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The long and the short of it

Silence

The following was published in Incite, December 2013, during their time theme. It’s loud nonsense.

*

“Shouldn’t we be dead?”

“Maybe we already are?”

“I don’t think so.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, I mean, I’m here, wherever that may be, and you’re there, wherever that may be.”

“You sound so far away, though.”

“So do you.”

“But I’m not supposed to hear you, am I?”

“Theoretically, no. But here we are…”

“Wherever that may be.”

“Exactly.”

Silence.

“Well, how’s the base communication system?”

“Static.”

“And Houston?”

“Silent.”

“I see. Did you try alternating the frequencies?”

“I can’t. It’s as though I don’t have hands to reach for anything.”

“Try voice activation.”

“All right. Kat here.”

“And?”

“Not a noise.”

“Same on my end.”

“So, do you think…”

“I don’t know, but I know at the very least it’s just you and I.”

“Seems that way.”

Silence.

“Let’s check coordinates. Can you see anything?”

”Nothing.”

“Complete darkness on your end too?”

“Absolutely. I can’t even see myself.”

“Me neither.”

“At least I can’t have a bad hair day that way, right?”

“Ha. Yeah. If we still have hair that is.”

Silence.

“Turns out they were right, Kat.”

“About what, Yuri?”

“Everything.”

“Who would’ve guessed it?”

“And here I was hoping we’d be wrong.”

Silence.

“Imagine if we were afraid of the dark.”

“I don’t think that’s exactly right.”

“What do you mean?”

“I think that this is something more than the darkness, Kat. Here unlike ever before, there is no possibility of light.”

“There might still be that potential. Who knows?”

“I guess we’ll find out.”

“I’m afraid when we do.”

Silence.

“On a brighter note, at least no one has ever seen anything like this. I mean, come on. Complete, utter, all consuming black. In a way, it’s kind of unimaginable, yet here we are…”

“Wherever that may be…”

“Living the reality.”

“Oh, so this is what living’s all about? I knew I was missing something when I was studying astrophysics.”

“Ha. But who knows, maybe you’re on to something. Maybe this is a product of quantum superposition principle…”

“Please. Let’s avoid nitty-gritty cold analysis here. I’ve already done enough of that.”

“But we’re like Schrodinger’s cat…”

“And I was hoping I was still just Kat.”

Silence.

“If we are living, that is.”

“I don’t understand what you’re getting at, Kat.”

“Maybe this is Heaven.”

“It seems a little dark. And if it is, God might have deceived the human race just a little bit with those golden gates.”

“Maybe it’s Hell then.”

“Maybe.”

Silence.

“Yuri?”

“Yeah, Kat?”

“Why were we given this mission?”

“If not us, then someone else.”

“I know, I know, but why us? Why now?”

“I guess it was time.”

“Time for what?”

“This. Time for timelessness.”

“You mean time for propelling ourselves into the center of a black hole?”

“If you want to put it that way.”

“I do.”

“Well…”

Silence.

“But remember, Yuri, remember back when I told them that we weren’t ready. I brought it up with the Senate.”

“I know, Kat. But if not now, then when?”

“Later. Another time. Who the hell knows?”

“Kat, we don’t make the schedule. Leave it to people in big comfy chairs.”

“But you’re the mission commander. How could you not be told everything you need to know to carry out the mission?”

“Because that’s exactly what happened.”

Silence.

“Are you sure?”

“Positive, Kat.”

Silence.

“Then why?”

“What?”

“You orbited us a bit off course.”

“It was unknown territory. Different pulls.”

“I know; it’s just that…”

“What?”

“It was perfect. We got warped into the pull just as it was too late to pull out.”

“Beginners luck, I guess.”

“I guess. Lucky us.”

Silence.

“Yuri…”

“Yeah, Kat.”

“Are you lying?”

“What?”

“Are you lying to me?”

“About what?”

“This mission?”

“Of course not.”

“Absolutely certain?”

“Yes, Kat. Why would I be ly–”

“Don’t, Yuri. Of all the times we’ve spent together, you can’t lie now.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that here we are in the center of a black hole where nothing can escape. Somehow we survived and so if you’re going to lie to me now, when we have both no time and all the time in the Universe flowing between us, it’s going to be a long eternity.”

“Kat…”

“So why, then, Yuri?”

Silence.

“Because, Kat…”

“Yes?”

“Because I thought a black hole would be the perfect place to fall in love.”

Silence.

“Excuse me?”

“Just think about it.”

“I’m doing my best to think about the most irrational, illogical, absurd statement I have ever heard.”

“We are here…”

“Wherever that may be…”

“Yes, and we’re cemented in forever. We’re like a handprint in concrete, a fly caught on sticky tape, but we are so much more.”

“We are nothing, Yuri. Jesus Christ.”

“No. We’re everything. We’re all that ever was all that ever will be. We’re the beginning and end of time.”

“For fuck sakes.”

“Kat, just listen to me.”

“I am because that’s all we are. We’re just voices that somehow found the vibrational energy to speak to each other in a world of nothingness. I’m not even sure if I exist anymore, Yuri.”

“But we’re together, alive or not.”

