The Meaning of Time and Other Cyclical Nonsense

The Meaning of Time and Other Cyclical Nonsense

A Pointless Short Story. Or is it?

“Let’s do this,” he asked her, it was a question – but sounded like it wasn’t. “You know what’s going to happen this time? Don’t…” the look of sadness was unmistakable.

“Hey…shhhh” he leaned in closer, they could not have been any more intimate. “I’m always going to be here for you,” he kissed the side of her neck and with his right hand, he gently pulled her in closer.

No resistance.

She was warm, and her smell was fresh – a perfume he recognised well, and she was also in love with him too. He could see it in her eyes. There were some things you could fake, that look wasn’t one of them.

A cold wind danced around them, it stabbed them in the few places it could, but their warm bodies under wintery protection – were largely shielded.

He moved back so he could look at her and take all of her in, while simultaneously pulling the rose patterned, white scarf up to shield the now exposed neck where his lips still affected her in the way of goose bumps.

He took her hand and began to lead her away. She resisted.

“It’s better that we don’t,” she said, wistful; fearful, but filled with longing.

“We can’t not, just because…you know,” he said, again, it was a question and not an answer.

“I’ll be ok, but you…Ads, please, I’m begging you. I don’t want to see you go through this.”

He continued to pull her along, she walked, hesitating through the journey, knowing she’d allow it and also that he would come to regret it.

****

Adam found the morning sun bothersome – pulling a pillow across his face and turning away from the windows. The room felt frosty and vacant, and yet comforting in a way that only he could feel at home in it.

Eventually, hungry and no longer needing sleep, he swung his legs over the side of the bed and sat up. Gently massaging his temples, he looked to the adjoining bathroom, then got up. Wearing only light blue – patterned, boxer shorts, he moved to the bathroom. He dropped his shorts and entered the shower, adjusting the taps and timidly waiting for the right temperature before immersing his lean muscular body under the decent spray.

He soaped and washed perfunctorily, just as he always did and with hands against the wall, and head leaning forward and down, he let the hot water massage his neck and cascade down his back. He shed the dream and he shed the thoughts, knowing that they punctured his reality with a cold truth and a bitter yearning but also the understanding that the past could not be changed.

A new ritual.

Minutes later, wearing only grey shorts and a white tee, he prepared his customised scrambled eggs. He used 3 eggs, a generous amount of milk, butter, chopped mushrooms, tomatoes and some spring onions. Adam added a dash of Parsley and Basil, grated some cheese, sprinkled salt and pepper over the top, and slid it under the grill to finish. He prepared two pieces of toast while he waited for the top of his concoction to glaze and simultaneously brewed fresh coffee from his Italian coffee-maker.

When everything was ready, he slid his breakfast onto a large plate, poured the coffee into a small mug and carried it to a wooden dining table by the kitchen window that could seat 6. He opened the French doors and was welcomed and enveloped by the warm, early morning, summer sun’s golden kiss and the light, but refreshing breeze that carried smells of flowers, fresh cut grass and the ocean which he could see if he walked out onto the balcony, but he focused on the meal and he ate.

Breakfast was delicious, as he knew it would be and he left the plates atop the fry pan – alongside the mug in the sink, as he grabbed his sunglasses, cap and keys and locked his door and headed out for a walk along the beachfront.

****

They made love repeatedly, over several days. He entered her mind even as he entered her, and she loved him more, inch by inch, as he licked her, caressed her gently, nurtured parts of her that had never been exposed to another and probed her inner-most thoughts with as much enthusiasm as he did her inner-sanctum. She revealed to him, that which had never been spoken of and he rewarded her with secrets that not even his Mother knew. His past had been simple, but filled with neglect, whereas hers had been tormented and painful, but with enough love to have readied her for the world. He drew on her strength and her love as he buried his manhood deep inside her and thrust it and slowed and sped up and thrust again with such urgency that he hoped they would produce a baby from it. She lustfully squinted at him through her passion, begging for more, growing more and more intimate as their time together became more frequent.

Months later, when living together had become joyous – but no longer new, when the routine of who should make breakfast, became a jovial battle with smiles, when separating to go to work still demanded lengthy kisses and lasting stares, when the home went from ‘his’, to ‘theirs’ and when their private spaces diminished, they discovered she was pregnant.

Celebrations rebounded as with only weeks to go, their baby – a girl – would join what was once his bachelor pad, but had swiftly and with time, become their family home.

****

Dark clouds gathered and thunder in the distance warned them that rain – not just earth, would shower the coffin as it was lowered into the ground. Mourners tried to reach out to him, all of them in slick black outfits, raincoats, umbrellas at the ready. Some sought his eyes, ready to pounce on his grief with useless words of wisdom, others sought his hand, wanting to give it pointless and temporary warmth, others still sought to let him know that in the periphery, they’d be there. And that counted for the most, but would still not be redeemed.

Nobody could know what Adam knew, nobody could feel what it was to have lost not one, but two.

They buried Adams’ heart, his mind and his will to live as sometime later, an empty shell with hollow eyes robotically led the throng towards the wake.

****

She touched him lightly. He stirred, saw her, smiled and his heart opened again, and his large – almost child-like eyes, eagerly took her in. Again, she put a long finger to his lips and smiled back, but her eyes flashed a warning – “don’t.”

He did anyway.

He made love to her, he took her how she always loved to be taken and he melted into her. He swam in her essence and escaped into her. He bit lightly, he licked and kissed and felt her warm breath and tasted her womanly juices and he smelled her delicious scent and revelled in her very being.

He awoke in the same manner, with the same realisation and the same cold hard reality. He never looked at the empty side, he slid out of bed and he continued with his routine.

Time would heal his wounds, but time would also need to learn patience. He would join it when he was Goddamn ready. Until then, it would need to do what he asked of it and that was simply, to go on and drag him along with it.

What do you think of this short story?

The new book Circle in the Sand is out now and The Peace Ambassador is coming along nicely – I suspect it will be on track for early 2018.

Fox Emerson

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