Monday, August 2, 2010

Chapter Five

Bartram had lost track of time. He had been staring through the void for a couple hours. The only activity he had seen was the shadows on the house stretching along in an elliptical pattern. He wished he could rewind the void to witness the neighbor's boy again. He tried to re-imagine what he had seen earlier to put detail to the memory. It was such a quick incident, and it had taken him by surprise, that he could not exactly recall what the young man had been wearing, let alone any other detail. Now, over two hours later, Bartram could not be 100% positive if it was Jeanette's son that he had seen. Or if he had seen anything at all. Could his mind be playing tricks on him? Did this bauble from another time exist?

Bartram stepped back and attempted to study the void without peering through it. It definitely was there. Or was it? Could his mind be creating an illusion? He would need to show this to someone. He needed confirmation that it was not the creative center of his brain working overtime. He thought about calling his sister and asking her to come over. He tried to picture what would happen with Amy. If she did not see the void, she would insist on his seeking psychiatric help. To avoid this, he would have to trick her into finding the void by herself. Then what would happen? If she discovered this peek hole through time, she would announce it to the world. Amy was quite public with any major events in their lives. It was easy to visualize Amy calling tv stations and newspaper reporters. Bartram wanted to keep the void as private as possible. No, Amy would not do.

He briefly considered sharing his discovery with Jeanette. But if it's her son that is involved in a possible burglarizing of his home, she might not confide in Bartram in what she see would through the void. Was it her son that he saw earlier? Did he see Jeanette's son leaving his house as if he committed a crime? He wish he knew for certain if it was her boy he saw. God, he wished he had paid closer attention to his neighbors. When he attended Robert and Trina's funerals, he had a hard time recognizing the girl. It was not because she had been disfigured in the accident, she was not, but it was because he never had really looked at her before.

Bartram was terrible at remembering people. Many times he would talk to someone at the supermarket, or other public places, and he would have no idea how he knew them. His circle of friends was small, and he knew them well. It was the casual people of his life, he would recognize but not recall their name or how he knew them. Talking to a familiar person in line at the Post Office, Bartram would not have a clue if they were a neighbor from down the block, or a bowler from a rival team, or someone who worked at his old plant, or a friend of one his friends. One time at the beach he had carried on a conversation with a woman he had dated, and the whole time thought she was the cashier from a local party store.

Bartram divided the women in his life as AM and PM: After Marriage and Pre Marriage. With his PM dating, Bartram was always looking for a partner to share the rest of his life. With his AM dating, Bartram was only looking for a partner to share the rest of the night. It was never declared in the divorce document, but with the settlement to Julia, Bartram relinquished any and all interest in romance.

As Bartram's mind wandered, the curtains that had been closed suddenly spread open. Jeanette held the curtains apart and was looking right at him. Through the void the curtains remained shut.

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