07-26-2020 09:13 pdt

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Convergence of Worlds

Part Seventeen

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"The hallway looms above me again. God damn fuck me anyway. I was just about to lunge at Jaime and her endless, wondrous, mechanical beauty, and another shock took me away. Now I am lying on the floor, shoulder in pain AGAIN, and looking up to see another pair of portraits. Who is it this time? Did I need to be here again? I thought this place had gone away for good. Fuck me. From the highest of highs and the gorgeous beauty of Jaime wishing to take me away from everything again to the lowest shit situation I have felt in days. I guess I am meant to see something else but I have other ideas. I am not going to cooperate, no matter how many times that fucking gun catches me. I've had it with this hallway and the haunting manner in which I see the faces. None of them have appeared happy but I cannot possibly be the cause. Even if I truly created all of this out of a need to explore my inner self, I fail to see why the journey must be so Goddamned painful. What if I did not make this place? Ah... Never mind. I cannot begin to fathom what other force may be at work here. It has to be me. And I have to lay here a while and think before trying to go through yet another disturbing set of visions that force me to view my issues. I need a little time to rest and get Jaime's luscious heroin out of my brain. It was right there and all mine. Damn it. Fuck this place.

Eyes closed. To hell with it. I will wait until something comes to me.

I am back in the storefront, empty space between my position and the street entrance. The carpet is beautifully soft under my bare feet, padded like none other. The robe is very plush and warm, pajamas of silk wrapping me in luxury, and the sounds of bustling activity beyond the secure doors. I am comfortable, feeling as if this is home, and wondering if I will turn to see all those unique drum kits again. And there they are, along with my partner watering some herbs on the shelves lining the back glass wall. Above me are all of the exposed mechanical aspects one would expect to see in an industrial loft, with beams of dark wood and pendants hanging below. Everything looks modern, yet with an old-world feel like a mansion straight out of a James Bond novel. This place is beautiful beyond words and feels as secure as a bank vault. I turn again to see many people passing on the sidewalk and something else... A person standing just outside the double doors and to the right. He is tall, broad-shouldered, and still as a statue. I stroll toward the entrance and see that he is uniformed with a sidearm and radio. He must be guarding the entrance. Wow. What a feeling right now. Nothing in years compares to realizing that I am safe in more ways than one. Wonderful. And I smell coffee.

Why am I here? I mean, the idea is wonderful, yet seconds ago I was with the duchess and about to dive into her warm clothing like a mad dog on cocaine. And then a sound... What was that? Where is the hotel? And why in the fuck does my shoulder hurt again? Oh, shit. I was shot. Fuck me in a music store, I remember that. But I am fine now other than the ongoing shoulder difficulty. I love this place in the short term. Maybe I should embrace what is going on and relax a bit. I dreamed of this. Am I dreaming now? Where is Jaime? Hmm.

And then a thought. I walk back toward the glass and see that on the hill directly behind this building and across a sort of park there is a huge mansion that I feel is related to me somehow. I know it, I have been there. And I am close to the owner. I must see more. Back the other way to let my partner... What the fuck? Ashley? And with a huge smile as she waters some indoor plants surrounding an enormous kitchen island. There is the coffee. But, Ashley? Where did she come from? This is becoming beyond my capability to understand. Things are changing too quickly. The mansion is nagging at me. I have to walk over there and see what is going on. I am drawn and have to know why. My partner, er... Ashley the tall doll blows me a kiss and states that she will be waiting for me to return. Wow. Normally I would be full of tears and on my knees with emotion after seeing that beautiful girl who means so much to me, but now I seem to be fine, only yearning to head up that hill and enter the house. Now I am clothed. Jeans and a shirt like most days. Out the door and the feeling is immediately different. The storefront is not my place. I live elsewhere and am drawn to the mansion for some sort of work now. The owner asked and I agreed just to see the inside. I know it will be something simple. And I cannot wait to see her. Yep, the owner of that home is someone to whom I have been attracted for years. Splendid. But this whole thing is strange beyond words. No more resort, no more goblet, yet I realize that is where I have been. And I know that the storefront was a dream yet I just exited the rear door. Ashley? That is a complete mystery. Onward to the park.

The space is wide with a large pool in the center. People are here and there enjoying the sunshine and above my position I see the big house, all wood windows, awnings, converging rooflines, and looking overly complex just like something I would have designed. The colors are earthy, yet darker, like a mountain cabin, with weathered slate all over the roof. It is beautiful. I must go say hello and see what needs to be done. To the right, where I already know there is a door to access the main level. Interesting.

