“You know I’m not really here, right?” she said. “Your subconscious inserts me into places I shouldn’t be, places you wish I was, like a person airbushed into a photo. But even then, I’m only saying the sort of thing you think I’d say. Always an extrapolation, but never the real thing.”

“I know,” I said. “I wish I could forget.”

“And I wish I could be forgotten,” she said. “What a maddening existence, being a half-thing not fully imagined or realized.”

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