doppelganger or something worse. “I’m not a ghost, if you’re thinking that now. Also not a robot. The technology doesn’t work here, right? ” I try to smile. I’m not very good on it, as a smuggler, I don’t need to have that sort of ability. But it seems to work. She relaxes, and walks down to the kitchen. “I have a bottle of wine. I don’t know from where it comes from, but the guy who gave it to me assured me it’s the most popular one on the place he’s coming from.” I interrupt. “That doesn’t always mean it’s good, just that it’s popular.” I don’t see her face now, only her back. She’s searching for something. “Anyway. I was saving it for a special occasion. I think I may have been saving it for now!”
With dancing moves, she brings the bottle and two glasses. “Tachan! Here you have it! A bottle of Rosenberg 2016, one traminer so good that you will feel like it comes from beyond the borders of our reality!” We laugh. She carefully opens the bottle, and in a theatrical gesture, pours a little of wine on a wine glass and gives it to me to smell it. I do so, and nod. “Fantastic smell. Let’s try it.” I gulp it, and an intense and fruity flavour goes down my throat. Soon I feel like if I have eaten some exotic berries. “It’s the real thing. Thank you for sharing it with me.”
“You’re welcome. Do you want to drink it at the terrace?” I doubt. “I think your terrace is quite entertaining, so let’s pay tribute to your offer to our friendship here.” She seems to be pleased of my choice, and also of my wording. Machiko fills both glasses, sips hers, smiles, and starts to speak.
“You wanted to know what I remember. After speaking with my clients, I could say my fall was quite unfeatured. I could say, also, that I don’t envy them, but for me, it was a smooth transition. Do you remember the first days?” I do remember them. I nod. “Everybody was thinking the rumors on the network about disappearances were a new ad campaign, those were the days of the half-truth and the post-truth. As you know, I was never a fan of the social networks, and I was connecting only to read emails and check the news on the big portals.” She sip. I sip. We look around. I admire once more the place. She managed to make it look like half an office, half a house. The furnitures look like coming from different time periods, and maybe they are. I wonder if they were here when she arrived, or she bought them. I will ask about it later. “So I was not aware people were seeing and experiencing anomalies in a rate that was beyond any advertizing. You know me! I was not taking it seriously.” She sips the wine. I sip the wine. I wonder where’s her bed. I do remember also when we were together, more than 50 years ago. 50 years of my time, not of her time. “Anyway. There you have that I was invited to a party, somewhere close to where I lived, yes, the place you know, and that very night I hear from a friend I trust that the government is calling to report any missing person and any anomaly seen, encounter, or heard, through all the typical channels: email, call, fax…do you remember what a fax is?” I laugh. She laughs. Her smile is the real one, this time I’m sure. “So after the party, and after a bottle of wine in a good company, there I am that I need to return home and in the way, I want to pay attention to all those things, just in case.” I smile. I can imagine the result, I read a lot of reports. She refills the glasses. Outside, the light get dimmer. The light of the stars. “I turned to the left, without thinking about where I was going, since I know the way by heart, and a minute later I’m here. Imagine it. Your city is gone, and you’re in a brand new city! Your home is gone! I of course quickly looked back, just to find more of this alien City, more of this decaying landscape. What would have you done in my situation?”