I am inside. There is a hallway that parallels the large, main rooms. The layout is strange, sprawling, but familiar to me. I have been here before and I know where her office resides. Someone is babysitting small children in the massive family room. I stroll through to a tee which leads to the hallway and her office. I already know to my right is a bathroom and another door, perhaps a closet. I also know instinctively that there is a very large bathroom further along but not accessible from this hallway. Or is it? Partially confused, I spy the exotic beauty behind her desk and receive a smile. God she is gorgeous. I know her pretty well after many years and have always marveled at such a unique face. But she is important to me, like family, so the thoughts never go further. Plus, I am here for work.

Work. Ugh, but at least I know it's something quick.


The lines or the arms?

She is on the phone, so I wave and gesture that I am going to look around at some fixtures. A smile and wave, then a nod. Off to the right and into the first bath. Everything is fine. Back out and into the family room, to the left, and toward what feels like a kitchen, then left to another hallway that runs along behind the family room. Another bath, and this one is enormous. Doors for separate water closets, several doors for storage of clothing, and then a tub on the left which is the size of my entire bathroom. There is a curtain around the glass which separates the tub from the rest of the space. I head back to her office and ask if I am allowed to use the bathroom. She puts the phone aside and tells me 'of course'. What a sweetheart. Back to the huge bath where I can use the toilet, and there are three women in the big tub in swimsuits. One is up sitting on the edge of the tub with a huge pair of breasts barely contained by the bikini top. Yikes. I stop looking because I feel that I am invading their privacy. They are talking about me. What? Why? Peeking at me doing what I need to do and then I am unnerved but not uncomfortable. I need to go back the way I came and get into another part of the house before becoming angry. That is not fair, nor am I in the mood with all of these changes taking place in a very short period of time. I wash my hands in a waterfall-sink (!) and head back to see the woman in question. Now she is in the family room with some tools and wiring on a bookcase. One outlet is open and the wiring is exposed. She wishes me to hook up speakers that are in the walls and ceiling. Hmm, ok. I tell her that I need to study everything as I am unfamiliar with this system and she shrugs it off, telling me I have all the time in the world and she appreciates the effort. A peck on my cheek later and she is back to the office. Okay. Wiring. The women in the tub. Their snickering. I need some air.

I walk the corridor, past that big bathroom, and realize that there is much more house than I have seen. Whatever. I have to get outside and breathe after feeling uncomfortable around others. The homeowner is exempt from that, of course, because she is more like a sister and I know she would not treat me in such a manner. But the others... Well, I guess it does not matter, really. Finally out the door and into the sun, and there is the trio of women in their swimsuits and sitting at the edge of the pool. They pay no attention to me. Looking back down the hill I see my building (mine?) and the big wall of glass. All of a sudden I am very uncomfortable and need to be in there with Ashley or whomever that person might be if something changes again. My pace quickens, my head begins to fill with discomfort, and I speed my way back to the rear door which is then opened from the inside as I approach. Ashley is not there, only the security. I am alone in the big space after my guard steps back to the front. Alone. I turn and see the other woman in a high window with a smile. She waves. I wave back, smile, and head back toward the coffee. There is a beeping sound. What is that? Where? It's annoying. I have to find it. I keep thinking of the big house. Flip-flopping back and forth between feeling uncomfortable there and then thinking 'wow' at the breasts and all that exposed skin. The woman behind the desk with her incredible face, all exotic and dark, smiling at me with a smidgen of a devilish look about her that has always been there. And then back to the big breasts. Maybe that was some sort of lesson. More beeping, now louder. It stops. I walk toward the front and see that the street is busy like always. My guard is there, imposing, like a statue. The beeping starts again and my shoulder feels like it is asleep all of a sudden. Beeping. I reach to rub my shoulder and get the blood flowing but my shoulder is not there... It is Jaime's slender arm against me. The beeping... Louder... Next to me... Alarm clock...

Awake in the Luxor. Jaime is around me, nude and warm. My shoulder is recovering after she rolled slightly and repositioned. The breasts are still in my head, the face of the homeowner, and all at once the combination slaps me in the face. Jaime is right there looking like the dream of a lifetime. And then I can take no more. Pressure, pain, longing. I have to have her. Right fucking now. Her eyes open as I take the initiative. And there is that expression which tells me she is all mine. God bless her mechanical smile... All the way in my heart. Thank Christ. And then she is gone and I am laying in the hallway again. Fuck!


