Daily Prompt: 180 Degrees

Daily Prompt: 180 Degrees.

Tell us about a time you did a 180 — changed your views on something, reversed a decision, or acted in a way you ordinarily don’t.

03/14

// I haven’t done a Daily Prompt in quite a few days – I haven’t stopped but the $10,000/7 days one really got me flowing and that’s where I’ve been recently still thought I could do today’s. Enjoy.//

He didn’t do girly. Never. He didn’t cry. He didn’t wear pink. He didn’t do soft. He was first and foremost a man. Not only that, but a manly man, complete with military haircut, big muscles and a healthy respect for sweat blood and … well not tears, not really that was a little girly for his tastes.

So when he was called in an emergency and told to rush to a hospital he didn’t panic. He walked calmly, perhaps slightly faster than normal, his boots gripping tightly to the too shiny hospital floor as he made his way to the reception desk. He didn’t acknowledge his heart pounding in his chest threatening to push his way into his throat and at the same time drop into his stomach. He ignored and denied this as he was lead into the room that held his wife. He saw her, covered in sweat, traces of blood, her face distorted by tear tracks. He saw and his knees were traitorously weak he held her hand because she demanded it and while he was not girly he was a gentleman.

It was weeks later when he was left in care of that small pink bundle for the first time. He was not frightened. He was braver than that. But in a dark place he refused to shed light on he was terrified, he was panicked and he was looking for his wife to hurry back and rescue him from the cooing drooling heart wrenching bundle that was their daughter. Hardly a person and yet the entirety of everything that mattered. His heart was neither in his throat nor in his stomach, it had been ripped out and stolen by this magnificent terrifying creature that mattered more than air, more than gold, more than sunlight and water. Inside that precious bundle held his heart and he couldn’t bear to look away, or recognize how fragile and irreplaceable it was. It drooled on him.

It was only a blink of an eye and years had passed. That strange bundle of blankets had grown. It could laugh, and cry and speak – semi coherently although always too fast and so high pitched he worried for the windows. It could also demand and pout and had eyes big enough for him to sink into and see the precious truth that was his heart and his wife’s heart and his daughter’s heart trapped in that oh so tiny chest that heaved with a barely suppressed bawl, a lip that quivered and a little sniffle that threatened to undo him until he could do naught but relent.

He could wear pink for her. He could don the tiny tiara and use the pink blanket as his cape. He could do these things because he might be a manly man and tough but he was also more than that. He was a father. Seeing that almost cry turn into a joyous smile was enough to keep him strong. When others teased him in his pictures he didn’t need to throw up a defense, he simply smiled back. He was still manly, he was tough, but no one could ever tell him that girls weren’t just as tough. He had been there when the second bundle had been born. Blood, sweat, and tears had been part of it, but also pain, fear, determination, euphoria, and triumph. He was a manly man, but he looked to his wife when he needed courage, because that was more than he could have borne, and she had done it twice and was well on the way to her third.

He was a manly man, but he did do girly. He let tiny fingers braid his short hair and longer beard, he wore pink when it was required, he played prince charming, and was a human jungle gym, he had a healthy respect for blood, sweat, and tears. And he did cry, and he revealed in that which was soft and perfect in his family, because first and foremost he was a father.

Daily Prompt: All Grown Up

Daily Prompt: All Grown Up.

03-06

When was the first time you really felt like a grown up (if ever)?

It was fun to sleep in. Not five minutes, of even ten, but hours, mainly because the night before it had been fun to stay up. I could smell food, though, and my stomach said I should investigate. It was the middle of the afternoon, and my brother had cooked breakfast.  Five years my senior and he had decided to be responsible by frying some eggs, for himself. I pouted at him, honestly pouted. Why hadn’t he cooked me any eggs. He just grinned and pointed to the kitchen.

I huffed and returned to the living room a few minutes later with the last of the cookies and cream ice cream. I didn’t try and steal the remote from my sister, two years my senior, who was engrossed in another of her teen soaps. Girl loves boy, boy messes up, oh look random new character for girl to obsess over. Not my thing, I like cartoons. Yea so sue me.

