Dahl has someone who understands him now. He has Samendahl. And when he forgets, he has the woman he loves. He has Idiri.
But Samendahl never forgets. Idiri is gone and there is only Samendahl and Dahl.
Dahl covers Samendahl's hand with his own. It is big and warm. Samendahl shivers.
"Are you cold?" Dahl asks. "I can make you warm."
Samendahl can see Idiri in Dahl's eyes. He feels like he is drowning and he wonders, if he sinks into that Idiri in Dahl's eyes will he be one with her or Dahl?
Did she feel this way, he wonders. Did she feel this mix of excitement and fear at Dahl's touch? Did she want Dahl to touch her or did she endure as Samendahl endures?
Dahl's hand is hot through the silk on Samendahl's thigh.
Samendahl remembers the feel of Idiri's skin beneath his hand, the scent of her arousal, the feel of her around him. He groans and his body, her body comes to life.
They make love slowly, Samendahl and Dahl, lost in memories, Idiri between them.
"Why do you love him?"
He watches the woman in the mirror. She does not answer. She continues brushing and pinning the thick, wiry hair he loves to fist in his hands when they make love.
He feels cold fear and hot anger and he does not know which is stronger. He asks again. "Why do you love him? "and watches himself watch her in the mirror.
She puts down the brush, but she does not turn. Instead she looks into the glass to meet his reflected eyes. "He sees me," she says.
She walks away and he is alone with himself in the glass.
Dahl has forgotten Samendahl. "Idiri," he says, always "Idiri". He is lost in time, making new memories from old.
He does not talk to Samendahl. He talks at him, never asking what Samendahl thinks, never saying what he thinks.
Samendahl no longer knows what Dahl is thinking. They are individual minds, not one mind in two bodies.
Samendahl wonders if it was like this before. Wonders if Idiri felt this way.
He wants to say to Dahl, "Look at me. It's me, Samendahl!" but he cannot. He cannot bear to see the confused and lost expression on Dahl's face. It frightens Samendahl when he sees that expression.
He sees Idiri through the store window. She is alone. She is smiling. She does not see him.
He reaches for her, but the glass is in the way. She comes nearer, still not seeing him, her image blotting out his reflection until there is only Idiri.
Samendahl stares at the doctor. If he looks hard enough he will see the medidroid is joking, that it did not say what Samendahl heard him say.
"Do you understand?" The medidroid shows concern. Its malleable gelface flows into creases of concern and sympathy as its programming tells it to do.
Samendahl can see his reflection in the metal cabinet, stretched, distorted, as in a fun house mirror.
"Do you understand?" the medidroid says again. It does not care. It diagnoses and delivers its reports, but it does not care; it only follows its programming.
Samendahl nods because that is what the medidroid wants.
The medidroid's gelface slides back into placidity.