The Journey Begins

by jamesmerolla

It has recently come to my attention that my life isn’t interesting.  So, I decided to stretch my legs a little and be adventurous.

The other day I was in Europe, but, I didn’t know it at first. I couldn’t see because there was a hand over my eyes. The hand was soft, but cold. I didn’t mind the cold, because it felt entirely too warm for the jacket I was wearing. It was wool, and scratchy. The air had a sweet smell to it. It smelled like spring.

Gentle wafts of perfume seemed to drift over my shoulder. Her breath smelled like good coffee and a long, savored cigarette.

I could hear her shoes clap and scrape on the cobblestone street. I knew it was a cobblestone street, because I imagine all streets in Europe are cobblestone. Her ankle buckled, and she let out a yelp.  She jerked her hand from my eyes and hopped on one foot. I reached to help her before I could even see her. Just as I was about to feel the fabric of her brown coat she sprung back up, laughing, and covered my eyes again.

I could feel the warmth of her lips as she whispered gently through her giggles.  I started giggling too. I felt loved by this stranger. Even though she spoke French, there was an optimistic hesitation in her words.

I could feel her tell me to keep my eyes closed as she crept away from me.

I could feel her prompt me, then demand me to open my eyes. When I opened them she was holding a pose in presentation of an ordinary brick building.

She held the pose much longer than she had too as she waited for the reaction she had hoped for.

There was a rough edge around her eyes and a ruffle in her hair that indicated she was past her best years. But, there was something brave, or maybe just foolish, about her silhouette against that nameless brick building. I smiled apologetically when I realized that regardless of who I am, it is obvious this woman has given entirely too much of her life for me.

Did I just write Quantum Leap?

What’s Quantum Leap?

Really, Quantum Leap is before your time?

Is that some show?

Yes, it’s a show where Scott Bakula invents some kind of teleportation time machine thing where he jumps into the body of a different person in time. One minute he could be in Austin, Texas, and the next in London. Or maybe he volunteered for it. I don’t remember.

Did you just say Boston, Texas?

No, Austin, Austin Texas.

Oh.

Will you put the book down, why are you always reading?

Gee, I don’t know, because I’m curious? I’m the manifestation of some asshole’s mind. There’s nothing else to do around here.

Well, I just wrote an episode of Quantum Leap, what do you think about that?

I’d watch that show.

Thanks, but now I have to figure out a way back to where I started with this blog. Right now, I’m some guy in Europe looking at an old brick building, and some woman who seems to think I should be more excited about it.

I think you think I was giving you a compliment when I said that I’d watch that show. I meant I’d watch that Quantum Leap show, not the episode you wrote.

I thought you weren’t interested.

Well yeah, but after you explained it, it sounded pretty cool.

Okay, whatever, we have to find a way out of this.

Well, can’t you just start over the whole thing over?

No, I can’t start over. I don’t want to just abandon everything I’ve already written. And you don’t want me to do that either, because that means you would go away.

No I wouldn’t.

E, you would no longer exist.

I’m pretty sure I would still exist if you started over.

Maybe, but it wouldn’t be you.  It would be like you died, and someone took over your life. She’d have her own experiences, and your life would be forgotten.

Alright, I get it. Does this mean I have to always be nice to you or else you’ll write me out of this stupid thing? Because if that’s the case, you could just kill me now.

No, you’re okay. I don’t want you to always be nice. I just want you to be yourself. You and your boyfriend are safe.

Well, he’s not really my boyfriend anymore, so I don’t really care what you do to him.

What happened now?

Nothing, I just wanted to be alone for a while.

That’s nice, but in the meantime, do you have any ideas on how we get out of this?

Just start the chapter over.

I would, but I don’t know what else to write. So, we’re stuck here for now.

I’m not the one that’s stuck. And what do you think I can do? You’re the one that wrote it. Get yourself out.

Will you please help me, E?

Okay, sure, I’ll do whatever.

Good, now do you have any other ideas?

Is this really what you created me for?

We’ll address that later, just help me out now.

<sigh> You could just go through it, I guess. I don’t know.

And then what? That could take forever.

Yeah, but that next story could be the one that takes you back……..back home.

What will James do now? Who is the man in the scratchy wool coat? Who is the woman with him? Who is Scott Bakula, and why should you care? All of this, and more of E’s apathy in the next episode of A Loser’s Manifesto: The Journey Home.

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