Man of Time

“Where are we now?” Harold asked.

“I thought you would know,” Pieter said.

“That’s Eddy,” Harold said. “What are we doing here? Take me Back! I don’t want to be here!”

“Why not?”

“You know very well why!” Harold was indignant. “Why did you bring me here?”

“To help you remember,” Pieter said.

“You keep saying that!” Harold was at the end of his rope. “I don’t want to remember.”

“You believe if you took the route where you never met Liz that perhaps you can save your friend, Eddy. Each road leads the same way no matter the different turns you make.”

“What is that supposed to mean?” Harold said.

“If you have never met Liz, the memories you do have will disappear and become somebody else’s memories,” Pieter sighed softly. “She would have married someone else, made someone else happy, but what happened to Eddy was inevitable, you would only delay that which was unavoidable.”

“Eddy was my best friend,” Harold broke down in tears. “I couldn’t stop it. I couldn’t have known.”

“Nobody knew,” Pieter said, “that is why his death hurt everybody close to him. He was a broken man, nobody could have guessed. He was deeply troubled and he hid it well.”

“I didn’t known,” Harold sobbed. “Why would he do it? Why would he take his life? It angered me so, I sometimes took it out on Liz. I always wondered if she knew.”

“Why would she know anything?”

“Eddy liked talking to her,” Harold said, “At first I didn’t mind, then it started to annoy me and eventually I hated how chummy they became. I was jealous at times.”

“There was no reason to be jealous, was there?”

“No,” Harold said bitterly. “I had myself believing there was. I guess that’s when I did all that I did. Please, take me away. I don’t want to see anymore.”

“Very well,” Pieter obeyed.

Wherever Pieter took him it caused them to linger in darkness for a bit longer.

“Why is it always so dark?” Harold asked.

“In the beginning, it always dark,” Pieter said.

A small ray of light appeared, at first it spread slowly, then it quite rapidly dispersed.

“Where are we?” Harold was adjusting his eyes to the brightness.

“Don’t tell me you don’t recognize it?”

Harold blinked a few times, from a distance he could hear a baby cry. “It’s the day my twin boys were born… We thought it was only one, then to our surprise it was two.”

“You had your hands full,” Pieter smiled.

“That was the best day of my life,” Harold recalled happily. “We thought the twins were the first and the last, then we had our daughter and then our son, James. I was a family man.”

“Then it finally comes together,” Pieter said.

The last thing Harold had flashed through his mind was the day he taught his sons to ride a bike.

 

Man of Time

“We stayed too long in that wretched house,” Harold said. “I hated that house.”

“Houses don’t have a life of their own.”

“This one did,” Harold said. “It came alive when you were all alone.”

“How so?”Pieter was puzzled.

“It was a Saturday morning,” Harold said. “I was behind on work, and I was completely absorbed with it that I had forgotten Liz had taken the children to go shopping. I was by myself, alone in that big house, sitting in the living room, looking at paper work when I heard, James crying. I couldn’t remember if Liz had taken him or not, so I went upstairs to check on him. But he wasn’t in his room. He cried again, and so I thought Liz had laid him down to sleep in our room. When I checked, he wasn’t there. I heard the crying in the hallway, then it drifted down the stairwell into the foyer. It gave me a chill because the crying sounded less human. The crying continued through out the house in different rooms, getting louder and louder as it came nearer. When it passed me up, it echoed so loudly in my hear, I felt my head vibrate as if it had been in my head. It frightened me so. The crying stopped and it resumed this time it was Liz I heard crying, or I thought it was her.

“Suddenly, I could hear her voice clearly in my ear as I searched the house, trying to find where it came from. She started lamenting about how miserable I was making her. She cursed at me, damned me, said these horrible things Liz would never say, regretting to tell everybody what a horrible deed I had committed against her, saying she was going to leave me for good. I couldn’t bare to hear them. This went on for a while until I heard Liz’s slamming the car door outside. I rushed down to greet her and I grabbed her and made her to promise me to never leave her. I made her the similar promise. I was never the same after that day. That voice haunted me…but they were not her words. It happened to me a few more times. I finally had enough and took my family out of that house for the last time. I found a smaller house, more crapped and wet, and we staid there until I could decide what to do next.”

“How different it would have been if you had staid?”

“I did what I thought was best,” Harold said firmly. “I–I quit my job, and we left Florida to start again. ”

“You chose a different path,” said Pieter. “Some paths are better than others. You could have decided to go never get back with Liz. You could have dedicated more time to your work, neglected your family, lived a different life and yet choose this one path.”

“But, I didn’t,” Harold sounded dejected.

“No, you wouldn’t have it any other way,” Pieter smiled. “I’d like to know the rest of the story.”

Harold sighed deeply, “I took my family back to my childhood home. My parents lived in a small house so we had to live in the basement of my grandparents house. Liz was a trooper. She had always been the optimistic between us. I went back to school to finish medical school. I don’t know why I took the difficult route… Those were my happiest days. I can’t say why. We lived in a dark, cold basement. It got so cold, the kids had to sleep upstairs. Liz was all excited about the whole thing. She would be out of bed before we all rose. She couldn’t wait to start her day. She had this high energy that was contagious. It was annoying, though I was never an optimistic. She had this way about her. When I was with her, life was wonderful. When I was away, my world was dark and lonely… Where are we going now?”

As before everything went pitch black, so black, Harold could barely tell if he was awake or asleep.

“Here we go,” Pieter could see clearly. “Ah, there she is.”

“She was always humming that funny little song,” Harold said.

“Are you missing her, yet?”

Harold sighed. “Nothing got her down, not even living with my grandparents, the most apathetic people anybody could live with. They found everything humorless. There were times during dinner Liz would promptly me to talk about what ever material I was learning. One time, I got really interested in the function of blood cells that I forgot we were at the dinner table. Grandfather, stopped the conversation because he didn’t want to hear about such things while he ate. Liz found the whole thing amusing, she never faltered to be in a good mood. She was my sunshine.”

“You wouldn’t have it any other way?”

“No,” Harold smile, “I hadn’t realized I was dull until I met her. I was once told that Liz made me look animated, without her I was dull. I was surprised to be told that, and yet, something in me knew I was dry like my grandparents. Liz made me special.”

“One of a kind,” Pieter said. “Do you remember now?”

“Remember what?”

“What you’ve forgotten all along,” Pieter said.

“Where are we going now?” Harold hated how the darkness descended upon them.