No one is listening. The hallway looms and I am just about out of patience with this shit. I was in the midst of my machine and her loving attention after worry and feeling distraught from a lack of understanding with all these fucking changes. I was right where I needed to be. Right there, against the loving Jaime. And now I am back in the hell. If this is someone's idea of a joke I will destroy them. Last time I had the thought of simply lying still and waiting for something to happen, but the way things are going now I would likely be here until the end of fucking time. Damn it, I would even take being stuck in the mansion rather than here. I don't care. Just no more portraits and thinking, please. Oh, and one more thing... 'FUCK YOU!'. Silence. Nobody home. Just me.

Ok, I can only do this for so long before I need to make something happen. I will die of boredom. Up to my feet and looking toward those same portraits. Andrea glaring at Julie. And they are the only two visible in the dim lighting. Everything looks as it did before I realized I was standing in my storefront. Those two paintings. Why does it have to be so uncomfortable? What happened to all of the faces smiling and looking down at me? Heh. Maybe I am doing something wrong or out of order. Julie looks so cute up there. Damn it. Turning from one side to the other reveals nothing new. I know that Andrea was on my left before I spun and dove at the wall, so that means the unexplored hallway is laid out before me. The gunman -- or someone bent upon killing me -- was down there in the darkness, but now I hear nothing. The quiet is almost unnerving. Just my breathing and the sound of the carpet as my feet move slightly. Well, I guess it's time for a stroll. I have to think about all this shit. The hallway continues to stretch as I walk, with little points of light at the edges of the ceiling providing just enough for me to see what I need, but straight ahead is black. I can only see thirty feet or so, if my senses are accurate at all. Looks like I have plenty of time for analysis.

Those two women again. Is it the jealousy? Threats? Insecurity? I began to go over much of that a while ago but did not get anywhere, really. The two of them looking at each other in such a manner pushes me to believe that the entire point is me. The mansion, the storefront, all of the on and off threatening occasions here, the unreal way all of the women react to me... Everything is here for me. I made it. My head did all of this. And I think the ease in connecting with so many gorgeous females is for good reason, like slapping me in the face over my endless lunging while in Nevada and that fateful trip to Orange County that I took out of desperation. The girls in the restaurant, the cashier at the hotel with her almost-teary eyes, and the model in the mall that looked at me brightly as if she awaited my response to her noticing my compliment. All those occasions piled atop the many reckless lines thrown around the resorts in Vegas. Years of it. And now look at me... Facing myself. I do not like what I am seeing or feeling right now, and those beautiful faces continue to look on with sour expressions. What a fucking vise around my brain right now. At some point in my life, the worthless feelings inside allowed me to become the type of person to externalize the fear and close myself into a very small space in which very few things could keep me alive. I placed so much importance upon the arms around me and then went the opposite while alone by dropping off the edge of the world when no one was there to lift me. I did it, and throughout so many years of miring myself within the insane dream of being where I needed (and the constant elusivity of that place) I have lost my way to the furthest possible degree. Andrea is up there looking across this horrible space and into the eyes of a woman who was poised to be the very next crutch. Yes, the weakness came to a head and the need overwhelming. And now I see the point of those two... Enough physical beauty for a warehouse full of women all rolled into just one face, and opposite her the dripping sexual dream that is Julie. My brain is unable to see the world or myself differently after the encapsulation of daily dreams and so much hellish time alone. I simply cannot do it. And there they are as a representation of all that is wrong. I could kill myself at this moment but would end up right back here anyway. My spirit is breaking. The lights begin to brighten...


All of this because of them?

I am on the bridge with Jaime's arms around mine, and looking across to the valet in front of the Dracorum who is watching over my Slipper. Damn this place, just damn it all.


The duchess is silent and looking at me with sympathy. Her eyes are bigger than ever and back to hazel. Jesus Christ, I have never seen eyes so huge and colorful. What a dream. Someone in charge of something, somewhere, has crafted this woman to be the pinnacle of everything I have found attractive for twenty fucking years. I don't get it, a machine here, and an impossibility over which I have agonized for longer than I care to admit. Her warm hands are doing their best to keep me calm as if she knows of the trial in that damned hallway. Now? I do not know what to think. That period in there with the beauties staring each other down really pushed my thinking further in the space of moments than what has taken place throughout the course of days. Upward? I do not have the first fucking clue. What does that even mean after the shit thrown at me over and over for days?

