Remember Me by F.J. Bergmann
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Scifi/Fantasy, Paranormal
Length: Short Story (13 pages)
Rating: 5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe
What the bottle from Aldebaran held was not wine, but the memories of his lost love.
Broken-hearted and alone, a retired Shakespearean actor sifts through the possessions of his dead love in a desperate attempt to keep his dreams of her alive. The discovery of a strange bottle containing the liquescent record of another human being—memories, feelings, experiences—gives Boris hope that another such bottle exists; one that contains the distilled essence of his lost Année. A desperate quest to posses her last thoughts will wrench him away from everything he has ever known to an alien world beyond the stars, where the human soul can be bottled, stored—and savored.
One of the most frustrating things about grieving the loss of a loved one is the finality of death. Over time I’ve forgotten small details about my deceased friends and family members- the sound of their laughter, for example, or what it felt like to slip into old conversational patterns with them. What if this didn’t have to occur, though? How would the act of grieving change if it was possible to bottle the essence of a human being and reawaken all of those seemingly inconsequential memories?
The nostalgia in Remember Me drapes over the narrative like a warm embrace. More than anything Boris wishes he could have more time with his Année. Boris’ sorrow is nuanced and at times comes out in surprising ways. I wasn’t expecting to sympathize with his experiences so deeply but this story followed the emotional roller coaster of grief so well that more than once I felt as if I was walking in Boris’ shadow.
In the beginning I wished readers could know more about what Boris and Année’s lives were like before her death. One scene made me wonder if Boris’s personality and habits changed dramatically after Année’s death. In a longer piece it would have made sense to explore this possibility in greater detail but perhaps a sequel will be written one day to explore Boris’s character in greater detail! The ending certainly lends itself to this possibility.
Remember Me is one of the most realistic snapshots of grief I have ever read. It’s a difficult experience to capture especially in the short story format but Ms. Bergmann did a beautiful job recreating the messy, sometimes complicated process of mourning.