Cyber Café – Kagami Smile
October 9, 2023
Memories of her come back to me for a time. I find myself surrounded by hundreds of people. I am seated on a chair inside of a large cyber café. I don’t remember how I got here or why I came, but I am staring fixedly at a computer screen connected to a chat room with someone else.
“It’s me,” they wrote.
“Who is me?” I wrote.
“Hallway,” they wrote back.
“I’m in the hallway and it’s me. You just have to concentrate yourself on where the hallway is and you can find it.”
“I don’t remember the hallway. I think I don’t remember it,” I wrote back.
“You will find it elsewhere. You came here and you don’t remember. You are being absorbed in your memories. Take your time to think about your memories and I will come back to you.”
I don’t know if I’m awake or if I’m drowned in a memory and if I am alive in a memory. What is the difference between being awake and dreaming? You are awake in both, so which is real? I can’t tell anymore. There are many people all around me sitting in chairs typing words onto screens. The cyber café is dark but the screens of the surrounding computers provide light. My life is filled with wordless monologues of scenes that are etched inside of me but may have never happened.
“The city is vast,” they write. “There are many hallways everywhere. You can go in any building and find a hallway, people going in and people going out. But if you go to the river you will see the deep blue. It is in the deep blue that there is the hallway. It is dark with no windows. You have to find the city first.”
“I am in the city now,” I write back. “I have always been in the city.”
“Then you will find me eventually. I am buried somewhere in the hallway.”
City. Hallway. I think about how many hallways I have walked in. I think about the traffic congestion and the smells of vapors rising into the air, and then I think about the deep blue. I wonder if it exists. How is the deep blue? I start to think about this, lost in a chat room in a cyber café somewhere in the city:
Into the deep blue,
Outwards toward the deep red,
I searched for a street with no name,
The sun wasn’t showing anything,
Walking around in a city is just that,
Looking for streets without names,
And remembering that everyone’s name is similar,
So the street was deep blue,
The lights of businesses were deep red,
Traffic congestion was colorless,
And movie theaters and malls were bleak,
So the street was deep blue,
The medians of the roads were pupils,
I stood in a pupil,
And it blinked,
I was thrown off balance by an eyelash,
And woke up,
My body facing some place with many names.
So I was confused.
I kept hoping I’d find the deep blue again,
But it was nameless.
So I keep seeing buildings but they are all colorless,
And every road is blinking,
There are lots of crust there stuck in between the colorless buildings and roads,
But I kept searching for the deep blue without finding it.
We went to the movies. We were the only ones in the theater. We sat in the theater seats and felt comfortable. The movie came on. The lights went low. The movie showed an abundance of colors. The title flashed across the screen: “How to find the Deep Blue,” it said. Interesting title I thought. Then multitudes of colors and eyes blinking everywhere. There were shots of a vacant hallway. It was dark and expressionless. We looked at each other.
“What the hell is this movie?” She said.
“I have no idea,” I said.
So we threw away ten dollars on some artsy movie. Then we took a cab to some restaurant. The cab driver was squirmy.
“Next stop, Blue Isles,” he said.
The cab stopped. We looked at each other.
“Where the hell are we?” She said.
“I don’t know,” I said.
So we ate in the colorless restaurant and had soup. The soup was blue and looked like a clear pupil. It didn’t taste very good. So we left without paying.
So we walked together on the street afterwards. Nothing had color. Everything was dark tinged. She whispered to me as if she didn’t want anyone else to hear. We were the only two around though.
“How do you find the deep blue?” She asked. “Is it in the hallway?”
“I once knew but now I couldn’t tell you,” I said.
“Well, shit,” she said.
So we went to apartments we never saw before and slept on pillows we never felt before. Then we both dreamed simultaneously about a hole in the ground filled with blue light. We both stepped into the hole and couldn’t get out again.
“We found the deep blue in a hole in the ground,” she said.
“What does the deep blue feel like to you?”
“Just about as colorless as anything else,” I said.
So we woke up simultaneously and looked at each other. We never found the deep blue or the deep red.
Was this a dream or not? I didn’t know the deep blue or the hallway. But the text on the computer screen was her voice written out before me. Her whisper filtered through the computer monitor and I felt like smoking a cigarette. I lit up right there in the café and no one said anything about it. I felt I must be searching in the wrong place. I hadn’t given up but I would keep looking. I still wondered what kind of hallway she meant. A man sitting next to me looked like he had suffered from lack of sleep for a year. Maybe everything around me was inside of the hallway and we were all tired. Then I realized that she had split in two so I asked who I was talking to.
“Who are you?” I typed.
“I am me,” she said. “The real me.”
“Where is the other you?” I asked.
“Following you and leading you to the hallway. You will come here eventually,” she wrote.
“My split in half ghost will keep following you and taking you to places that figure prominently inside of your mind. So you will be shown a dead city that used to be alive and have some connection with you,” she wrote.
That’s all she wrote. The café was hushed but the sounds of typing absorbed the room like the sound of quiet water running down a waterfall. A city that is dead and used to have a connection to me. Where did she go? She must have been one of those women that just disappeared. I wonder if everyone just disappears after a while. But her voice still wafts towards me, an invisible force of wind.