Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Advancement of Mateo Matic: March 25, 2018

Mateo fell asleep again after catching up with his parents. A lot had happened over the course of the year. They continued to make up stories about his adventures overseas. He had reportedly spent the bulk of his time in Africa, but had recently begun work in Central Asia. Kyle was released from the facility, but still received some care, and was not at 100%. Frida started a relationship with a man she met at Veterans Affairs. He was particularly helpful with providing her father with the medications and services that he needed. They didn’t think he would live to see Christmas, though.
In the morning, Mateo sent Frida a text message, asking for Leona’s address. He snuck out of the house to speak to her. His parents wanted to figure out what they were going to do about it together. She had been unrealistically receptive to their lies that he hadn’t really disappeared; that she had been dreaming, or even hallucinating. He didn’t know her at all, but something told him that she was faking her acceptance. He just didn’t know what she was planning to do with such information. She lived in the dorms of a college that was only about an hour away, having graduated from high school a semester early. His car had been repossessed by the bank during his first disappearance, so he stole his father’s truck and drove off.
“I’ve been expecting you,” she said after opening the door. “My roommate is in class. We have plenty of time to talk.”
“What do you think you know?”
“I may be bad at math, but I can do simple arithmetic,” she explained. “You disappeared one day, and were reported back a year later. Then you weren’t seen for another year. And then another. And then one year ago I saw you pop out of existence in your living room. I’ve done my research. That’s called timeslipping. It’s when you travel through time but don’t use some kind of machine or device, and have no control of it. The fact that you return exactly one year later suggests either a superior intelligence, or this weak theory I have regarding the Earth’s revolution around the sun. Despite the solar year being one of our primary sources of mapping out and making sense of the cosmos, it has very little to do with the organization of the universe as a whole. The fact is that the most likely culprit responsible for your condition is an unfathomable entity, like God.”
“Wow. When you say you’ve done your research, you’re not lying.”
“You’re the reason I’m taking both physics and a religious studies course for my first semester.”
“You don’t have to do any of this, Leona. This isn’t your concern.”
“It’s going to take...” she started to say, “well, it’s going to take four days, but I will figure out how to explain this. I may not be able to stop it, but we will at least understand the physics.”
“And in only three days, I won’t be too young for you, and you’ll be able to stop looking at me like a lost puppy dog.”
“But you just said it. Three days. This has been plaguing my parents for years, but it hasn’t even been a week for me. I don’t even know your last name.”
“It’s Delaney.”
“Right. That’s all I needed. Crash course on Leona Delaney. Now I tell you all my secrets, and let you waste four years of your life getting a degree in a field you’re not actually interested in.”
“I’ll study physics and philosophy if I want to. And you can do literally nothing about it.”
“We’ll never be together. And I think you know that. You may even like it. Being a hung up on a guy you can only see once a year. Pretty romantic. Like a fairytale. It ends only with your death. Don’t let yourself be alone when that happens.”
“If anyone else had said something like that to me, I would kick them out of my room. But I have 365 days to get over it, and only a few hours to see you. I’m not going to waste what little time we have. I don’t care how you feel about me, and I can’t help how I feel. Hell, you may wake up tomorrow and find me married to someone else. So what does it matter to you what I do now? You have an unavoidably distorted perspective of the world.”
He had no response.
“Great,” she continued. You wanna get some breakfast? I’ll tell you about how the apes have taken over the world, and how sea otters can talk now.” They spent the rest of the morning getting to know each other. It could have been incredibly awkward, but it wasn’t. She was refreshingly easy to talk to, and it was certainly a relief to have an open conversation with someone other than his parents. She talked about what the current president was doing, the latest celebrity nonsense, and the subtle advances in technology. Automated vehicles were gaining some heavy ground, with legislation already passed in the majority of states, allowing some level of hands-free driving.
Randall and Carol were not happy with his decision to handle the “problem of Leona” on his own. But they were most upset about losing half a day with him. They had a late lunch together, and invited Frida and her boyfriend over for dinner and games. It was a well-deserved break from all the drama. By having those two there, they were forced to pretend like their lives were perfectly normal. No timeslipping talk at the table.
Leona came over just after eleven o’clock and assured them of her kindhearted intentions. They had a late-night snack of ice cream, and stayed up talking until 11:58. They then hugged and said their goodbyes. Just before the strike of midnight, Leona planted a passionate kiss on Mateo’s lips. He was gone before he could react. One year later, he jumped back into the time stream, only to be quickly overwhelmed by a second kiss from her. Sneaky snake.

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