We didn’t really do the talking thing. Brother napped on the sofa, taking up the entire thing, Sis was making goo-goo eyes at the latest heartthrob from mom’s seat and I was in dad’s chair one leg over the arm and wishing I’d thought to bring a soda through. At some point sis had made us put our dishes in the sink, although none of us would put them in the dishwasher. Mom and Dad were out of town.

It was thrilling. We were old enough to be considered responsible, we weren’t, not really, but we also weren’t likely to burn down the house and were clever enough to call 911, or one of the many ‘adult’ friends and family that were conveniently listed next to the phone should anything happen. Anything at all, Mom had stressed.

This wasn’t we’ll be out for the night or we’re just going to spend the weekend at the cabin with some friends, this was legit out of town stuff. Out of the state, several states over in fact, some business trip turned, “we have got to get out of the house without kids, because we have three and haven’t had a moments peace in 17 years!” two week getaway.

So we didn’t do the dishes, we knew the drill, make as much mess as you want but the afternoon, or more probable as soon as they call from the airport, we will freak out and clean. As a team even. We might not do a lot together but making sure Mom doesn’t freak out and start cleaning, although we know she will no matter how clean it is, the moment she arrives home. Then when she does, Dad will roll his eyes with us and very obviously ignore any signs of insanity that may have happened while they were away.

We spent that day like we spent most of the two weeks, watching TV, bickering lazily, hanging about, generally making a nuisance of ourselves, and occasionally my siblings, would go out with their friends, none of mine were able to drive though so I was pretty much stuck. That night we decided to order in pizza. We had enough money left that we could do this a couple times and none of us wanted to defrost any of the meals and actually cook. So that night’s dinner, which arrived around eleven-thirty was pizza. Greasy goodness that was pretty fantastic.

For some reason none of us slept in the next morning, well we were all up while it was still technically morning. I was in the living room watching cartoons, Brother was through on the computer blowing things up and Sister was upstairs talking on the phone. At least that’s where I thought everyone was. I was pulled out of my cartoon induced haze by an awful noise though.

It was visceral and sent chills up my spine. I was up on my feet and running before I even processed what the noise was, a choking retching sound that had me skidding to a stop outside the bathroom, feet going further than my torso in my fuzzy socks. Grabbing the doorframe to steady myself that awful noise, so much louder, closer, more painful than before gripped me and I could see my sister. My big sister collapsed in the bathroom, holding the toilet for support, her face red and wet with tears, snot slimy on her upper lip, jaw trembling and hair stuck to all of it. She heaved again and my brother was behind me.

He stayed well back though. Unsure how to help his little sister, knowing damn well she would shove him away, no girl wants a guy to see her looking like that, not even a guy who doesn’t count like your brother. Or maybe especially not your big brother who can’t beat anyone up for you for this, and honestly wouldn’t be very helpful at all. None of this mattered though. My sister was in pain and mom wasn’t there to make it better.

I didn’t realize I was on the floor beside her in minutes, dodging the first incident which hadn’t made it into the porcelain bowl. Hand on her back I flushed the first of it, then pulled her hair out of her face when it became imminent she was about to need it again. She was shaking and crying and generally a mess. I snapped at my brother to fetch water. Someone needed to act and he seemed frozen with inability, the moment I snapped at him though he jumped into action, he desperately wanted to help, and muttering “are you okay” from a safe distance wasn’t going to solve anything.

It seemed the attack was over. I wet the hand towel with cool water and handed it to my sister so she could wipe her face as she sat back against the wall, one arm still propped on the toilet. She got her sobs under control while I took the glass from my brother, still hovering just beyond the doorway. Instructions, he needed instructions. Get a bucket, put it by the sofa and then go to the store for sports drinks and crackers. We already had crackers, that didn’t matter at the time, it was instructions and he followed them.

Brother successfully diverted I had to get my sister off the bathroom floor where she sad feeling miserable. Carefully we negotiated the first incident and got her to the living room. She sat propped up on the couch, glass of water clutched in shaky hands occasionally sipping it. When I heard the car start up I fetched a clean shirt, hers had evidence of the bout of sickness, and had to be uncomfortable. I let her change by ignoring the living room and started boiling some water for some herb tea. Mom always makes herb tea when we’re sick.