'Do you know what you have to do?'

Crack! Flash!

Hallway. The other world. Why again? God damn it anyway, I was just next to a woman I need so badly that I do not even know how to express the feeling. She was there, with hands all over mine and ready to comfort me like the duchess that she is, and I heard a gunshot for the billionth time. Now I am here... Again. Fuck me! I hate this fucking hallway and do not want to see them again. All those feelings came up and slapped me in the face hard enough to stop me from trying and nearly took away the caring. And here I am again. And there is Andrea on the left. And Julie on the right. And I had better not be shoved into this hell one more time or I am going to flip the fuck out. Julie is so cute, all petite and flowing hair. But her expression is again less than pleasant. Andrea? The same. They are not looking at me but at each other. Everything seems to be just as it was before the bridge. Hmm. The question again. Julia's voice, perhaps, and something I have not heard for a while. What to do? Talk back? Talk to the women above my head? Talk to myself? Heh. Nothing is funny anymore.

'What the fuck am I supposed to do?'

Silence, like always. I am questioned over and over in a demanding way, but as soon as I have one? Nothing. Ignored. But I am supposed to jump through hoops. There is no fucking way I could have created this world out of jealousy, fear, insecurity, nothing. No fucking way. My head has been awash with crap for years, however I have made it this far. I am still going. I can likely get through anything without the assistance of a voice, therapist, or anything else for Christ's sake. Here I am, standing on my feet and thinking of my own accord. Is that meaningless? Well, I do not think so. I believe I have arrived here for a number of reasons, and none of them is weakness.


Back on the bridge with the duchess-gazelle wrapped to my body. Huh? Jesus, that was a matter of seconds and just long enough for me to process what was happening before I ended up back here. How? Why? Was it my words? I was pretty fucking forceful right there for a minute, so maybe standing and announcing myself to the walls made some sort of difference. Maybe? Hmm... The question was raised, I was tossed back into that dark place, became enraged by the situation, and lashed back. I have not done that many times throughout the days of being here, and usually when I do it is more like a half-drunken tirade. Not very productive. Does that mean standing up for myself and defending my positives is part of the answer? I hear nothing from Julia the master mystery therapist. Where is she now? Was that her voice? Ah... Fuck it anyway. Who cares? I think I pulled myself out of there, and aside from turning left sometimes when I am directed elsewhere, this is the first measure of control that I have experienced in a very long time. Please, do not let it be the last. I need to keep the exchange in mind for the future, though. And maybe when we find a bit of privacy I can run it past Jaime. She knows everything. The exit... The way out she mentioned some time ago has been on the back burner for a while, and maybe it was there to motivate me into taking some action in this place. Ok, again I have to think. And hopefully I can do that without being pulled away from the goddess that I need. Just let me take some time, please. I might be heading in the right direction.



I am going to latch on to the duchess for the duration. I cannot be without her right now. Not even for a minute. When she is gone or I am pulled somewhere else, my heart misses her immediately. Yep, that same weakness that partially caused me to gallivant around the nation in search of comfort is still inside me. Jaime is the ultimate comfort, though. She is a machine and something over which I have dreamed and agonized for a very long fucking time. Now that she has come to be with me, I have to hold tight because nothing like this will ever happen again. Think. Just think. Ok, my need for her aside, the feeling of something possibly happening due to my confidence is overwhelming. I asserted myself and my opinion. Wow.


Morning light coming through the window. Coffee next to me. Cats sleeping. I am sitting with this machine and typing these very words. How in the hellish fuck did this happen? Was it all a dream? Who knows? Very quiet right now. Only the clicking, yet this is the strangest feeling I can remember. I am writing a story I have been living, only to realize that none of it has been reality. Wait a fucking minute... Writing it? Was I dreaming the whole thing or typing? Or there, in that goblet which I know is not real? Son of a fucking bitch. And the worst part? Why am I always physically intertwined with the duchess when something snaps? Is that supposed to be a lesson? All those changes, one after another, and each occasion leaves me a little more confused and angry than the last. And then Julia's haunting voice. Piled on top? I still do not fully comprehend the lessons in the hallway. I thought about some of it but never really learned anything. The last image in my head is Andrea facing Julie in those portraits. Andrea. My love. And then Julie, all desire and complete draw. She pulled my brain, wrung it out, and then gave it back to be with no sense left. Nothing there except the need to swallow her gorgeous body. Thinking of such feelings and then considering that Andrea was right there facing her has to mean that I was doing something wrong... Like lusting after a woman without her presence in my heart. Is that wrong? Always, for me, but that world is not real. Maybe the two of them facing and glaring means I am supposed to face myself? Hmm...

