"I hear she's different these days, a darker, sharper thing. Maybe that's how she always was, and that doggerel you're holding is just fantasy; I wouldn't have considered that at the time, but I know we idealized her. We made her into what we wanted her to be." The fan smiled ruefully across the table at me, and took a sip of his coffee. "But... I mean, I'm not one of those feverish Erika otaku who go looking for her everywhere, but... I'd still love her, in a way, even if she wasn't what I thought she was. She was willing to embody that fantasy for us, at least for a little while, and that was very kind.

And she must have meant some of it, just a little. Her voice was... So gentle..."

I looked down at the song he'd given me, and wondered.

For Erika, Wherever She Is Hiding
(from Simon and Garfunkel's For Emily, Wherever I May Find Her)

What a dream we had
Each, communally
Clothed in frilly things
And soft maturity
Stronger than her pain

I was arrested by my
First view of Girl Phase
Something inside of me
Caught upon Moeko's face
So I watched on

And when you sang to me, your
Alto given wing
I was sent list'ning down
Through soundscapes of your longing
You signed my scroll

And when rumour broke
That you had disappeared
I kissed your paper smile
With regretful tears
Oh, I loved your show
Oh, I loved you

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