“How did we get here?” She shrugged. “Your guess is as good as mine.” She looked around then her face lit up into a broad smile. “Venice. I always wanted to take my honeymoon here.”
I looked at her ring and mine. “Maybe you did.”
“That doesn’t seem right. I’m sure I’d have married young.” She squinted and closed one eye, a gesture I would later learn meant she was remembering the twisted logic of future pasts and past futures. “We did honeymoon here, fifteen years ago this week. But we didn’t see much of the city as I recall.”
“A lot of sex?” I blurted. Keep in mind, the physical version of me had lived forty-five years; however, the version in charge of my mouth was still a dumb twenty-one year old who’d had exactly two girlfriends.
“Only the first day,” Gia answered. “You never even let me get dressed. But after that, you got sick because you forgot you were allergic to shellfish. Spent the rest of the week in bed.”
“And you never left my side,” I added.
It was an autonomic memory, one that was accessible in my brain, but which I only remembered when it was triggered. No, I’m not explaining that right. Imagine a stream of foreign memories pouring into your head as if they have been downloaded into your brain from YouTube. That’s what it was like. For instance, in this case, when she brought up my being stuck in the hotel room, I could see Gia sitting next to me, reading aloud and trying to cheer me up by taking off an item of clothing every time the author said “she shook her head,” which fortunately for me, was quite often. I even remembered joking that the protagonist must have a concussion from all the brain rattling. The memories were vivid, with the emotional context flooding in almost simultaneously. This, despite the fact that in non-linear time, I’d not met the woman until five minutes prior to the memory’s arrival (which was awkward, as I now sported a raging erection from seeing her lovely, nude, twenty-two-year-old body in my memories).
“Good memory for you was it?” She was looking dead center at my crotch, which I tried to cover up with my hands. She slapped them away. “As I see it, those are mine, and I can look whenever I want to.” She turned and headed in a direction my confused brain informed me was toward the canals. She called over her shoulder. “You coming, or do you want to keep arguing all day?”
Since I could not remember what the argument was about, I chose to follow her. That was how I learned the next bit of protocol in our “jumps,” as we came to call them. While memories would come, vividly, they were only accessed as needed. For instance, although I’d lived fifteen years with her in linear time, only the memories germane to the current situation were available. There were more holes than data. As a result, the past, when we jumped to it, was as much a surprise to us as if we’d never lived it. Which we hadn’t. But had.
It gets worse.