Crack! From the dining room behind my head. Black, but I am thinking... Conscious somehow. No more computer?

The bridge, Slipper, valet, duchess on my arm, and a cool wind causing me to smell the cucumber in her hair. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows and right back again. I just traveled from the fucked up hallway to the hotel, off the edge of the world, back to the bridge, into my home (the fucking real one, too), and then again facing the car of my dreams and that Goddamned fire-spewing dragon atop the strangest hotel ever. Did I move around so quickly due to being a tad bit confident? I am not used to that. I have never been confident in anything aside from my work in the space program. That went on long enough for me to realize that my contributions were significant and I carried myself as such. There was confidence due to familiarity and experience, however being tossed by the wayside after my break in late ten resulted in very reckless, flighty behavior which pushed away friends and family. The confidence which grew over ten years disappeared completely, I fell down like never before and subsequently ran away three times with the hope of finding peaceful comfort in the arms of a woman. I was in pieces (some of which are still not to be found). To my left I see the duchess towering over me in her heels and looking sympathetic. Her eyes, again. Damn it, do I ever need to stay in the same place for more than a few moments. I have no control over any of it, so the reduction leads me to pull her toward our hotel for the tenth time. The options now are more limited than I could have imagined. I need solace. Badly.

Walking. The sounds of the goblet all around bring memories of every trip there.

Staring at the Mandalay as we approach the massive bridges on Tropicana Boulevard brings thoughts of being there years ago, alone. I remember rolling into the valet, stepping with purpose to the registration, and requesting a block on my phone and my identity hidden should anyone wish to contact me. I was there to get away from everyone who knew me. The professionalism of the staff immediately instilled confidence that I had made a good choice of destination. By the early evening, the feeling expanded and I finally relaxed. Jaime has the ability to bring me a similar type of warmth with nothing more than a glance. She is mine, and until such time as I am shot or otherwise rendered inoperable by some unusual force, I will be wrapped. She is the only destination for me now. The hotel is just atmosphere. I receive a kiss on the cheek as the doors swing outward and welcome us home. Nice.

To the inclinator and our waiting privacy with all haste. The machine that is Jaime, all mine again.

Door open. Something on the other side... A person in our room... My hand is empty... The giant wall is gone... And there is the bar in the Dracorum, complete with Julia perched and looking beautiful. Things are changing so often and quickly that I am losing my bearing. Maybe I need to take it out on her once and for all. That fucking woman has GOT to be in control of all this shit. Jaime is gone again. Fuck. I step to the black hair with enough determination to cause her to flinch. Watch out, I've had it with the cycle of me all over the place.


'Do not fucking address me until you intend to answer my questions.'
'Nice to see you, as well.'
'You heard me. Start talking or I'll destroy whatever I can before being shot again. I know it's going to happen at some point. Talk.'
'How about a hug first.'

Holding her is nice after so many events taking place to drive me down. I need Jaime's comfort, but Julia will have to suffice. I need answers, too, but fear may keep those questions off my tongue. And speaking of tongues, all of a sudden I wish to dive into Julia's clothing. God damn is she ever beautiful.

Alexandra drops my scotch like the love she is. I will need another very fucking soon.

The questions are spinning circles in my head and I have little clue as to whether or not Julia will help me. She has been more cryptic and unclear in recent days, appearing and vanishing as quickly as my ambition. I need her, but to admit such a thing will show weakness and I cannot have her viewing me in such a way. Still, there are things I need to know. A big sip, my hands all over hers, and I let the first question fly: Why am I here? And no sooner do the words leave my lips when a knot forms and I fear the answer. I already know it has something to do with acceptance. Ugh. Maybe too much for me. I need to calm down and think. God do I ever miss Jaime.

