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Time Can Only Tell
“Does it hurt you think?”
“Does what hurt?”
“Does it hurt to die?”
I winced, the question hitting me like a punch to the gut. It is such a clique question, something straight out of a movie, but hearing it now, out of the mouth of someone I love…
I don’t reply to the little girl in my arms. The little girl I had come to know so much about. Her name is Rebecca and she is eight years old. Her hair is blonde and her eyes are green. She loves to eat cake and has to eat a pickle with every meal. Her favorite animal is the elephant and her favorite thing to wear is her red rain poncho. She gets scared of the dark easy and usually has to sleep in my bed. She can sing as well as any professional.
I look up at the other person with us. Bryan is staring at the little girl, pain etched across his face. I know that in his mind, he is thinking the same things I am.
“Does it?” Rebecca demanded me. She looked at Bryan. “Does it?”
Bryan looked away from her, up at the starry sky above us. This is Rebecca’s favorite spot. On the rooftop of the two story hotel building, she felt like the queen of the world.
I watch as her body slowly becomes transparent, her body flickering as if she herself were a dying light. I can see my hands through her for a moment then she becomes solid again. Tears stream from her eyes.
“I don’t want to leave.” She whimpers.
I feel my own tears fall down my cheeks. Bryan looks at me as I let out a cry. He knows I am not a crier and my own tears seem to trigger something in him. He bursts into sobs. There is just something not right about seeing him cry. His beautiful eyes flooded with tears. The same eyes Rebecca has. I cry harder at the thought.
“Don’t cry mama.” Rebecca says reaching up a hand in a feeble attempt to wipe my tears. “I only wanted to come so…so you and daddy would love each other more.”
I think back to these past few months, when Rebecca came to the past to meet us, her seventeen year old future parents. He scheme to make each other fall in love so that perhaps we would stay together longer and on into the future. The opposite happened however, and as fast as we fell in love, we fell apart. Now, Rebecca no longer exists. This special, smart, beautiful baby girl no longer exists.
“Here.” Rebecca holds up her mood ring to me. It, also from the future, it flickering, no longer to exist. “Take it.”
I take it, even though I feel it fading in my palm. “Thank you sweetie.”
Bryan reaches out a hand, and strokes Rebecca’s head. She smiles a little. “You guys do this before I go to bed at night… when you are adults…”
Before our eyes she flickers and disappears from sight. We stay silent, unmoving. My hands still positioned, holding the girl no longer there. Bryan’s hand hovers in thin air, where her hair had been. After a moment I open my hand. The ring is gone and I feel as if my heart is physically torn in two.
“She…” Bryan lets out a wail.
“Rebecca.” I moan.
Our vigil is not brief. We sit until the sun begins to rise up above the city.
“Lily,” Bryan whispers and brushes a strand of my tear soaked hair back behind my ear. “I’m sorry.”
“It’s not your fault.” I choke.
“But it is…” He said. “I should of… I should of worked things out with you. I shouldn’t of given up on us so quickly.”
I shake my head. “I did the same thing…I…I’m sorry.”
I’m not one for apologies either. He seems almost taken aback. I turn my head away but he pulls my face back to him.
“This has been a wonderful adventure with you. And I know….” He moves closer. “If we…if we can be friends I can find out more about you because….you are so unpredictable.” He smiles a sad smile. Tears falling from his eyes. “She is so much like you.”
I touch his face with the back of my hand and kiss him. “She is so much like us.” I whisper.
We stay for a long while, just like that until the sun fully rises above the buildings and its time to go. We stand on shaky knees and turn to go downstairs and back to the way our lives had been, if that is even possible.
He takes my hand and jumps. “What?” He exclaims.
In his hand, is the mood ring.
I look at the spot we had just left. She isn’t there.
“What do you think….” Bryan asks, alarmed.
I sigh and shake my head, gazing up at the sky. “It’s alright. She’s fine. I know it.” I look at Bryan. “I think she accomplished what she came here to do.”