His name was Ralph. I was just starting to like him.
We snuck off to the Edge to get high on visions and false memories. The abyss plays with your mind, so you start imagining lost cities in amazing detail, like you’d been there. (Everyone knows that “east” stops at Omaha.)
“Tell you a secret,” he said. “This ain’t the end of the world. It’s the beginning. I guess I’m as ready to begin now as I ever will be.” Then he stepped off the Edge. (Everyone knows he never existed.)
I come the Edge these days to remember him.
Author’s Note: I’d like to say that this came out of fascination with the unreliability of memory and also with the way contentment in the face of loss sometimes seems dependent upon a sort of self-inflicted selective amnesia. Honestly, though, I think I just had a Michael Swanwick story stuck in my head for several years straight.