And I was correct. Julia has been gently pushing me throughout days to consider all of the voices in the railroad cars and put them together for the purpose of understand that I am human and make mistakes. Running everywhere, throwing myself at whatever pair of arms would calm me and maintain comfort, and going through the motions of life with friends and family as if there was nothing wrong inside. And then a snap decision and I would disappear again. Julia has tears in her eyes and informs me that if nothing changes and I continue to think the way I have, any happiness is impossible. According to her endless wisdom, I have to be my own therapist or the issues which drive me to reckless behavior will never stop. I knew it. So simple. Just look within and find the answers, right? No. The woman can see me becoming distraught and frustrated with each word. My face cannot hide anything. I ask of her opinion as the scotch begins to relax me. Julia states that those things that seem to be missing and causing all manner of difficulty in feeling confidence are in fact within, but dormant. They have been pushed back by the events of my youth and become alien by this point in life. Hmm... Now I have to remain quiet because she just hit a nerve... And not a bad one at all. Something is building in my head. Emotion, worry, and the memory of a simple afternoon series of words when I was a teen which are still inside my head. I hear them and still do not understand. Thirty-nine years ago, and I still remember where I was sitting, the guitar on my lap which was new enough to still look intimidating, and the little tune I tried to play which led to someone else rhyming along and ad-libbing a sentence which may have cut me enough to bleed for almost four decades. And now the tears. Julia's arms around me as she apologizes for pushing me to recall something that may have worked in concert with the event shortly before we left Colorado. She knows everything. Holding tight, I am finished asking. Frustration gone, worry fading, Julia staring into my eyes with an expression conveying enough concern to keep me from speaking at all. She looks like a person begging another to remain alive, and she is not far off the mark.

Several minutes pass as the memories flash inside on and off. I am tired now. But there is one thing I would love to know, and that is the reasoning behind the hallway. As I turn my head to the left and right, I see everyone else who was in that lounge is now gone. Empty. Alexandra, too. Julia and I are alone again. A touch of apprehension forms as I begin to think that something is about to happen. The air is still.

'You will know soon enough. I think I've revealed plenty for the time being.'
'I love you my dear.'
'I know you do, sweetheart.'

Gone, and yet again I am left sitting alone with my thoughts. Damn, she gets around. My head feels heavy now and there are emotions related to my family. A situation I have not really thought about in many years, and one that may have caused me to alter my behavior toward others and keep to myself more than I had in the past. I do not know for certain, though. I'll have to think about it -- just like always, more time -- and then formulate how that day could have pushed me to operate differently, and then the tough task of extrapolating all of it along the timeline which has played out since the early eighties. Translation, and something I learned while working in the most technical field of my life. Julia brought up a subject I never really put much stock into, and one back far enough that it should have fuzzy details. But alas, I remember that afternoon well enough to know it carried more power than I realized at the time. She hit that one on the head, I guess. It's going to be in there and subject to my consideration for days. I just wish she hadn't disappeared again. I would love to sit and speak with her more. I suppose her work is finished, though, and again I am left to my own mind with something to chew for the duration. Damn it. The world that was my past, and something I have felt was gone for good with only a physical reminder here and there, is now at the forefront of my consideration. The difficulty has returned. Those words, that tune, the giggling in the background as I tried to understand the meaning behind such phrasing... All of it now dictating the rate at which another knot is forming inside. I just hope the anger doesn't return, too. A refill may assist my worry. Around behind the bar, and...

All of a sudden -- and without a flash this time -- I am standing with Jaime, her arms wrapped around one of mine, on the stern of a yacht floating in turquoise water. What the fuck just happened? One moment sitting with Julia hoping for answers, and the next I am aboard a dream from nearly three decades in the past. And then the flash hits me like a ton of bricks... I am sitting on the sofa with a movie overhead, huge, dark eyes looking across a table at a very handsome man, my brain still reeling from the changes. Those eyes are soft and kind, large, and looking at him with an appreciation I understand. I have done such a thing, both in person and seeing a woman on the television. Sitting here with the computer on my lap, and following along as things are altered before my very eyes, I realize that the world of my dreams and that of reality have now combined somehow, and are forcing me to look at that event of the past as a catalyst for so many issues that my heart rate is increasing uncontrollably. I feel faint, and just as the pain begins to cripple my fingers typing these very words, the water appears again. And Jaime, tall and beautiful, leaning to me with red eyes...

'I love you.'

My guitar is resting comfortably on a stand, centered at the stern's gate, and there is a golden sectional sofa off to the port. That is where I was sitting when I overheard the words that may have changed me forever.

The yacht begins to heel. Scared."