Thursday, October 3, 2013

How to Make a Memory

Magic. Of course they were. 
In retrospect, there really wasn't any other option as to what they were.
They were not just rivers. They were not just reflections of oceans. They were not just streams of Aurora Borealis pocketed within panes of glass.
His eyes contained magic. 

Molly bumped into a chair just then, letting cups fall aimlessly across the table she was cleaning. A catastrophic clatter rung in the air and when she looked over at him, he was staring at her with those magic eyes. They could hunt, those eyes, and you'd forgive them. Once she began to rescue the china from the table, she cheated and stole a glance through the gaps in her hair. He was looking back down at his papers, muttering soft words to himself, a trace of a small smile in the crook of his lips. She sighed and dragged her legs back into the small cafe. The winds from the east were picking up and she smelled the autumn leaves before they got a chance to blow in through the large glass doors. There were a thousand reasons why she chose to live in London, but she could not find a single one that could justify his presence. Shortly after she had started the job, he haunted that table and looked at her cautiously every time she crossed his path. 
    "Molly, table 3 please," the owner motioned to her. She wiped the sweat from her brow, her bangs clinging to her skin like nervous hands. Table 3. His table. 
    "You got it," she murmured, grabbing the platter of a large cup of water, tea bags and cream. He liked lemon and ginger in the afternoons. He sat in contemplation, both of his legs bent and fidgeting, his hand to his forehead trying to recall the written words from memory. She swallowed the concrete elephant in her throat and made her way to his table. "Your tea, sir." 
    He looked up from his pages, his eyes greeting hers in the foggy daylight. They were not just lights leading you from the smothering sea, they were magic. "Why, thank you darling, that was most kind. How much...?" 
    She raised her hand to stop him. "It's on the house. You're here everyday, we should treat you every once in awhile." He didn't loosen his gaze on her, but he continued to rub the corner of his pages in thought. Molly jerked her thumb backwards, motioning towards the cafe. "Well, I should get back to work. If you need anything..."
    "I'll surely let you know." A smile erupted from all corners, but he didn't let his teeth show. He was holding himself back. She wasn't an idiot. She knew when she didn't have a chance. But she smiled in return and turned to find some other hard surface to run into. Before she could take a step, she felt his hand grip her wrist. It was delicate but full of masked intention. "Molly," he began. 
    Her eyes widened. "How...?" 
    "Oh," he laughed fully then, then tapped his heart to mimic an imaginary name badge there. She clutched hers like a fool. 
    "Oh, of course. Sorry, what did you need?"
    He stayed quiet, motionless, his eyes searching hers for something behind the curtain. She felt a fear creep in the back of her mind, crawling its way down her spine and into her heart. They were not just daggers in which many women had suffered from, they were magic. It was his turn to swallow, for he could not find any excuse to entertain his overwhelming thought. "I...I won't be here much longer, today,"--he added the last word for what seemed like assurance--"but this will be the last one. Thank you."
    "Sure," she whispered. An inkling of bravery forced its way into her voice.  "See you tomorrow?"
    "Yes, of course. And you are more than welcome to join me anytime." He let her wrist go and she felt both empty and chained to him still.
     "See you then,"  she smiled, not addressing his invitation. She dared not to reveal her true happiness in that fragile moment.

As she walked away, Tom rubbed his fingertips together, her touch lingering like static. He watched her walk away, grabbing platters from forgotten tables and ghost patrons. He felt his eyes glass over and he returned them to his script. "Tom, hello," another female voice 
    "Lo, how are you?" His manager beamed at him, taking off her glasses and she sat across from him. She sniffed at the tea but declined to sneak it to her lips. 
    "Just fine, what do you think of the script so far?"
    "Honestly, too distracted to give you an accurate opinion." 
    Lorraine turned her head to the direction of his gaze, the familiar girl now scrubbing away at a table top. Her sad smile matched his. "Do you think she will eventually remember?"
    "Doctors say that she will. The accident took a lot out of her aside from her memory. But I see it in her, Lo. She's back there somewhere, fighting to get out. The way she saw me today...she knew something, even for the smallest of moments." He finally took his eyes off of her and looked at Lo. He blinked away the fear of her never returning. 
    "She'll come back to you, Tom. It's only a matter of time. She is full of something great, that wife of yours."
    "Yes, unequivocally." And the only word that could come to him in that moment was magic.