Timing is Everything
Like always. Bitterness flooded her tongue. She couldn’t seem to stop herself from coming when he called. He’d probably been on one of the trains, watching from the window, pointing and laughing with his buddies.
“Look at her,” he’d say. “Silly cow. She always does this. Comes when I call, even though I’m never gonna show.”
I looked up at the clock and something inside snapped. Anger welled up, thick and caustic. It filled me, until all I could feel was its heat. The second hand on the clock trembled, then stopped. Everything around me paused, and I could see clearly for the first time in years.
A woman with her two kids were standing five feet away, the motehr’s mouth open in a scold. The little girl held a doll in one hand. A business man sat on the bench across the tracks, one finger hovering over the screen of his cell phone.
Nothing else moved. I should be scared. Terrified. I’d been trying not to lose my temper for years just for this reason. They’d find me.
Suddenly, I didn’t care.
And that’s when I saw movement from the corner of my eye. The flutter of a lock of dark hair.
Stephen rounded the side of an advertisement kiosk, and I could only stare.
“Y-you’re here?” I didn’t know what to do. Around me, things began to move again as my anger started to recede.
He reached out one hand. “I’ve always been here. Trapped. Waiting for you to find me again.”
My hand hovered over his. “No, you always appear, tell me to wait for you. But you never come.”
His head shook. He started to fade around the edges as time began to creep faster. “I can only break through once in a while. You had to find me on your own.”
I take his hand, and a shudder moves through him. A warm pulse goes up my arm, and a band around my heart I hadn’t known was there breaks. I feel free.
Stephen’s smile is wide and warm, and he opens his arms. “I’ve missed you, Selene.”
Around us, time is normal again. The woman scolds her children, the business man finishes his text, and the breeze from a passing train swirls bits of paper into the air. I relax into his embrace and find that time stops in a different way.