« on: May 20, 2014, 11:39:05 pm »
I could not face the room. Passing thoughts and funny little fantasies have ways of working themselves around in my head until they become reality and the room was where I'd find Lara, safe, and the Debt Collector thrown far away on its search. She'd be there as bright as Zipaquira, as lovely as Cali, as cultured as Bogota, and it'd be like that day on the patio of the brewery when time kept itself in little uneven pockets.
The shoes pinched at the toe, just a little, but that was alright because as likely as finding Lara I could click my heels together and find myself back in Massachusetts. Necronomicoin would be a thing of Oz, left behind for the life I'd learned to treasure again, though I knew I wouldn't. People aren't made to see the familiar as wondrous, nor should they. Then how could the wondrous be so?
I came back to the central plaza. The day was coming into its own and the plaza with it. In the little park a father tossed a soccer ball to two boys while a pair of women talked on a nearby bench. A couple strolled aimlessly around the outside rim, looking into the shops and stopping in front of one every so often. I no longer fit among them.
Our hotel was on a little street not far from the plaza. It was a classic looking place, with solid dark woodwork framing the doorways and shutters that opened inward to the rooms. Inside a balcony connected the four rooms and common area, overlooking a small garden. The owners lived in a suite tucked away by the kitchen. I could hear them rustling about, working in the laundry room and shuffling papers around in the office. A hallway carpet splashed a strip of burgundy, the path to the room a glamorous arrival for Lara and I not so very long ago, two beautiful young people at their most natural.
The room was off to the right, here, steps away. I reached into my pocket and had a horrified moment of missing the weight and feel of the Necronomicoin, patting at my jeans until I remembered I was looking for the key. It was where I'd left it. I stood before the door, key raised, elbow at a right angle, my off hand flexing open and closed, open and closed absently.
This is the singular anxiety of a parent, distracted a moment in a shopping mall and turning back around and the child no longer there, a hope mixed with panic. They're just barely out of reach, haven't gone far, haven't gone far. This is time coming unfolded around me, back to its normal state, and my father and step-mother and our Colombian family just noticing, just now, that I haven't been gone for a few hours back at the Bogota Beer Company but for days, missing, a non-native speaker in an unfamiliar world, still to them a child. Always to them their child. I knew their terror then, with the key in my hand and the door so many possible worlds, all of them real until the lock clicked and the door crept open slowly on its hinge and the hallway light cast a beam that started thin and then widened across a room darkened by shutters blocking out the day.
I wasn't breathing. Lara was dead, Lara was captured, Lara wasn't just the indebted she was the payment, a life to be pulled apart by force and then becoming another Necronomicoin, so unlike my own made willingly, so much lovelier in origin and wretched in creation and valuable in tender. The door opened slowly. I stared a fixed spot on the floor, where the hall's light first touched the rug in the room, my arm still pushing the door but the door ajar as much as it could go.
I looked up, finally, and saw nothing. A pair of small beds and a shared nightstand with a darkened lamp, a tall bureau and an old tube televsion atop it, a mirror and an armoire and a desk and a chair and not Lara. Lara was gone.