Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Reading (01/25/07)
TITLE: The Time Between Times
By Glenn A. Hascall
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This was the time when the mantle clock provided a metronome-like cadence to the music of words. Slight creaks from the aging building simply added charm to the setting. There were no calls to interrupt and no interruptions to call her from the most recent world she inhabited.
A cup of mint tea and the quiet city allowed her to look over the empty streets and relish this time between times when such inspiration seemed beyond vivid. She wouldn’t admit it, but she noticed his light was on.
She knew there was a time when these moments would be spent in blissful slumber, but she also could not imagine living without these occasional retreats.
Thrilling was the boat ride in Venice, the ranch in Arizona, the cold of Alaska and the Eiffel Tower of Paris. Yes, she had been to all these places. The friends she had met along the way were real, vivid and just as she imagined them. Each delicious journey brought both thrills and pain, yet she wouldn’t dare miss the journey.
She inhaled the heady aroma of her herbal tea and was taken to so may places in her mind. For tonight, the journey was over, yet she would plan others – and soon.
The book she had just finished was placed alongside dozens of other books that had afforded her so much for so little. There really was a touch of melancholy to the end of the journey. When reading, the journey is taken alone and in the end she had to debrief on her own.
A deep sigh escaped her lips as she finally placed head to pillow. He mind entertained the places the story might have gone, the decisions the characters might have made, and it pained her to leave such newfound and delightful friends in a place of ambiguity.
The idea of watching movies had lost their appeal. She could imagine a much grander setting with a leading lady and gentleman that were much better than their on-screen counterparts. In fact, as she drifted from wakefulness to deep slumber the internal movie began and it was so much better than any high definition counterpart.
It is true she would awake groggy in a few hours, but there were times when the ending to a story simply took precedent over life.
# # #
“You were up late again last night,” he said as she exited the apartment building.
She smiled for she knew this was a kindred spirit. “Yes, well, I was off to Ireland for the Potato Famine. And you?”
“Texas Hill country – 1865,” he said without hesitation.
This had been a ritual since the night she first spied him sitting on the fire escape reading a book outside his apartment across the street. Two avid readers lost in a sea of people who often didn’t understand or even care about reading. He had caught her starring at him and he waved (much to her embarrassment). The next morning he sought her out and uncovered their mutual admiration for literature.
As they sipped their own special coffee concoctions she would describe the British lords who were ruthless to pretty Brianna O’Brien’s family while he regaled her with stories of Joe Taylor and the posse of McCoy Gulch.
At first she had only seen the connection as two readers who simply enjoyed sharing their passion for the written word. Lately she was struggling with how she actually felt about the occasional morning coffee ponderings.
Perhaps the difficulty she faced was that he was becoming more prominently featured as the leading man in her early morning dream-movies, and he always played the hero.
If he were honest, she looked every bit the woman he recalled from his own memorable sleep.
But, today, they would not broach the subject. No, today was just another fumbling attempt to connect in a world that didn’t contain British lords or roguish cowboys.
Just two normally shy people who found a place where their love of reading was not lost on someone of lesser nobility.
For today – it would have to be enough.
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