Roger stood outside the local branch of Nostalgic Simulation. The sign read: “Turn your memory into a reality!” It was the tagline he had heard often in the last few months in all the advertisements and commercials. It was an expensive procedure, and it would cost him his life savings. He took one last look at the money order he had prepared, and he went in.

He waited for two hours, a long line of people ahead of him. As he waited, he went through the pamphlet given to him by the front desk. The pamphlet explained the procedure. His head would be scanned as he thought about the memory he wanted to re-experience. He would then enter a simulation deck and his memory would come to life, exactly the way he remembered it, just as though he had travelled back in time and was re-living that moment again. He’d then have one minute to live that memory, and the simulation would shut down and he’d find himself standing in an empty room.

One minute was all that Roger needed. It was the memory of his last meeting with Celina at the old port. He waited for her, carrying flowers. She showed up and he offered her the flowers. She said she couldn’t accept them; she had met someone else and it was now over between her and Roger. She turned and walked away, leaving Roger behind, still carrying the flowers.

Roger had long wished that it had occurred differently. He wished that that he had lied to her and said that he had met someone else, and that he was the one who had walked away from her, carrying the flowers, letting Celina think that the flowers were a gift for the new love in his life.

With Nostalgic Simulation, it was possible for Roger to experience just that. He would re-live that moment, but he’d choose to act differently than the way he actually had. In the new simulation, he’d be the one walking away from Celina. It was all an illusion; Roger was well aware of that. But it was an illusion that he’d be willing to accept and believe.

As he waited in line, he remembered that moment again and again, the way it had happened. His turn finally came. Now it was time to change that memory. He entered the deck.

The simulation was as real as it could get. He was back at the old port, carrying the flowers. Celina appeared, exactly the way he remembered her, and she walked up to him as she did back then. Now was his chance. He’d tell her that it was over and he’d walk away, the way he had long wished it had occurred.

But he didn’t. He couldn’t. Instead, he offered her the flowers. After all this time, he still wanted to offer her the flowers.

Bassel Atallah writes in Quebec, Canada.

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Every Day Fiction