As Time Goes By (bridge series #23.5)

 had fiddled with my hair and makeup for the fifth or the hundredth time, things all women do when they are nervous. 

 I was due to meet an old friend at the bookstore for lunch, something that used to be a casual endevour, but as Time goes by we lose touch with things in our past, the present and the future can be so demanding.  I can’t remember when our daily conversations turned to weekly, then to monthly, then to, gods, has it been years?

 Heading back up the flight of stairs I turned to the left and enter my old office, coated with dust from years of neglect, and I open the box one more time.  In it are all of my flash fictions from that time in my life, our time together, the dates on the entries still hold no clue for me.  We stopped writing regularly when our worlds crashed like the stock market in the 30’s, but our friendship continued.  For how long I cannot remember, I only know that I made a phone call last week to her and we agreed to catch up on old times (5 minutes ago!)

Heading out the front door I can’t help but wonder if we look the same to each other, if we meet again as strangers or as friends just parted for too long, if if if.  Just get in the damn car and drive Aleese!

 

I pushed through the door of one of the last remaining bookstores in existance, just fifteen minutes late. I remember that we were both appalled that technology had replaced paper and hard covers as the bookstores across America began closing their doors, almost as though they had been deleted from a story, Time unraveling, or being Undone.

My wandering thoughts stop ubruptly as I see her sitting at one of the coffee tables, she hadn’t changed at all, well maybe her hair was longer. 

 She looked up at the same moment and our eyes locked, both of us froze for an instant, and then I smiled, or maybe she smiled first, and then we were hugging and crying, laughing, all of the things women do when they meet after long absences. Except Squeel, we never squeeled like most women do. 

Before long we were doing the “do you remember when” and “who was that guy that used to call all of the time” and “whatever happened to whatisface” schtick and then we began to speak of Life in quiet voices. 

We were sisters in Pain for a long period in our friendship, the elephant in the room (Rosie, the name of the Elephant) would not be ignored, and so began our trips down that memory lane that poets do not write of often.

The lane that is marked with street signs called “Pain” “Broken Dreams” “Defeat” and “Nightmare”, paths that lead to dead ends and abandoned houses, to cul-de-sacs that close up behind you so that you must revisit the same dreadful houses over and over again, chasing your tail in circles of hell you cannnot escape.

 

We both pause to catch our breath, and the awkward silence threatens to end everything, so I begin to chatter,

“So, how are your girls?” Lame attempt I know, but it was a start.

“Oh they are both doing good in school, the oldest is almost twelve” she responds.

(Oh thank the gods, I last saw them only two years ago!)

Then we did what all women do that have children, we talked about them and tried not to sound boring, but it was boring for both us and we started laughing again. On the upbeat I popped the question.

“I have a confession to make” I said as I wrinkled my nose at her.  She raised her eyebrows so I continued.

“I remember the events and circumstances that surrounded your pen-name changes, but what I don’t remember is why I changed mine. Did I say anything when I picked out that name?”

“Illyria?’ She said with a goofy sideways grin, “it was the name of a character in a television series you loved, the vampire one, not Buffy but”
“Angel?” I interrupted

“Yeh, that was it, you said that the Fred chick got absorbed by the demon, or an Old One, and she turned blue and her name was Illyria and you identified with her or you liked the sound of it.”

“Right, Illyria, the Destroyer of Worlds” I stopped then and got lost in thought, my mind wandered to the fatal doomed beauty of the character that awoke in a different time than her own and discovered that all she knew was lost and had been long dead, long dead.

“Why did you ask about THAT?’ my friend says and I am brought back to the Here and Now.

“I don’t know” I honestly replied. ” I found our old blogs and when I saw my pen-name my mind just drew a blank, like a memory had been erased, hell, maybe I have early onset alzheimer’s” I said in a flippant manner.

” I think that’s reserved for short term memory you drama queen” she laughs at me.

It was just what I needed, a snide remark from her to remind me that we were the same old friends we used to be, just a few years gone by is all.

The rest of the afternoon we spent talking, shopping, laughing, all things women do when they are in a mall, and we both promised to call or start emailing again right away, or both.

When we parted we hugged, and as I watched her drive away I knew that Time can be a slick god, and didn’t hold much hope that we would keep in touch.  But our friendship, well, that was for the Evers, and even if we did not “keep in touch”, I knew that there would never be a day in my life that I didn’t think about her at least once, just as I had every day before today.

I made the drive home, watched the last season of Angel on DVD, and went to bed. 

 I dreamed of castles in the air and Kingdoms of Gold, of gardens blooming with coral roses, of old hiways crisscrossing desert landscapes, and I dreamed of her. I hadn’t slept that well in years, or maybe decades, I can’t remember, time has little meaning to me these days.

After I’ve had my morning coffee I am going to check my emails, maybe I’ll send one. Maybe I’ll start writing again.

Whatever, it’s too early to make any decisions, I’ll have time to worry about my list of things to do later.

 I have Time.   

 

 

 

On Location, Monday:  …heading back up the flight of stairs…
Thursday:  heading out the front door

Friday Challenge:  Your character seeks out an old friend; why? At some point, your character needs to confess; what?

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