Day 334 – The Way Home – Part 5

Word count: 717

There was a knock at the door. Sam ignored it. He had not picked up Maria; he knew it was probably about that. Today was a bad day. Today he could not leave the house. Today he tried to stop her again. It ended in an argument: she left anyway. She died regardless.

Sam was disappointed in himself. He had promised himself several hundred cycles ago that he wouldn’t do this. Today was especially difficult. Somewhere in the back of his mind he had remembered that if today were real time, it would have been their wedding anniversary. How he kept track of it he had no idea. He did often wonder if the real world was continuing as normal as he was back here, reliving the past over and over again. How old would he be now? What might he look like? How was Maria? Did she miss her father? What was she doing right this second?

The lights were off at home. He had been crying in the dark ever since she left. Natasha had said horrible, horrible things before she left. Sam couldn’t get the words she used out of his head. Why did he have to ruin it? He didn’t want it to end like that for her – not even one time. She died today and she died remembering an argument. No amount of turning the clocks back every night would change that.

The knocking continued at the door. If it was Maria, he should better get her. He could not leave his own daughter out on the streets.
He answered the door, wiping the tears from his eyes. It was Maria’s teacher, with Maria wrapped in her arms.
“Oh thank god you are in,” she gasped, “We tried to get a hold of you, but we couldn’t reach you, I’m so sorry, I’m so, sorry…”
Maria was beyond tears. Sam snatched her from the teacher, “I’m sorry, I’m… such….erm…”
The teacher was looking at him strangely.
“What’s the matter?”
“Oh, erm…” she was looking extremely intently at his face. “We’ve never met?”
“No, no we haven’t,” Sam lied, curious as to why this woman would now think they had when they had met for the first time a few days ago.
“Oh, sorry. It’s really inappropriate.”
“Dad, I want to go to bed,” Maria begged.
“Yes sweetie.”
“Do you want to come in?” Sam asked the teacher.
“Oh, er, well, uhm, could I just use your bathroom? Terrible timing, I shouldn’t bother you.”
“No, it’s no bother at all.”
Sam took Maria up to her bedroom and tucked her in. He told her what he so truly wanted to believe was true, “This is a dream honey, and you’re going to wake up just fine in the morning. I’m going to bring you pancakes.”
“Just a dream? For sure?”
“I promise.”
“I love mummy.”
“And I love her too. Now close your eyes, and you’ll be awake in no time…”
Downstairs the teacher was waiting awkwardly by the front door. She seemed to be very confused and agitated.
“What is the matter?”
“Oh, I just, it’s strange. I feel like I’ve been here before…”
“What makes you say that?”
“Just, well, I knew where the bathroom was…”
“All these houses have the same layout, it’s hardly surprising…”
Sam was nervous; he felt there was something more to this.
“How are you feeling?” she asked.
“Words fail me.”
“I can empathise. I lost my dad when I was very young.”
“I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Well, you have good family. And a lovely daughter. You will get through this.”
“Thank you.”
“I better be going now,” she edged to the door, “Take care…”
Sam watched her get back in her car and reverse out of the driveway. She kept on glancing back at the house as if she was seeing double. Sam knew nothing of the device he was using… he had recklessly gone back in time over and over again… had he caused some strange rift in time and space? What had he done?

That night he went back out into the garden and into the shed. He did the same thing that he did every night. He restarted, but this time he was not quite sure where he was restarting to…

~ by S.G. Mark on September 5, 2012.

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