Tea set next to the water, sister half dozing with her favorite teen drama playing on the TV I move onto the gross stuff. Someone has to clean the bathroom, and there is no way my brother who stood back unable to even move close to that scene is going to do it. I choke slightly at the smell of it but then block it from my mind. Someone has to do this. Working swiftly and not thinking about it at all I manage to clean the mess and flush most of it. Wiping the floor then washing it thoroughly I put all the cloths, my sister’s shirt, and a couple towels from the hamper upstairs in the laundry and set it going. I gagged once it was finished and downed a large glass of water. My brother had returned at this point. He had gotten more sports drinks than we could drink in a month and several types of crackers, also some ice-pops that a woman at the store had told him might help. Apparently he had looked so lost the mothers wanted to help him out, which was hysterical and got a good laugh out of me and my sister.

That night I sat in the same place but my brother and sister had switched, he still looked at her wearily, desperate not to have to clean out the bucket, she still looked miserable, and I didn’t blame her. Throughout the day she had been sick three more times and I had had to deal with the bucket. But now it was getting late and she had managed to keep down some soup. Everything seemed to calm down.

We slept in the living room that night. My sister didn’t want to move, I wanted to keep an eye on her, and my brother still felt since he was the oldest he should be in charge. I knew better though. He might be the oldest and legally responsible as the adult, but I was in charge. I was the one who took charge when it was needed. I was the adult. I was also twelve.

Daily Prompt: Perspective

Daily Prompt: Perspective.

03-05

Write about the last disagreement you had with a friend or family member — from their perspective

“You’re a fool.”

I’m the fool? I’m the fool! What gives you the right to condemn me as the fool. You left the door open! I don’t say anything, how can I say anything to that, I take a sip of my still too hot tea and let it burn the tip of my tongue. Denied my drink of pleasure I take a deep breath and savor the scent as it fills me and keeps me sane.

“Oh so now you’re ignoring me? Real mature.”

If my being mature is your only defense I was fighting too hard to begin with. I put the cup down. Sometimes it really is better to ignore your emotions when dealing with my best friend, too strong willed and emotional themselves to understand why I have to ignore them.

“So that’s it. We’re just going to sit here and pretend that this is fine? We’re going to let you finish your tea calmly and then what? You think I’m just going to sit here and let you walk out without stopping you? There will be plenty of time tomorrow. This is madness and you know it!”

Of course I know it. Do you think I’d be here looking for your support if I didn’t know it? I did realize how close to tears I was in that moment. Something must have betrayed me though. Perhaps my eyes were just a little too close to tears. Perhaps my friend knows me well enough no matter how I try to hide it. I won’t ever ask what gave me away.

“You’re going to do this no matter what I say aren’t you?” My best friend sighed standing up from the table, pushing the kitchen chair away roughly.

I have to do this. You know it as well as I do. I merely nod. Then drink almost half my still too hot tea and savor the burn that I can pretend is the liquid and not my emotions clawing at my throat.

My best friend walks to the closet by the door and grabs something. I cannot look up from staring at the lip of the cup, hoping that the wavering is from the steam and not my eyes betraying me. The cup is pulled from my fingers and I find myself staring at my friend, wearing their warmest winter coat.

“Get up fool.”

What are you doing? You can’t go out in this weather? I wouldn’t want

“Come on you’re not doing this alone.” My coat is thrust into my arms and my hand is grabbed. My best friend is pulling me towards the door. “Remember though if we end up dying in this blizzard looking for your damn dog, I’m so haunting you.”

Wouldn’t expect anything else from you. Still I can’t help smile as we do something incredibly foolish heading out into the blizzard.

Daily Prompt: Twenty-Five – “Without You”

Daily Prompt: Twenty-Five.

Daily Prompt – 25

03-04

There are 26 letters in the English language, and we need every single one of them. Want proof? Choose a letter and write a blog post without using it. (Feeling really brave? Make it a vowel!)

“Without You” (no – u, j,q,x,z)

It was Friday.

The table was a mess. A newspaper’s pages covered everything.

Yet the newspaper had only one thing circled.

“Caroline Bale

Born – 05/15/1954

Died 11/23/2004

Mother, sister, friend.

She will be missed.”

There were tearstains on the paper, and a ring of water from the whiskey glass.

She was only given five lines.

She will be missed.

Daily Prompt – No, Thanks

Daily Prompt: No, Thanks.

Is there a place in the world you never want to visit? Where, and why not?

