Phantasmagoria

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Feeling Like The Time Traveller From The Time Machine

Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday. All these days are going past me as if they never had such importance in my life. My days spent waking up to an endless routine is salvaged by the fact that I have people I love. However, emotions can diminish with time. Love can grow or fade away, hate can come and go and happiness can be ever present or can be a thing of the past. My love for my wife and son doesn't conform to time restraints. I loved, I love and will love. I know I can't tell the future, but if I travelled through time I believe my heart won't cease its fondness.

Listen to me.

I sound like one of those love-sick romantics in some cheesy rom-com movie. My boss gave me the whole month off from work, so I've been spending my days doing absolutely nothing worthwhile. I'm lying on the couch, staring at the T.V. waiting for something spontaneous to happen.

And it will.

Tomorrow morning it will.

I glance at the time on my wristwatch and realise that Hannah will be coming back from picking up Jayden from school. What have I been doing for the last couple of hours? That's definitely going to be the first question that will pop out of Hannah's mouth as soon as she comes back. She left me lying on the couch and she's coming back to the sight of me still lying on it. I might as well have joined my friend the Van Buren Bum outside if I knew I was going to waste a part of my life lying on the couch.

Oh, I can hear Hannah's key going through the door now. I quickly spring up from the couch and pretend I've been fixing the light bulb. I hear her and Jayden come into the living room.

''Hi, Dad!'' Jayden screams at me as he gives me a bear hug around the back of my legs.

''Oh, hey Jay, what's up? How was school today?'' I ask him as I turn to face him. I bend down, pick him up and ruffle his afro as usual.

''It was fun! I made a giant bumblebee in class,'' he says excitedly.

''Oh really? Where is it?'' I ask him as I settle him back down on the ground and wait for him to produce the giant bumblebee. He takes off his backpack swiftly, opens it up ferociously and carefully takes out a cardboard and plastic-made bumblebee. I can see that it has been coloured with black and yellow crayons, and it has black pipe-cleaners for antennas. I can see he has used old bottle caps for the eyes, and the wings are made of cling film pulled taut over plastic sheets of household packaging.

''Here it is. His name is Bumble,'' Jayden says. He holds it up to my face as I show him how astonished I am at his creation.

''Wow, Jay, you've really outdone yourself this time! Bumble, is it? Hello, Bumble,'' I say as I wave at the oversized cardboard creature that is in front of me.

''I think he likes you Dad,'' Jayden says with a big grin across his face.

''That's good, otherwise I would have gotten my swat-stick and-'' I begin to say to him as a joke.

''Hey, Nash! That's not nice,'' Hannah interjects. I look up at her and laugh as I stand up straight.

''Any way, it was nice meeting Bumble the giant bumblebee, Jayden, but it's time to go do your homework,'' I tell my son as he puts his giant bumblebee on the table next to the T.V. The table holds all his other creations of things he's made at school.

''Ok, Dad,'' he says as he rushes out of the room and goes up the stairs in lightning speed.

''Just one more year and he'll be making computer games and creating bumblebee avatars,'' Hannah remarks as she came over to me.

''Yep. I think the school curriculum has changed for the better,'' I say to her as we both embrace.

''I don't. I'm going to miss all these things that he's made with his own hands. I remember when it was fun to get messy in the classroom, using glue and paper and all sorts of materials; now everything is based on clean, organised technology programming. Nash, what's happened to the world?'' Hannah says to me as we both reflect on the world that Jayden is growing up in.

''Not sure, Hannah, but I hope Jayden doesn't get lost in it,'' I say. We both look in different directions as we think about the changes the world has gone through, and how Jayden will keep up in it.

''Speaking about old-fashioned habits, I've got to use my hands for cooking. I don't think a robot will know how to make a really good sweet potato mash and a sumptuous honey glazed chicken dinner,'' Hannah says as she comes away from me and rolls up her sleeves, making her way into the kitchen.

''Yeah, no robot can cook like a Jamaican!'' I say before we both laugh. I can't wait till dinner time now after she's said that.

''Oh, by the way, were you pretending to fix the light bulb earlier?'' Hannah surprises me as she pops her head back into the living room to speak to me.

''Uh...no...'' I try to lie but it's not sounding very convincing. Hannah gives me a stern look and puts a hand on her hip with attitude.

''You've been doing nothing all day again, haven't you?'' Hannah is telling me off more than asking me. She is reading me like a book. Told you she would say that, although it wasn't the first thing that popped out of her mouth as she came in.

''I'm just...a bit worried about tomorrow I guess. The week went by so quickly, all I've been doing is thinking about the game and what might happen in it,'' I admit to her. I've also been terrorised by my dreams, but I don't want to depress her with thoughts about her dead brother again.

''Oh, honey, I'm sorry. I keep forgetting that it's tomorrow,'' Hannah says.

''Yeah, I just remembered myself when the event organisers sent me a letter in the post today. They're saying I have to be there at least half an hour early before the start of my induction process and that there will be sufficient breaks during game play. It was also saying what I can expect when I enter and what the guidelines are of each stage of the game. I think I must've read the letter like 10 times so that I don't forget anything,'' I tell Hannah. She's giving me a worried look, so she comes over to me with her arms spread out to receive me and I accept her welcoming arms.

''Just remember to go in there and give it your all. Don't worry about winning it or whatever, I just want you to be yourself and to make sure you don't lose yourself in there,'' Hannah tells me. Her words are comforting to me just as her warming grip is. I kiss her forehead and then think about what to do tomorrow when I get to the Game Emporium.

''Right, time for you to chop chop in the kitchen, lady,'' I muse with her as she goes away from me.

''Yeah, yeah. My, time has crept up on us, hasn't it?'' she says as she exits the living room. Yeah, it has. Like a thief in the night. I watch time go by as if I were the Time Traveller in the Time Machine. I remember watching that part of the film where he watches time ravage the earth in different ways, observing the violent process of change caused by that eternal silent entity that is Time.

Time.

In the end, it's the one thing that controls our lives, and has been since the beginning.


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