There was a time, afore his nuclear stress test, not knowin’ what his heart was a’sayin’ that Lee took eternity as a given.
He danced like there was no tomorrow.
He flirted like the beautiful dame in front of him, friend or foe, male or female (fuh-MAHL-eh), was the only game in town.
He cherished the moments when Bai drove her elbow into him, sending him into a new bliss, an unexplored territory, an endorphin rush of pain that took him into un/subconsciousness, forgetting the seconds on the clock, losing himself in the foreverness of forgetfulness, her derriere pressed against his left cheek, her body pushing a knot in his muscles, not a skin ailment, into oblivion.
He danced with Kelly. He looked at Patrick’s face for permission. They both agreed he had the room to maneuver, to make his way out of Bai’s chamber of happy pain and into the room of traditional Irish bliss.
Karen held his hand for a brief marital instance, reminding Lee that he had a wife who wanted, not demanded, a West Coast Swing dance on a evening dedicated to the monetary support of military veterans transitioning from government to civilian work conditions.
He thought outside of time, reminding himself that the dance lessons with Bai and Stacy were two-hundred years away from his time with Guin taking care of Martian settlers intent on making a go at building a sense of community on another planet, when the difference between a naturalborn Earthling and a synaesthetic Martian was indistinguishable but recordable.
Lee passed a palm in front of his face.
He remembered Guin.
He remembered Bai.
He remembered Karen.
He remembered Kelly.
He passed through his thoughts his friends and lovers, his dance partners and academic study partners with equal aplomb.
Despite the fermented products that had passed through his system in an evening of whiskey/whisky tasting, he steadied his thoughts.
Gamma rays out of collapsed star systems equated to education systems out of whack with the times.
He separated the Zeitgeist from the poltergeists and geysers.
He dismissed comets from cupids and Donner Passes from blitzkriegs.
He pressed his palms together and calmed himself.
He removed himself from the equation.
It was not about him.
Suddenly, the room filled with light.
He saw Guin in anguished pain, concerned not only about herself but her family.
He was no longer alive.
The universe filled the room, extinguished the concept of self.
A phrase entered, saying, “Transferring from: Rick01. Do not disconnect your smartpen.”
A power setting requested permission to continue.
An Irish band disbanded for the evening.
A Martian settlement waited for the next moment.
Lee briefly reappeared, showing himself to be real, the universe part and parcel to the event.
Guin wanted support to know her place 200 years later was secure, if different.
Lee and Time agreed.
The cats snored.
All was right, if only briefly.
A football team rested, its future in its hands.
Thanks to everyone at Jackson Center; Huntsville-Madison County Public Library; Sonic; Dr. Brooke and Marjorie at Gleneagles Family Medicine; Dr. Staup, Mary, and Amanda at SE Eyecare; Dr. Pugh, Amanda and Linda at Artistic Dentistry; Abi the miracle worker massage therapist/sadomasochist/friend.