Snapping at the fly, Hachikō climbs onto the branch above my head. With his tail wagging excitedly, I shield my eyes from the light of the sun as it flickers beyond. It might be on its descent, yet it’s still bright enough to leave me blind if I stare at it for any length of time. Looking up, the light from between Meeko’s legs is as hypnotising as ever. Surveying the horizon as if she were a pirate searching for her shore, she gazes longingly at what I can’t yet see. Lowering her eyes, she turns them first to the dog, and then to me.
“What did you mean before?” she asks, out of breath.
Reaching out, I grab hold of the next branch. Lifting myself without too much difficulty, I balance on my belly as the ground below grows distant. The sights and sounds around me are different somehow, even though I’ve only climbed one more branch. Kicking my feet, I linger in my prone state reminiscing about my childhood. In particular, how I would once spend so much time on the swings in the park behind my old house. The inner visions bring with them feelings I haven’t felt for the longest of times. Happy ones, mostly, but the persistence of loss taints everything.
“You said that you were moving through time.”
“Yes,” I say, “but not merely forwards.”
“No. They tell you in school that time’s arrow only shoots forwards, but it’s not true, Not true at all.”
Standing next to her on the branch, we must be over a dozen feet or so in the air. Maybe more. The branch isn’t the sturdiest looking, but it doesn’t matter. We won’t be on it for long before we move ahead on our journey.
“What do you mean?” she asks. With one arm on my lower back and the other wrapped around the trunk of the tree, she surveys my face the same as she did her shore.
“Exactly that. That time isn’t linear. It’s taken me many years to understand what’s going on. That being said, I still don’t have that much of a clue, but I do know that what they tell you about not going back—it’s a lie. There are these doors, you see.”
“Yes,” I say, “so many, many doors.”
X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon UK
X and I: A Novel and A Journal for Damned Lovers on Amazon US
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