He loved her like a huge tax return, a night on the town and someone else picks up the tab, a discount on his car insurance, a complimentary upgrade to first class and a nicer rental car, a mistake on his order at Starbucks so they comped him on his order and gave him the other one too, and an inheritance he wasn’t expecting. She loved him like clean dishes and the trash taken out on time. It worked for the both of them.
I wish to promise you something. It could be a note, a poem or verse. It could be a gift, an unassuming box wrapped with a bow. It could be the soft touch of our hands, fingers entwined and strong. It could be my voice, a whisper or a song, but filled to the brim with joy and elation knowing that all of them, my promises, belonged to you.
When he came home, she was wearing an eye patch over each eye. “What on earth are you doing?”
She turned toward the sound of his voice. “I’m practicing.”
“Practicing for what? Are you alright?” He set down his briefcase and hung up his overcoat.
“Perfectly alright. I figured that I should start practicing now for when I lose the good eye and can’t see at all. If I’m going blind, I should prepare for it while I can.”
“Damnable nonsense,” he said. “Your eyesight in your good eye is bad enough already without you going around poking it.”
“It’s a patch, not a poker.” She removed the one unneeded eyepatch, leaving her damaged and sightless eye covered. “You certainly do know how to ruin a girl’s fun.”
The map lacked a safe harbor, a port of entry. She took her time drawing the map, filling in details, estuaries, mountains, isthmuses, gulfs, and lakes, capes, and archipelagos, but most of her time was spent defining borders, those permanent divisions between here and there, us and them, me and you. The inviolable demarkations placed him off continent, floundering in the briny deep, left to contend with the tides that obeyed the capricious moon and sought to rip him out to the deepest part of the sea to join the carpet of disassembled skeletons that littered the ocean floor.
He placed the this strip of paper under his tongue and waited for it to melt. He worried that moving any part of his mouth might taint the transfer, but he needn’t be concerned: it was a little known fact that the transfer started the moment he touched the engram transfer slip. Placing it under the tongue was a way to assure uninterrupted contact. In this case, the new concept took without any problems. Sean could feel the information oozing its way into his bloodstream on its way to imprinting itself onto his cerebral cortex.
A momentary light-headedness was followed by a rush of colors and tactile sensations although he hadn’t moved. ‘Statued’ was the street word. Sean didn’t care what it was called, all he wanted was the answer to why she’d left him.