I still remember that wink and a smirk you gave me on the second floor of the dream library, one elbow propped on a low shelf of books so many years ago. The sign above declared the books to be “Future Histories” and you handed me one with my pen name, Michael Raven, embossed in gold on the cover and spine.
“What should I do with this?”
“Read it, you ninny.”
I opened the front cover, flipped to a random page to get the gist of the content inside while you watched, patient. As I watched the letters fell away like bugs from the paper, tumbling to the hardwood floors as you laughed out loud.
“Don’t read it now,” you said between giggles. “Later. You can’t read the future until it’s done.”
I shook the book at your persistent smirk. “When will that be?” I asked.
“Soon enough,” you said and then took me by the hand, your slim, pale fingers trapping mine and and leading me through the stacks. I should have watched where I walked, but I couldn’t tear my eyes off your cascade of dark hair tumbling in large curls around your shoulders and down your back. We ran, the stacks blurring on either side of us until we came to a tall window, where you turned me to face you.
As I looked into your eyes, you wrapped my arms around the book and pressed it to my chest.
“What is your name?”
“That’s so unimportant. Ask me something else.”
“What’s this about?”
You paused, that damned crooked smile growing bigger while you milked the suspense and I waited for your response.
“Love,” you said in a husky whisper as you drew me close and pressed your lips to mine.
I started to melt into you, getting weak in the knees.
And then —
I crashed through the window and fell, the world miles below me. Falling I could see you leaning out of the broken window, waving at me from above as you grew smaller and smaller, the book with my name clutched close as I screamed.
“Soon”… What does that mean to someone like you? I wonder, decades later.