Two

You’re early!
Dinner’s not for four hours. And
what are you wearing?

Best retro I could manage…
The fact that I’m here halfway
on-time is astonishing.

Are your folks home?

Pop’s at work
until 5:00, and my mom’s picking
up my little brother.
She’ll be home in a couple hours.
How did you get here?

God, I don’t know. I just…
went into the kitchen, and remembered you
pulling sweet tea from your ice-chest,
and thought about tonight and…
I snap my fingers.

Interesting.

I know. You can’t imagine how many times
it hasn’t worked. Hey, speaking of the fridge,
why don’t we go downstairs?

Are you out of your mind?

Just trust me?

Gosh, it’s so cool.

A few minutes go by. She’s leaning
on the wall and I’m leaning
my head on her belly
while she fusses my hair.

I had the most horrible dream
this morning
, I say.

Oh, no. What happened?

It was like this other dream I have
all the time, where I’m being chased
all over the house by this thing,
all the way to my room.
But this time, instead of my sister waiting
for me there, like she usually does,
I was alone.

And then…?

It found me.

I only woke up
when I jumped out the window.

Oh, God. That is horrible.
Next time run to the Linden Street bridge.
That’s my safe place.

I sigh. Jenna tries to hug me; I prop myself
up and she kisses my forehead instead.

It’s okay. I’m just glad
I’m here now.

She smiles. I lay down again.
We each let out long sighs
and stare off.

What?

Oh, nothing. This moment.

She smirks.
Aren’t you romantic.

You have to see it
how I do. In 1976,
we’re on a shag couch—

A what?

Just go with it.

If you want me to picture
this magnificent 1970s basement
you’re going to have to give
me more. It’s okay, Dream-boy,
hold my hand
a little.

I point her finger around the room.

Over there, a tapestry I used to have
before my friend Andy took it
when he ran away.

In the window behind my mom’s books
there’s a dehumidifier, probably overflowing
the bucket.

Below us, a shag couch. Above
us, a watercolor still-life
of a hyacinth blossom—

Really?

My mother inherited her mother’s
paintings. Why do you think
it’s in the basement?

She couldn’t just stick it in storage?

Never would have occurred to her. Besides,
Grandpa use to visit.

…why that face?

I’m still getting used to the idea
of a couch made of carpet.

No, I say. You’re bored.
And you don’t want to know anything
about the future.

Mm… you’re good.

Not even Star Trek?

Star what?
She slaps my shoulder. No!

Maybe someday.

A while passes.

I sigh deeply.

What?

I just closed my eyes,
and when I opened them
you were still here.

She pats my head. Gosh,
you are romantic.

Jenna kisses me on the mouth.

Hey, I break the silence
and brush her hair behind her ear.
You never said what made you believe
me, that I’m really from 1976.
I mean, what in Heaven’s name
kept you from kicking me out?

Oh… I have to think.

It was that… that story
about you
at the top of the stairs,
when you saw the woman
in the riding boots. I’ve—

Hey, do you hear that?

Hear… what?

Those people talking.

Added: March 30, 2013 | Last changed: August 11, 2014