This story was published in Strange Horizons. It currently has nine recommendations on the Nebula Reading List.

Sergio is a maintenance worker (in New York City?) with a work order to remove a graffiti mosaic from the wall of the Westchester Building. However, when he touches the mosaic, he has a vision, as if experiencing the scene where police evict a boy’s parents and shoot his father. It’s like an electrical shock. Not sure what happened, he goes home to his wife Carolina, who suffers from dementia. The next week, he avoids destroying the mural. On the way home on the bus, he sees another one on the side of an auto repair shop. He gets off the bus, climbs the fence and touches the mosaic, experiences a girl having a traffic accident. He’s nearly arrested by security, gets home late. The next day he calls in sick to work and rides the bus around town, locating more of the murals. In the evening, he’s approached by three people who seem to be the artists. He asks them to make a mural for him. The woman agrees, and puts together the bits of Carolina’s life into a mural that makes her remember–at least for a while.

Okay, I’m sort of charmed by this one. It’s another of the sentimental works that’s so de rigueur lately, but I like Sergio and his devotion to Carolina. It’s an interesting idea to put together the bits of her life into a magical image that will make her remember. There’s also a philosophical statement, that life is about loss, and a political one, that we should remember the ones lost and name the ones responsible. These messages are fairly subtle, pretty much obscured by the main theme about Carolina. The ending seems to be a bit abrupt.

Three and a half stars.

Potential nominee.

Advertisements