Hamish knew exactly where this was heading. He knew where the conversation was leading to, and he was not going to stick around for it. With a great heave he pulled himself out of his chair and leaned heavily on his stick. The conversation in the dining room ground to a halt as they saw him approaching. They dithered as though he was incapable of hearing them from the other room. He wanted to scoff at them but he was too tired.

“If you’re going to talk about me, I suggest you wait until I’m dead.” He huffed. “Or at least out of ear-shot. I’m old not deaf, blind, or mute.”

“Hey Gramps.” His daughters oldest grinned. He was a slimy little toad and Hamish knew exactly what he was after.

“I am your Grandfather, not Gramps. If you can’t get that right, why should to get anything at all.” He threatened with a sniff. “Abigail, get the car will you?”

His niece, lovely girl, nodded and left the room without waiting for the ‘family council’ to give their approval.

“Dad we know you’re not deaf.” His oldest daughter, Millie. Sweet thing, worries too much, married a lout.

“Or blind, or mute?” He prompted.

His daughter chuckled. “You are most certainly not mute. But I bet you couldn’t see us from the other room?” She dared.

“Doesn’t make me blind. I know what you’re up to and it’s not going to happen.” He said with a thump of his cane on the floor.

“We’re thinking about what’s best for you, Dad.” Eric, his son, always a bit weedy, smart as a whip though.

“You’re thinking about what’s best for you.” Hamish responded. “Once you got Angus put up, thought you’d turn to the baby brother. Don’t see Abigail helping you in your quest.”

“Dad..”

“That’s because she’s been, with me. We’ve seen him in that place, forgetting who he was. Forgetting me and her. You keep living your lives and living through your cell phones. We got in that car every damned day and visit my brother. When’s the last time you visited your uncle, Millie?”

She halted guilt plain on her face.

“Did you even stay five minutes after unpacking his things into that box of a room?” He demanded of his son. “No. You didn’t you were too busy. I’m old not dead. You won’t put me in a box until it’s my coffin, so don’t try convincing me with pamphlets. And don’t you dare talk about it at my brother’s wake. I’ve seen the hell he lived in, sitting by the phone as if it were his only line to life. Did any of you call him? Did you wait until it was too late and cry that you had meant to do more? Oh you’d planned to visit if only he hadn’t up and died before you had the time?”

He stared at the shamed faces of his family. Not one dared to meet his eye, even the slimy toad was flushed red at his part in the tragedy that was his brother’s final days.

Abigail stood in the doorway stone faced, her tears long since cried out. He nodded to her and leaned heavily on his cane. “That said, it’s been a horrible afternoon. And just so you know I will not be signing up for a stay at any retirement home/village/or any such nonsense. I’ll die at home or in a hospital and without the tender care of any assistance workers. You will excuse me now. I’ve just lost my brother and my family’s trying to sweep me under the carpet, I think I deserve a drink.”

He grabbed the whiskey glass from the table next to his son. It was the good stuff. He drank it in one swift gulp and wiped his lips on the sleeve of his suit.

“Come Abigail. Someone sober needs to drive me home.”

Daily Prompt – Places

Daily Prompt: Places.

Beach, mountain, forest, or somewhere else entirely?

Terry really, really didn’t want to open his eyes. He knew, deep in his bones, knew, it was a bad idea. With a groan of realization he cracked his left eye. As he had feared he was not at home. He was supposed to be at home. His wife was expecting him at home, and if the sun was telling the truth he was very, very late in getting home. He groaned again and let his eye close.

He was not at home. And he was definitely in trouble.

And his head hurt, and his mouth felt like something died in it.

Yes he was hung over. His wife might very well skin him for this. She was having a dinner party last night and he’d blown it. He thinks. Last night’s mostly a blur that hurts to think about. He shifts and something rustles under him. Did he see the sun when he opened his eye? Yes definite red glow filtering through, and there was a dampness soaking through his shirt that he knew wasn’t from some hotel or a friends couch. So he was probably outside.

Outside was bad. Outside meant a lot more places he could be with the possibility of not having civilization around to get him aspirin. A very manly whine may have escaped at the thought of waking up without aspirin. All the same his shirt was uncomfortably wet and the red haze was sharp and demanding. He rolled so the sun hit his back. All he accomplished was a sharp pain on his ribs that had him yelping and sitting up much too fast.

