A time-travel story and a love story
| They took out my appendix when I was seventeen, but even after the operation, the pain returned at yearly intervals. But it was manageable. I understood it better, knew that if I could endure for the night, in the morning it would be gone. Besides, the agony brought forth a truer vision.
Oh, I saw the girl almost nightly in my dreams, a brief stop, a check to see that all was well, before she fluttered off, floating away like a butterfly. A tease, a taunt, a reminder of what I was missing. God, how I wanted her to alight, to talk with me, to stand beside my bed and let me see the silver lines that stretched between us, the connection.
She was only a child, I never forgot that part, pretended she was my sister so I wouldn't worry I'd become a deviant, desiring someone probably still in grade school. A little sister, separated by Fate. That clarified the silver wires between us, the relationship. I clamped my mind against any other feelings even though dreams of her often brought an erection, a need, a yearning for things I knew were impossible, immoral even.
But when the pain returned, full force, raging, ripping at my guts. Then she came to me, stood by my bed, gave me time. Her green eyes grew more vivid, too, focused as they were. Sometimes she looked tender, concerned. On those days, the red hair came alive, flamed upward, outward like gusts of wind streamed through it.
When her image came strong like that, I saw the changes in her. Like me, she was growing older. The bangs disappeared, her earlobes gained tiny holes, small, delicate angel earrings sometimes caught my eye when she turned about. Her lively red hair grew longer, more wavy sometimes, curly at others. Her face, still delicate and youthful, became slightly less round, the eyes more proportional.
Of course her body changed as well. She shot up, filled in, started to look more womanly. But it took years, years of dreaming about her, watching her, aching for her presence in my life before I saw the possibilityof some kind of future between us. And how presumptive. Did she feel that way about me? Could she? Was she even real?
As I said, in bed, thoughts of her filtered through my dreams. But during the day I let them return to fantasy, restricted them inside the haze of nighttime imagination. Real girls dwelt before my eyes, walked the halls of school, flirted with me, tweeked their hair, teased my libido. I dated them, escorted them to school games, when I wasn't playing, partied, danced, made the scene. thrilled that real girls smelled of fragrances that tauntilized, had skin I could touch, feel, enjoy, spoke in dulcet tones that played music to my hormones.
The fact that none of them had eyes like hers, hair that flowed with a sunset of color, skin like white satin never prevented me from delighting in their warmth, compassionship, sexual pleasures. Oh, I was no angel in school.
I graduated from high school, went off to college. Academics proved easy, could have done anything, studied to be anyone. Mom wanted me to go into medicine, but I had no interest. I learned enough about hospitals to last my lifetime.
Dad urged me to head for the business world. I dabbled a bit, made money off the stock market. Technology was just taking off. It soared, I rode it awhile, got out before it crashed. But economics seemed more like a hobby, general knowledge one needed to get by in the world, not a purpose for the future.
By the time I'd turned away, Dad had changed his viewpoint about it. He'd never gotten over my initial siege of agony, turned to pray, joined a church, then, about the time I was wiping my hands from the dust of the stock market, he headed back to college, bound to become a minister.
I thought my parents would fall apart over it. Their marriage had been shaky for a long time, but church seemed to settle Mom, seemed to weave the broken pieces of their marriage back together. When I returned for visits, they both seemed more satisfied, more united. I think Mom even began to prepare herself the new role. She took to memorized Bible verses, joined church groups, went to prayer meetins. Quite a change. Sometimes I felt an earthquake walker, treading a land where nothing looked the same from visit to visit.
I took my business degree, my minor in technology and dallied with politics. As I worked on a Master's I took classes in political science, became president of the fraternity, student body, enjoyed it for a while, but didn't savor it, didn't feel that the corruption I rubbed against would allow me to remain who I was, who I wanted to become. Fled to law, finally found my home.
What others called dry reading, I lapped up, rolled around my tongue, savored the taste, appreciated the way it rang of truth and constancy. When Stanford Law accepted me, with an absord eagerness, I did the drudge, the exams, passed it all the first time, but never lifted my eyes to look around until it had all swept by me, until the future was the reality, and I still felt empty.
Took time to serve my country, thought that would help, but it wasn't right for me. Not that I regretted it, just didn't fill the void. Then another bout of agony settled it all. I saw her, the grown-up her, the red-haired vixen of my dreams. Finally after all the years, she whispered her name in my ears, kissed me on the forehead, then winked before she slipped away.
A name. I ran to the Internet. You can find anyone, you know, even an illusion.
But she wasn't that. She was real. Laurie, Laurie Stellen, aged twenty-four, school teacher, unmarried.