“Wait, what?”

“Kat, this might not be the best moment…”

“Yuri, when we’re against infinity, I’m sure any moment is as good as the next.”

“I love you, Kat.”

Silence.

“Kat? Are you still there?”

Silence.

“Kat?”

“What did you say, Yuri?”

“Kat, thank god. For a second I thought that you had disappeared.”

“I wish I had.”

“Kat, come on…”

“Please. Please repeat what you said.”

“What, Kat? How could…”

“Repeat it Yuri. Now.”

“I said that I loved you.”

“Good.”

“What?”

“I just had to make sure I wasn’t losing my mind, though I’m sure gravity noodled out of me already.”

“Kat…”

Silence.

“Kat?”

“Yuri, are you fucking kidding me?”

“I’m afraid not.”

“Forgetting that you shuttled us off into space leaving behind everything we have ever known or experienced on Earth, forgetting that you signed us up for a mission without disclosing the reason for it, and forgetting that that very same mission involved sucking us into a black hole, you came here for love.”

“If you want to say it like that.”

“What other way is there to say it, Yuri? Enlighten me.”

“I came here to love you, Kat.”

Silence.

“Okay, you got me Yuri.”

“No, Kat. Just give it a chance.”

“Please just tell me you’re joking.”

“I can’t. I’m sorry.”

Silence.

“You’re a fucking lunatic, Yuri.”

“Maybe.”

“If you had sense before, which I truly doubt at this point, then you have none left. The black hole must’ve vacuumed your brain, and the parts of the cerebral cortex responsible for rationality, right out.”

“Kat…”

“Yuri, please. Just leave me alone for now.”

“But…”

Silence. Eternities passed. Worlds ended. Stars began. The Universe spread like butter at its edges. Yuri spoke again just as the Sun was swallowing the Earth whole.

“Kat, I’m sorry. I really am. If I could take back time, I would. But I can’t. That doesn’t mean much, but it is all I have now.”

Silence.

“Kat?”

“Yuri, you’re a cosmic dick, you know that?”

“Kat, I know, but look: here we don’t have to worry about paying taxes or making ends meet or getting old. We don’t have to see ourselves warped under our own wrinkles and we don’t have to experience rickety knees or hands that hurt to move. We don’t have to do anything except be with each other. And you wanted that. At one point, I know you did.”

“Not like this, Yuri.”

“What do you mean? This is an alternate Universe, and it is ours. Sure it’s not what I expected in the beginning of all this, but it is a place where you and I are together. We’re suspended in a moment forever.”

“Oh for fuck sakes. Cut the crap.”

“It’s not crap. It’s the truth. The only truth I know, Kat, because we’re living it. We are time and we aren’t it at the same time.”

Silence.

“Yuri, you don’t understand a thing about me, do you?”

“What do you mean?”

“If you loved me, you would have gotten to know that I wanted to see myself grow old. I wanted carve my own face with mistakes and smiles and secrets only I knew, and I wanted to pinch the cheeks of my grandkids. I wanted to watch a man I love grow more beautiful every day and I wanted to fall in love with him more and more as the time passed between us. Call it cliché, but I wanted to sit on a chair on a porch that I had spent my entire life on – maturing, caring, laughing – and I wanted to smoke a cigarette for the hell of it. Not because I usually smoked but because I had lived a long life and a few breaths axed from my clock wouldn’t matter. Yuri, I wanted to see myself become the person I wanted to become.”

“Kat…”

“I wanted to keep feeling, doing, and smiling. I wanted to wear funny hats. I wanted to have birthdays. I wanted to buy gifts. I wanted to have Christmas dinner. I wanted to stress about cranberry sauce or raspberry. I wanted to move for Christ sakes. Never, ever did I want to become stuck.”

“But I …”

Silence.

“Kat, now we’re really alive. Really together.”

“Oh Yuri. If this is what together feels like, I’d rather be alone.”

Silence.

“Kat, I did this all for you. For us.”

Silence.

“Kat?”

Silence.

“Do you remember back in Houston?”

“Kat, thank god I thought I lost y–”

“And we were right about to lift off, and I was so scared even though it was my sixth time up in the air, and I was sweating and you held my hand and it made me calm, if only a little bit. And I smiled. And you did too.”

“Yes, Kat, I do.”

“Do you know what I was thinking? I was thinking that if there was anything like happiness, it was that moment.”

“I know Kat. That’s why I –”

“But it wasn’t because we were lifting off or leaving Earth or anything like that. I was happy because we were going to come back one day together. Because after hurling through space like a Cheerio in a bowl of milk, I would be there on Earth again some time later with my feet in the soil or with water running through my toes on a beach. I was happy because I knew I’d be able to be happy again after the trip ended, and I was hoping that you would be there too to experience it all with me.

“Kat, we can still…”

“I’m sorry, Yuri. I really am.”

“Kat – what do you mean?”

Silence.

“Kat?”

Silence.

“Kat. I love you still.”

Silence.

“Kat?

Silence.

“Please answer me. Please…”

Silence.

About kacperniburski

I am searching for something in between the letters. Follow my wordpress or my IG (@_kenkan)

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