He found himself relieved of last night’s meal. Huh, looks like he made it to the dinner party then. So how had he ended up outside. In a forest if the pinecone he’d damaged his ribs on was anything to go on. He squinted through the pain and found himself staring at the damp bark of a pine tree. Which he decided made sense what with the pinecone of doom that had attacked him.

He managed to lean onto the tree’s trunk and may have fallen asleep. It was a stupidly loud bird call that made him groan awake once more, this time his pants annoyingly wet as well as his shirt. He really couldn’t get a break. With a sigh and more than a little help balancing from his friend the pine tree he managed to stand up.

For the first time he really looked around and was surprised that he was not in a forest. Sure there were pinecones and pine needles and even his very own pine tree to rest against but beyond that, nothing but a Martian landscape of red hills and dirt. He shook his head and winced. He was mostly certain he was not on Mars. Why and how would he be on Mars? He was at his wife’s dinner party last night, at some point.

He took a worried step forward and his foot hit the Pinecone of Doom which slid out from under him and sent him falling back onto his trust friend the pine tree. He looked between the pine tree, and look behind him more sparsely spread out pine trees, then out to the Martian landscape. Not the dirt of the red planet he assured himself. Red clay. Georgia. That’s right his wife’s dinner party was his wife’s mothers dinner party. He had been out with his wife’s brother and his friend, they had gotten to the party and that last glass of wine had turned into a whiskey then … He wasn’t certain what happened after that, something about baiting the crew.

What crew he wasn’t sure. But it had sounded like a wonderful plan at the time. He scanned all around, he couldn’t see a house. Just red clay a couple pine trees and more red clay. God his head hurt. He contemplated sleeping again but everything just ached. He wanted a shower and about ten aspirin. Also to punch his brother-in-law … yea punching him sounded pretty good right about now.

He scanned some more and saw a glint of .. something off by one of the large hills of clay. Gathering himself up he managed a few steps. Then a few more, soon he was walking like he’d done it his whole life. Albeit with his hand pressed to his head and his eyes barely open. The sun was too damned bright in the south.

Cresting the hill was difficult, his feet kept sticking in the clay then sliding where it formed a slick mud coating. His hands were filthy and he couldn’t wipe the gunk off of him even as it dried forming a second orange skin complete with cracks over his knuckles that mimicked the wrinkles in his hands perfectly. Finally he made it to the hill top and was surprised at what he saw. The glint that had drawn him was metal. Big yellow metal construction tractors. Several of them silent in the afternoon sun. He was at a construction site. In Georgia. Somewhere near his wife’s mother’s house. And it was Sunday. No one would come today and send him in the right direction. He pressed his fingers to his eyelids and immediately regretted it as the clay crumbled slightly leaving dust in his eyes when he opened them.

He grunted and looked about. He could see much more from his new vantage point. The tree’s where he’d been asleep, the machines dotted around the construction site and more tree’s, on the other side. He stood staring for a minute and could honestly not decide which way he should go, but it seemed a shame to backtrack to the trees he had left earlier, not to mention the Pinecone of Doom would probably kill him if he returned.

He started carefully down the clay hill and was shocked at how quickly the trees were gone from his site. If he had woken here, he may well have believed in aliens. Giant metal yellow aliens though, he could still see the large trucks with their claws to shape the earth. He started up the next hill and stopped.

He heard something, something shrill. Something pissed off and worried. He smiled, he would call back but he was certain that was a very bad idea given the state of his head. Instead he hurried back down the hill and followed the call as best he could. Minutes later he was climbing up another crumbling yet damp clay hill, and really why was Georgia earth so determined to contradict itself he was not certain. He managed to clear the top and smiled at the sight he managed through his squinted eyes. A shame faced brother-in-law with a clear red handprint on his cheek and a worried wife calling incessantly for him to stop fooling around. He raised his hand to wave and miss-stepped. He yelped as he slid down the clay hill, dirt and rocks slidding up under his shirt, one rock gouging a line all the way to his shoulderblade before wedging itself in tight, his left shoe filling with loose powdery dirt that had dried on top while his sock cuff managed to slick up with wet clay from underneath the dry. He lay still at the bottom of the hill for a moment eyes shut and really, did he want to open them again? He wasn’t certain.

