May 11, 2078
For the past month the city has been preparing for the total solar eclipse. Throngs of people are heading to the coast for the event, with the total eclipse occurring mid-afternoon. It is an almost perfectly clear day with just a few puffy clouds. The light is already dimming, with maximum in another hour.
Out the bay window, down Ocean Avenue the crowds are heading to Mt. Prospect Park. I am leaving early, as there is already a large crowd gathering. I had thought about watching it remotely in my interactive solar display, but this is a spiritual celestial event, and I want to commune with the masses. Michael Heizer's sculpture is there and it will be a great place to experience it.
As I leave the studio and merge with the crowd, I really do feel I am on a spiritual journey, even though I'm decidedly agnostic. I have chills up my spine and it's activating my sensors, and probably setting off Sera's as well.
Sera has prepared a Refraction Zone installation with mirrors atop an adjacent building that will beam refracted light as the sun reappears. She did these installations in the 40s when we first met, which gives me a warm yet somewhat wistful feeling of nostalgia for those days.
I remember that day in the hospital at the Winter Solstice, looking out into the park and watching that beam of light shine directly onto the crowd at the solstice moment. God that was a beautiful epiphanic moment and changed my life in profound ways.
Out to the horizon one can see parts of the former Long Island, with the new floating city developments under construction. The silvery refracted light glints off the structures, and herds of Strandbeests roam the beach. To the west the skyline is in shadow, and I see Sera testing her reflectors. I ping her and give her my love.
I put on my solar specs, which displays real time information on current conditions, with a gorgeous 3D overlay of the celestial sphere around the eclipsing sun. The couple next to me are obviously trans-human and have bionic eyes, as they are staring directly at the sun. I ask them if they have the same interactive overlays, and they ignore me, or have their hearing elements muted.
It has become very dark and at precisely 1445 the world is blanketed in a sweep of sudden nightfall. There was an eerie quietude and the wind suddenly became still, like the foreboding moment before a storm. One comes to the realization of how Neolithic cultures came to understand and process the numinous quality of an eclipse, and how they felt their lives had been somehow changed, renewed or re-set. These kinds of events, like that day in the hospital transform me.
Gradually the light intensified as if a distant light was moving in closer, as the transit completed. Sera's refraction went off like clockwork. She pinged me "Can you see the light?" I pinged her back "Affirmative". To me it's a perfect double entendre.
I reached down in my satchel and prepared to leave the park. My near-field sensor began to vibrate in my wrist, with a pulse I recognized from 30 years ago--Neone's pulse code: .--.- I was stunned and incredulous, "Neone? It must be an impostor, rogue or hacked signal, I thought. Sera picked up something as well and asked what that strange ping was. I dismissed it as interference and began to walk towards the beach. But I kept getting a more frequent and stronger signal. Apparently Neone was also at the east end of the park and also walking in that direction. As wholly trans-human as she is I must be pinging her as well.
There was a crowd huddled beneath a large linden tree admiring the dappled sunlight creating a kaleidoscope of crescent shapes through the leaves, its sweet cherry fragrance permeating the air. There she was--I recognized her immediately. She looks completely the same, age 25 but is now walking with a cane and was in the company of another middle-aged woman.
I was surprised and stunned by her regrettable state, yet tried to veil this emotion. "Neone, are you Neone, Ai Grace?" I thought "My, she looks old yet so young."
"You look fantastic! I said. And your friend is..."
"No--she's my daughter." You look great as well Anthony.
"Yes thanks to stem cell treatments and newly printed organs" I replied, "and the wonders of brain self-repair, and of course my work."
Neone had a tough time getting over my relationship with Sera. Sera changed me completely and urged me to be develop my new artistic talents given to me purely by accident. Ever since the days immediately following the crash, when I first heard about her exhibitions in Masdar City, simply smelling some of those fragrances brings me back: my first showing a Ramona's gallery, Dr. Stone, good old Ox.
My memories prior to the accident, and of my relationship with Neone is foggy, since those events were either erased by the head trauma and or my wild days as metal musician and boxer. I had no problem recognizing her but was surprised how much she had aged given all her immortality treatments. This is evidence that regardless of the promise of science and technology, we are essentially mortal beings.
This is painful as I am now having haunting memories of Neone back in the 40s--haven't had them in years. She was a great musician and did wonderful work to champion the idea of mortality, and how it drives us to achieve all we can. She meant well trying to change me back to the Tony she knew, the rough and dumb metal guy, the boxer, but I am officially reset. As much as I love Neone I have no regrets for not giving up free will or my mortality.
Reset by Lee Barry is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at http://resetstory.blogspot.com/.