I found this week’s story through someone looking for an em dash.
Mistaken, by Kaj Tanaka, in pidgeonholes is an odd surrealist piece. Here’s a snippet from the start:
In my first reading of it I felt it had a theme of dementia running throughout — in that a person trying to describe the way that they see the world in its confusion before having that removed by the confirmation that the confusion is not reality.
But that doesn’t hold for the entire piece — it works a little like a riddle, with the variations on the refrain of “how could I have forgotten you?” acting as the central question to unpick for the protagonists, but not the reader, who instead looks for the reality of the situation.
It teases at the idea of an unhappy relationship where both parties are seeking some fantastical escape, though their strange vivid dreams — partly because of the infidelity and the forgetting. Instead though, a kinder reading is there in a passage about the dreams — how they try together to have wilder dreams, while also not forgetting one another. This could be their search to avoid the infidelity of forgetting one another while unconscious, which is at worst a sweet thought — what is so bad about wanting to have the best dreams together. It ends with a hint at a cycle too, the man at the office she has been cheating on him with, was him all along — which of course, we already knew.