Then there was a cool hand on his brow and another on his cheek. Soft words, that didn’t hurt his head. He smiled softly. His wife. He frowned. That meant his wife’s brother was there. All this was his fault. In a snap he managed to open his eyes stand up and plant a mean right hook on the brother-in-laws jaw.

He may have yelled something about pinecones. But he wasn’t sure. He was certain that he’d have to try again when he wasn’t so hungover, the brother-in-law had barely rocked back. Although he was grinning like a fool and patting his shoulder. He decided he would wait until the headache had passed. He may have whined about needing aspirin. He really didn’t care though. His wife’s hand was on his back her soft voice scolding her brother made him smirk as they carefully negotiated the construction site and headed back to showers, and beds, and aspirin.

He really needed an aspirin.

Daily Prompt – Send a message to the Future

Daily Prompt: Back to the Future.

A service has been invented through which you can send messages to people in the future. To whom would you send something, and what would you write?

It had happened a couple months ago, a breakthrough in science they told us, a way to electronically send a message to the future. Even detailed delivery was available, to a specific person, to arrive at a specific moment, in fact it seemed the more specific the easier it was to ensure deliver. There were awed silences, parties among the theoretical physicists who had worked their whole lives on such a thing. Some denounced it as heresy. I didn’t really care all that much about it. I couldn’t see how it affected me at all. In fact I found I didn’t think I would ever use it.

I have always kept a diary. Not always diligently, and not always with beautiful prose or a pretty binding. Nonetheless I find myself writing my thoughts and feelings, my passions and fears, my own little self-help book and personal history. Occasionally I find myself leafing through the pages of one of my varied diaries, smirking at myself when it seems I’ve written while completely drunk, sometimes visiting a particular time to help myself come to terms with who I am and who I was when I had written those entries.

It was while jotting down a note my roommate of several years came into the kitchen while brushing her teeth with a curious look on her face. She spat the froth from her mouth into the sink, causing me to grimace.

“I’m going to the expo tomorrow.” She said. “You’re coming with me.” She turned and left without even rinsing the sink out.

So the next day, against my better judgment I ended up at the expo and pulled around from new exciting breakthrough to new exciting breakthrough really just wishing for the weekend to end so I could get back to work. I wondered if that made me a sad person, everyone else seemed to be enjoying themselves. My roommate eventually went to the long line of people excited to try out the newest and most exciting breakthrough and send their messages to the future. I ended up bringing her a flat fried tortilla that apparently had enough nutrients to feed a person for a week and tasted of pizza. She ate it in about ten minutes.

We grew closer and closer to the front of the line and she was so excited to send her message that I couldn’t deny her by trying to drag us out, even though I wanted to be in bed and the trains stopped in half an hour. Finally we arrived and she grinned like a school girl, leaned forward and whispered to the machine. The screen lit up and she apparently liked what she saw and hit a too large red button sending the message off to the future.

I rolled my eyes and she hurried off the platform. There was no need to rush away from the expo now. Neither of us could afford a taxi back home, even pooling our money, and the trains wouldn’t fun until 7 the next morning. With a sigh we did what we always did in these situations, and what did that say about us that we had such things planned already, we went up a floor and looked for an unused meeting room. Then we hid ourselves behind the meeting table and using our coats as blankets and our arms as pillows curled up to sleep, making sure our expo passes were secured and our bags safely tucked between us.

We were up hours later with no need to rush to the train. It was Sunday the last day of the expo. Many of the tables were shutting down and packing up, most of the freebies had been given away. Some of the stalls were discounting their merchandise but by this time most of the expo goers had run out of money or run out of space in their bags. The line to the message sender was dwindling. It was sort of poetic. Three days and it had lost its sparkle. Sure it had been out for a couple months but three days at this expo and no one seemed so excited they’d wait for the hours we’d waited just yesterday. This fad, it seemed, would be like so many before it the most amazing thing ever until the next one when it would fade into obscurity. I must have looked whistful though because my roommate hooked her arm through mine and marched me over to the line.

“Your turn.” She demanded, the hard line of her jaw telling me I wasn’t getting out of this.

