Gwendolyn was everywhere. Her eyes watched, lips kissed, heart went out to me. As I ventured to shift the paradigms of space and time, her image sought to secure me. She wrestled with infinity, and I realised what a fool I’d been.
Why search for the answers to the past when one had an unexplainable future? I had wasted what I now wanted to quantify, the only answer I received that which I already knew: I was a fool.
I closed my eyes, reached down a hand I could not feel and grasped fingers lost to time. My brain said push, my fingers did as bidden. Time looped; I felt it. Time looped and whirled and span and kicked and fought and hated and loved and loved and loved.
I woke to air and the most beautiful chestnut eyes. My helmet lay on the floor at my darling Gwendolyn’s feet.
“Satisfied?” she whispered.
“For a time,” said I.
Without sight to guide me, I relaxed into a world of strangely calming pain. I had known my chemical concoction would hurt and had prepared for it, but had not factored for its abrupt dissipation. The pain vanished almost as soon as I was rendered blind. I could’ve been just a fool in a suit in a laboratory in a house, or I could’ve been something entirely different. Senseless, I awaited life’s next stage.
When, at last, a chill took upon me and my view cleared to a dripping window, my world had changed. Gone was my home, my country, my earth and in its place, the stars. The universe materialised in a trillion specks of light. They did not stand still.
The sensation of movement was never there, but move I did. The stars gained speed to incalculable velocities, my everything a blinding single light. At its centre, my love.
To Be Continued…
The chemical soup entered my mouth with stinging acidity, then flowed down my throat like the bitterest pill. A churning crock-pot, my stomach took the brunt of the attack. Soon, the pain in my body was eclipsed by the burning behind my eyes. The room spun. The world spun. Just I thought myself time’s greatest fool, a man who in seeking knowledge had ignored facts and paid the price, everything changed.
It started with my laboratory; the pictures danced. Be them portrait, photograph or idle sketch, the collated images of a life devoted to science moved of their own volition, the smallest first and largest last. The final picture to vibrate into life was that of Victoria herself. Gone was the grey gloom, returned the softness of youth. In the blinking of an eye, our sovereign became a child.
I watched in disbelief as the glass viewing portal steamed, and I, unable to raise my arms to wipe it, was lost to a universal fog.
To Be Continued…
Formerly the trappings of an aquanaut, my containment suit was a most uncomfortable means of surfing time. As already mentioned, the weighted, steel boots I had secured to the tiled floor allowed for no lateral movement. Good, because if they had, there’d have been no telling where I may or may not have materialised, or, rather, what may or may not have materialised within me.
My whole theorem was that time should move around me rather than me through time. If I had interfered with said time, the consequences to myself would have been dire. Or so I reckoned, anyway. Better to be safe than sorry in matters of life and death.
The mahogany lever attached to my left leg was now in the fully vertical position, which allowed my suit to fill with the chemicals required to facilitate my extraction from reality. They bubbled, fizzed and rapidly expanded from the inert lake around my knees to a volcanic brew that raced through the suit. When the liquid reached my mouth, I panicked. Who wouldn’t have? However, by then, it was much too late to go back.
To Be Continued…
Time looped, whilst I remained immobile. Bolted to my laboratory floor, the temporal suit, my greatest invention, allowed its occupant to experience the universe as only a god should.
I had strapped myself in with the harness made from a horse’s reins; the leather worn but strong, then dared and double-dared my brain, who rebelled at the time, into adjusting that last lever. I had, of course, placed a self-explanatory note on the mantelpiece addressed to my dear Gwendolyn. Resting against the carriage clock we had purchased with our joint savings on first moving into our home, it symbolised our love. My wife, however, had not the same propensity for knowledge as I, instead, preferring happiness over the pursuit of answers. I could not be happy without knowing the answers, and so a stalemate was reached. She would never have truly understood.
My fingers grasped the mahogany lever carved from the leg of a favourite bureau; it felt real in a world that was not. A final glance to England’s monarch, Victoria staring out from her portrait like a doom-laden soothsayer, and I was ready. I pulled the lever.
To Be Continued…
It was warm and safe and everything life was meant to be. I had no reason to leave, no desire to leave, no hopes or expectations of the world beyond. And yet, I did. They dragged me from her like a barnacle from a ship’s hull. I seemed to remember that from somewhere? A ship. My ship. Our ship.
I exploded out of the darkness into a world of light and sound and pain and heartbreak. But also love. All I’d been and all I would be, all the memories, sensations, truths of life departed in those split seconds of rebirth. And for a heartbeat, I was disconsolate. But not for long, as someone lifted me to the most beautiful creature I’d seen in all eternity, her brown eyes overflowing with love. Her eyes like my eyes, or ours, or both?
I hope you enjoyed passing through eternity’s curtains.
Our lives stretched from birth to death and back again. Everything we’d ever been and would be unravelled like silly string shot from a can. A painless separation, my companions drifted away as if lost in a waking dream; I would never see them again. Our ship collapsed into the atoms it had sprung from to sail infinity forever, and I was left abandoned.
A euphoria took me akin to the day of my birth, an overwhelming joy. And that was when it hit me.
Everything. It was everything. It wasn’t just a day at the beach as a six-year-old, a night of sticky touches twelve years later, nor that first kiss of married life years later still, I remembered everything. Most of all, I remembered the love of a mother who sealed me in a cocoon of life-giving water. I saw the light through her skin, felt the warmth from her heart, her hand close to my forehead. Everything. Yes, everything, and with not a second in between.
To Be Continued…
The universe rippled sending cascades of forever rolling across my soul. I was lost. I was found. The stars made sea spray splashed across my face like some cosmic aftershave, and I wept. I’m not ashamed to admit it, I wept. A perfect dream, I sought to wake, to emerge from my revelations into a life revitalised, a corporeality I understood, at last. But I couldn’t. You probably know this now. I was the dream and always would be.
How little we know
Of what you hide,
Conceal behind cotton skirts.
Do the answers to life unravel,
Twist in obsidian flux,
Hidden from all by such delicate shields?
I think it preferable not to know,
Then we can imagine with smiles upon our faces
What golden suns do shine upon,
In grain of wood lies honest truth
Of years spent struggling to reach world’s roof.
A time that seems so very far,
Distant wafts of pure amber.
Where overcoats were made of leaf,
And mistral winds bore no teeth.
Set against idyllic scenes
That we envision in our dreams.
Yet now I set my drink on you,
Instead of admiring verdant view.
But know I look at what was skin,
And wish your world was my real kin.