Time Frame

Contributor: Justine M Dunn

- -
My wife and I sat by the river drinking beer, as we often did on a Saturday afternoon. The streets were busy, the sunshine a welcome visitor after a week of sporadic weather. We watched the pedestrians flow past in their hundreds; some dressed for dinner others looked ready for the beach.

We chewed our courtesy peanuts as we chatted and I waved the waitress for another round of beers. Just as my arm reached its resting position on my thigh, my wife gasped and stared at me wide eyed.
“What happened to you just then?” She said, snatching her sunglasses away from her face.
“What do you mean?”
“You vanished. I blinked, and then for a tiny, tiny second you weren’t there.”
“Um, I haven’t gone anywhere.” I replied, confused at her sudden outburst and slightly embarrassed by the flutter of attention by the couple on the next table.
She sat bolt upright in her chair, her hands clutching the armrests whilst the thumb of her right hand pinched hold of the arm of her shades.
“You vanished.” She said, deadly seriously.
“Shh, calm down.” I touched her lightly on her knee, she watched my hand as it returned to my lap once again. “You must have just done a funny blink and it looked like I wasn’t here.”
“A funny blink?”
“I don’t know, maybe you’re eye rolled around a bit and didn’t quite focus properly when you opened it.” I was clutching at straws but had little else to offer. I hadn’t gone anywhere, but the look on her face told me she thought differently.
“I swear to God, for a moment, just like a flash, you weren’t there.” She put her sunglasses on the table and looked at her hand. “Look, I’m shaking.”
I took hold of her hand and squeezed it.
“You think I imagined it don’t you?” She was getting upset now.
“No, but I don’t really have an explanation for you. As far as I’m aware I have just been sitting here the whole time so I don’t think there’s much I can say.”
“Well that was only our second beer, I’m far from drunk.” She was chewing her nail now, a sure sign she was upset.
“Look, let’s just forget about it.” I suggested, hoping she would calm down a little.
“Forget about it?”
“I really don’t know what else we can do.”
“You don’t believe me do you?”
One of the things I love most about my wife, and I have done since our very early days, is that what’s written on her face reflects exactly what she’s feeling inside. She has an honestly so pure I swear she is heaven sent. She is unable to even tell the smallest of fibs; even acceptable ones when it’s Christmas or a friends birthday. Her face reveals what her soul is feeling and as I looked at her then, I knew without a doubt that she believed what she was saying. Even so, I still had no explanation for it.
“Of course I believe you, but...” My sentence trailed off and became little more than a sigh.
She pushed her chair back and stood up, said she was going to the toilet. I watched her leave, wishing I had some form of answer for her.

I took another sip of my beer and tried to make sense of the last sixty seconds. I watched the people as they passed by in their summer clothing, hats and flip flops. I just wearing a snow jacket? The thought entered my mind from nowhere. And, wasn’t I in a place without many people around? Indoors, there were only a few of us, all cold and confused? Thoughts and questions were flooding into my mind now, the more that came the more that followed. We were left alone for hours, tired and hungry. I reached for my beer, now it was my turn to have the shakes. It remained on the table while I clenched my fists. The waitress brought over the next round, I told her I had finished with the previous one. I sat forward and lifted the fresh pint with both hands, bringing the glass to my mouth like a child.

As I sat by the river in the city, the church bells chimed. Out of tune but reliable, they chimed to announce that it was three o’clock in the afternoon, we had left our home just one hour ago. I glanced down at my wrist; it was a habit of mine to check the time against that of my Rolex, though its reliability never failed me. According to my watch eight hours had passed since we left the house.

- - -
British born and currently living in Slovenia. Writes flash fiction and has recently completed her first novel.
Read more »
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati

Help keep Linguistic Erosion alive! Visit our sponsors! :)- - -