It’s difficult leaving others behind. I still have feelings and strong emotions. It’s just not mixed with the worry and fear. Without any dread in the equation, the outcome always works the way out somehow. No stress to cause needless turmoil. I can’t wait until I can figure out how to transmit this calm to others like Cat. She could use a big dose of calm right about now.
She stared at her computer. I’m always the one left behind. Why does this happen over and over to me? Ah, is it the Eternal’s way of getting back to me for, not believing? Cat left her office a little after 9:00 a.m. on the weekend, and a good-enough reason to leave her room to do something else other than daydream. Her parents both dead, left no wondering about their whereabouts, but others that had come and gone abruptly in her life indented an enormous apprehensive hole—are they okay or not?
She tried to keep her mind busy with her Grammy missing. Time went faster that way, less room for introspection. Though maybe someday they’ll find Grammy. Hmm, maybe she’ll just show up with all the other missing Infinītes out there.
After hiding herself for many months, Cat filed all the ‘missing person’s reports, trying to track her down abroad andlocally in case she made it back to this country. But the authorities found nothing and gave up altogether. Cat, on the other hand, never did.
She first experienced the sting of loss with her first love. Until that time life seemed simple. And at that time and throughout her childhood and into high school she had every summer to look forward to seeing her heartthrob Shenser. In essence, they grew up together every summer. Then that unexpectedly stopped when she moved away and lost contact, no longer able to go to summer camp.
She had had other boyfriends but never like that first one. That loss left an aching gap. That loss, if allowed would take her into deep, dark trips of reflection and speculation of his welfare.
Hmmm, married or single? Does he have a family? Where does he live? Does he ever think of me? She’d lodge in these introspection sessions for months on end.
Also, she always wondered if her love for Shenser intensified by not having him in her life. Oh maybe he’s bigger than life only in my imagination?
She had tried to track him down and always came up empty handed. Perhaps he too had died, but she also searched the obituaries — nothing.
She dimmed the light on her computer fighting off a headache or perhaps a heart-ache? And then, oh yes, my most recent heartache, Little Guy…
Should I wait in limbo my whole life? Get real. Move on girl…then flooded by feelings of guilt. Tormenting back and forth finally, she reassured herself that no self-respecting individual could wait a lifetime for such things. Really life’s too complicated. Oh grumpy me, I think I prefer my make-believe world.
So she did what any sophisticated dreamer would do and took it up a notch. During the tour of her make-believe world where her first love starred in this particular scene, just then the phone rang and pulled her into reality.
“Hello, this is Cat,” she said.
“Hi Cat,” the voice on the other end said.
Cat looked at her screensaver showing a mother dolphin swimming with her calf. Soothing her as the voice also soothed her in a way too deep for words.
“Hi Cat. Don’t know if you remember me from years ago?”
Only silence came from her end. Shssh, what should I say? Am I daydreaming?
“She stuttered, “Am I dreaming?”
“No, I’m for real and I just ran across your name and had to give you a call.”
“How did you run across my name?” she managed.
“Well, I work for King Camon of Copenica. I called to congratulate you, by the way, on your Daming award,” he breathed.
“Yeah,” she said, “still why did you call me? You, in particular?”
“Well, prior to this report I had no way of contacting you. But I finally found your address and contact info on this report. I need you to come to the palace for indoctrination in the near future. It’s protocol for the king to go through certain formalities before he passes you off to Queen Bruni at the Knighting ceremony. It’s like a coming of age party. Formal, but that’s the way they do things in Ningen.”
“So you needed to call me for this,” she said.
“I am so happy I found your contact information like I said. You’re a difficult woman to track down.”
“Oh, I see,” she said. So when does this take place?” She asked.
“The King would like you here in a week to two weeks at the latest. Can you do that that?” he asked.
“Do I have a choice? You want me to stay at Copenica for how long? What about my job and my whole life. This is such short notice? How long will this take?” she questioned. The whole time she winced on the other line though keeping her voice smooth so Shenser couldn’t tell her embarrassment. Dang, could he tell?
“At least a couple of weeks,” he said. “Think of it as a vacation. We’ll treat you like royalty. In fact, the king will compensate you for any time taken away from your livelihood as a marine biologist. That’s what you always wanted to do,” he added. “And you’ve done it.”
“Okay, she said.
Uh oh, does he think I doubt what he’s saying? She continued more confident than previously. “Two weeks will work for me,” she said. “Wow, I’ll have to finish current projects and take care of things at this end.”
She continued, “I can stay as long as you need me I have a flexible schedule. I don’t want to offend my host.”
Shenser said, “I’ll send you an itinerary and what you need to bring.”
“Okay,” she said, still dumbfounded. “I guess you have all my contact information now.” She sighed. “Thank you, I think, and goodbye.”
When she hung up, he vanished out of her life again without warning just like he called without warning. Had she conjured him up out of thin air?
Stealing Eternity is the (first draft of the) second book in the Infinite Series.
Written by Pam Kesterson