Saturday, November 26, 2011
Bluebell Books Short Story Slam -- Week 15
I don't understand, I said.
You don't have to. It's just about the here and now.
What here? What now?
He laughed, and my eyes pricked at the sound. Twenty years since I'd last heard it. More than half my life. And it had taken me at least half of that to stop yearning for it.
I hadn't stopped yearning for it. I just thought I had.
There is no time, he said. I can't explain, couldn't even if there was. You just have to trust me, he said.
I do trust you, I said. I always trusted you.
Then come with me.
To do what you came here to do. This life, he said, this life isn't what you're here for.
No, you're not, he said, and the sound of his laughter surrounded me again. You know it, I know it, he knows it.
The sleeping man next to me hadn't budged, hadn't even turned. And we were not speaking in low voices. The laughter--that laugh I loved so--was nothing if not loud.
Why doesn't he wake up, I asked.
There is no time, baby. No. Time.
And I understood. We weren't out of time--there was no time. We floated out of time, in that moment of priceless reunion, of impossible encounters. Through time, out of it, in it. That man in my bed, he was as far away from me right now as if he--or I--had never existed.
What do I do, I asked.
He sat with me there, while I turned on the computer, but as I typed the first line I noticed him flicker. The room behind him was visible through him.
He smiled. What is supposed to happen, he said.
I don't want you to go. If I type more--you'll go, won't you?
He nodded, still smiling.
I won't do it.
Yes, you will. Because if you don't, you'll be stuck here, out of time, forever.
His hand reached to my cheek, and it felt as solid as it ever had. That's not what's supposed to happen, baby. You're not ready, he said, and he turned towards the bedroom where someone else slept on. He needs you here, he said.
Write, he said.
And so I typed, not looking at the keyboard, instead looking at him, watching him fade into nothingness, into the ticking of a million clocks that suddenly compelled me forward, away and into the present.
Thus it was that my father gave life to me for the second time.
~ * ~
Thank you for reading, and remember to visit the other Bluebell Books posts--some truly excellent and creative responses to the week's prompt.