"I've never seen Paris like this. All these lights."
"It's how you imagined it to be. It's how you remember it."
"Is it?" She puts her hand against the window, and the lights—yellow and orange and rose and green—shine through her fingers. "How dull am I? I can't even properly remember my own memories."
"No one can. I just excite everything when I bring it back to you. When I start shifting the memories, they get brighter. It's just a facet of what happens when you shift the dream, Nora. My memories are dim too, like bad copies of poorly lit black and white movies."
She laughs. "Like old newsreel footage. That's what our lives are: old footage that someone left in the cans for a few decades, and then, surprise! Look what we've found. Let's watch it one more time before the film stock falls apart."
Her fingers tighten on the window, nails whitening against the glass. Outside, the lights of the Eiffel Tower flicker, turn red, and then explode in a profusion of ticker tape. The Tower changes into a black-on-white architectural drawing.
"I did that," she says, though we both already know that she has. She puts her other hand on the glass, and presses against the window. The Tower turns into a giraffe with gigantic searchlights for eyes. It uproots itself, and swinging its massive head back and forth, stomps off toward the Champs d'Elsyee.
I can see her grin in the reflection of the glass. A unfettered, unguarded smile of pure delight. She turns the Arc d'Triomphe into an elephant with flying buttresses supporting its wide ears and, together, her new menagerie lumbers towards the Ferris wheel at the Tuilleries.
For the first time, she's not thinking about her illness. When the giraffe sweeps its bright gaze toward our window, she is made translucent by the light. Like a pane of glass, I can see through her, and there is no smudge of darkness within her. She's completely free.