So there I stood in a line that would take bare minutes and I was told I was sending a message to the future, who would I send it to, myself? Perhaps. What on earth could I put in it? I didn’t know then I was standing looking at the screen it’s blank page staring at me, the cursor winking as though it were bored waiting for my instructions. Leaning forward I whispered into the microphone, much as my friend had done yesterday and pressed the red button, barely bothering to read the print out.

Satisfied my roommate let us leave and my back thanked her. Sleeping on the floor puts me all out of whack. I’m not as young as I once was. It takes us two hours once we board the train to get to the station find the car and drive the rest of the way home. I cook a meal for myself and my roommate groans at the scent, apparently the tortilla also keeps you full for a week, which should be impossible, but then again there are so many things that used to be impossible that aren’t anymore, why freak out about one more?

I stir the pot of spaghetti once more before deciding it’s done and plate up. My roommate yelps from the living room and I come running, pot still in hand.

“What?” I demand, brandishing the dirty wooden spoon like a weapon.

“I just got all tingly.” She yelped again and walked away from the couch. There was a sudden drop in temperature and we looked at each other with wide eyes.

“If you summoned a demon .. “ I threatened.

“Right, right, it’s my problem to clean up and you’re using me as fodder to escape. You’ve told me before.” She rolled her eyes. The couch seemed to pulse and writhe while remaining statuesque, which was terrifying and compelling, neither of us could look away from the phenomenon. And then there was a piece of paper on the floor, my roommates name boldly written in green letters.

Taking my spoon, and dripping red sauce on the floor she edged towards the paper and picked it up cautiously. She sniffed it. I have no idea why she sniffed it, I have a feeling she didn’t know either. With wide eyes she pulled it open and flinched.

Nothing happened.

She read from the paper and huffed.

Then giggled.

Then cleared her throat and read out loud.

“This could have been sent in an email, or if I wanted to take longer snail mail. Any message sent ends up in the future. I don’t understand why you made me miss my train for this.”

Grin and retrieved my spoon.

“You’re cleaning the floor.” I inform her and she chuckled.

“And you cheated.” She insisted.

It is six years until I find out what her message was. She was living across the country married to some musician while I was living not too far from our old apartment, not yet married, although there has been some interesting company I’ve been keeping. It’s not the first of these messages I’ve received. In fact I’ve got a special box that came out three years ago that keeps all the freaky moving not moving stuff from happening all over the room you are in. Instead it all happens in the box then the paper slides out as soon as you next pass it. The boxes are all over the place so you can get messages pretty much anywhere. I’ve received them at work and at the grocery store and even once while sitting on a park bench.

I pick up the paper and see the distinctive green ink. Missives almost always come in black or blue, red occasionally for business purposes. This green had really only ever been used in the very early days. Sitting on the couch, the same couch my roommate had been frightened out of years ago, I let my fingers ghost over the name, my name.

I sat there for several minutes then shook myself out of it. Unfolding the paper I can’t help but grin.

“I didn’t cheat.” It starts. “I bet you will.” And I had, I really had.

“You owe me dinner.” I must say that line confused me, for all of thirty seconds when my doorbell rang.

I practically leapt from the couch and flung the door open. There stood my old roommate, husband nowhere to be seen and bottle of wine in her hand.

“This was a much better message than yours.” She declared and thrust the bottle at me. “Where’s my dinner woman?” She demanded flopping onto the couch.

I spent maybe five minutes in the kitchen before bringing her a plate with a fried tortilla on it. “Spaghetti alright?” I indicate the plate and she picks up the tortilla and takes a nibble.

“Mmm. Just like old times.” And she turns on the teleview-screen happily munching while watching reruns of some awful soap opera we used to watch in college.

I wrote in my diary and when I’d finished tucked it away in its record box. It scans each time saving the progress, all my journals are stored in there. It has an auto link to my personal net. When I die it send everything in it forward two years, to whoever’s name I last told it. Right now that’s still my roommate, my best friend, and if she’s gone too, it’s to her oldest child. It’s a little morbid but at the same time, I’m certain my story and hers will be seen by those it matters to, and maybe they will get some laughs, and see who we really were at certain times in our lives. Maybe they’ll watch through us as impossible things became normal and they can wonder at what they will see become normal.

My best friend throws the remote at me.

“Bored,” she declares grinning.

I roll my eyes at her, and wonder if it will ever stop being entertaining.