The time is unknown.
It’s an hour of a day of a month of a year, and that’s all you need to know. The importance does not lie in what time it is, the importance is in the lack of it.
It’s night, though to say night had fallen would be incorrect. Night, as mysterious and powerful as it was, would not fall. Instead, dusk has risen and painted the skies a hue somewhere between blue and black and dotted itself with white glows.
Night is the best time, though it isn’t really a time at all. Time stops when the dusk rises and starts when the dawn falls. The hours in between either pass quickly or don’t pass at all. It all depends on who you are.
Night is when the whispers from the unheard shadows creep along bare asphalt and yellow painted lines. Night is when secrets do not exist, for everything told in the dark will never reach the light and will remain unknown, unheard, unnoticed.
Night is when the soft pads of Lee Mina’s worn shoes become louder than any noise ever heard. The neighborhood she strolls down is quiet, every house sound asleep and unaware of her existence. In the not-time, she is only recognized by the streetlights.
When dawn falls and dusk decides to wait its turn, Mina is her image. She is charismatic, confidence in the form of a living being. She is what her image is to be, nothing more and nothing less.
When the dusk rises and dawn runs in fear, Mina simply is. She is not anything, a figure without traits to describe her, a presence with no person.
She is everything at once and then nothing at all.
There’s a tug in her chest. It’s been there for as long as she can remember. There’s a pull at her hand, a weight on her shoulders. There’s a ringing in her head, a bell that cannot be stopped.
Her heart beats, the same as it always was. It will forever be tattered and aging, not matter how often she changes it.
Mina doesn’t call her a savior. She doesn’t believe in such a thing. But the girl she meets in between time and not-time was born to save.
What she’s saving, Mina never knew. She never asked.
Upon arriving at the end of the street, the dulled yellow washing their silhouettes, she stills. She doesn’t study the girl in front of her, having no need to learn anything new of her. She knows what she wants to, doesn’t ask about the things she doesn’t.
“You’re still alive.” She states. She doesn’t move closer, doesn’t sit.
“Try not to sound so surprised.” The girl replies, and a careless smile makes way onto a round face.
“I am surprised. Why would I not sound as such?” Mina replies. She isn’t really asking, but the girl will answer her. She knows this.
“Do you always wear your heart on your face?” The girl retorts, and her legs swing over the elevated concrete. She gets comfortable while waiting for Mina.
“It’s not my heart you see reflected in my words, it’s my thoughts.”
“Are those not the same thing?”
“Not to me, no.”
Vivi nods once and leans back on her elbows. Mina doesn’t move from her spot.
This is only the third time they’ve met, and yet Mina feels the way the girl takes some of the weight from her shoulders, some of the pull in her chest, the pull at her hand. The girl mutes the ringing in her head. The alarm can’t be unsounded, but Vivi muffles it with her existence.
“What’s your story, then?” Vivi peers up at her, lost and questioning. “Who is Lee Mina?”
“She is nothing but a desperate woman.” Mina replies and though she refuses to make any move, she allows herself to breathe.
“Desperate for what?”
“If only she knew.”
Mina nodded. How she could understand what Mina didn’t even understand was beyond both of them. Yet, every word from the girl’s mouth was like a language only she could read.
“Well, what does Lee Mina want?”
Vivi asked the same thing the night they first encountered one another. Mina ponders the question. For days, she’s thought about it, spending time and not-time consumed by herself. She still didn’t have an answer.
“I’ll tell you what I want,” Vivi started, “I want to go somewhere. I don’t care where, but not here. I want to go somewhere where I don’t exist, where my name is nothing more than a question unanswered, where my face is fresh and my life is undecided. I want to go to a place and take memory with me, so nobody remembers me.”
“Nobody?” Mina finds herself speaking her only thought aloud, “There isn’t one person you would want to remember you?”
“Nope.” Vivi leans all the way back now, flat on the curb. She seems to rethink her answer quickly and interrupts Mina’s gathering thought. “Well, I would let you remember me.”
“I don’t know you.”
“That’s the point.”
For passing minutes, the silence covers them. There is safety in quiet, there is secrecy in closed lips. Vivi shuffles around in her spot, Mina stays planted in hers.
“I’ll ask again,” Vivi breaks their solitude and once again threatens the balance of the universe with little words, “what do you want?”
Mina thinks she knows now.
“I want to go.”
“Go where?” Vivi is smiling. She needn’t ask, but she does. She does because she wants to hear it. She wants to know.
“I’ll go anywhere you want me.”
Her smile widens and it’s more terrifying than Mina wishes it would be.
“Then let’s go.”