Chapter 2.4

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I went through the day in a haze, my mind wandering back to the strange boy I met yesterday on the roof. I hadn’t been able to pay attention to anything in class.

And now here I was, five minutes before four, waiting for the strange boy to come. My eyes kept darting to my watch, my leg incessantly tapping the floor. A minute after four, at which point I was already filling myself with ridiculous doubts, the boy-no, John arrived.

“Hi.” I said, a bit awkwardly.

Idiot!

John, though, didn’t seem to notice the awkwardness, and greeted me as usual.

We sat down at the same spot as we did yesterday, and as I asked, he bought snacks! Some chocolates and pastries, basically. He opened the first packet, and handed over the first chocolate to me. I munched on it gladly.

“Mmn… these are delicious, where did you get them?”

“My mom knows a friend who has a bakery. He bakes for a living.”

I raised my eyebrows.

“Bakes… as in, makes the pastries himself?”

He nodded.

“But… aren’t handmade pastries costly? I remember a friend telling me that she had to pay a thousand and two fifty credits just for a cake.”

He nodded again.

“Like I said, he’s a good friend of my mother’s and he gives us a sixty percent discount. Besides, even without the discount I could easily pay for these with my pocket money.”

She almost choked on a chocolate hearing that. She quickly finished the chocolate.

“You’re rich.”

“I guess.”

“No way. Every rich person I know is a spoiled brat. No offense.”

“None taken. I guess… I’m different. Me and my family… aren’t what you would call a normal bunch.”

“Interesting… so you’re telling me you’re not the only weirdo, but your entire family is?”

“I wouldn’t call myself a weirdo… but it does made sense, from your position.”

“What do you mean ‘my position?’”

“You have a bunch of different experiences than I do. So it would make sense for you to see me as a ‘strange’ boy.”

Well, I did use the term ‘strange boy’ a couple of times… not out loud, but I used it nonetheless. As for the other part, well I guess I could agree.

“I wonder…”The boy said.

“Wonder… what?” I asked.

“Hmm? Nothing. Just a random thought.”

Then he went back to gazing over the city. Reluctantly, I did the same. In the distance, a ship caught my eye. Not the ship, but… a girl standing at the window. She looked… like me. And she was staring at me too.

I sneezed. When I looked back at the ship, there wasn’t anybody there.

Huh, I must be seeing things.

***

allooking over the memory again, and the results were the same.

That was Hannah. The girl was Hannah. Only two years older. But… the explanation? A breakdown in the neural interface, an illusion.

And time travel.

Which isn’t possible. It can’t be.

***

A year later

“Not possible.” I shook my head. “Nuh uh. That is simply not possible.”

John grinned.

“You wanna bet?”

I stared blankly at him.

“But-but why haven’t you- why are you still here? I mean, you could be doing wonders yet you’re… you’re here, unnoticed.”

“That’s because, if I showed everyone what I was capable of, they wouldn’t be amazed, like you are, they would be scared. They would fear me, what I could do. That’s if I make it that far. With all the competition going on, I wouldn’t be surprised if many talented people have disappeared before they could make their appearance.”

“But still…” I tried searching for ways, but I came up with none.

“I know what you’re thinking… but it just isn’t possible.”

He sighed.

“No. You’re wrong. There’s another way. You could make a new name for yourself. That way no one could stop you because they don’t know who you are.”

“Even if I did that, I wouldn’t be able to accomplish much. I’d have to travel the world to make any difference, because I simply can’t work in one city.”

“Then… leave. You know it’s what you want. I know it’s what you want. We’ve been talking about changing the world… and here you are, telling me that you can do it, but you won’t. Why? Is it because… of me?”

His gaze turned downwards. He didn’t answer.

Should I make him go? But… I won’t be able to go with him. That’d be the end of our relationship. I couldn’t make him stay either, because that’d be selfish. And he himself wanted to go, whether he admitted it or not.

In the end, I made up my choice. He couldn’t stay. That’d be a huge loss for the world. I only saw a glimpse of… his world. And it was beautiful. I couldn’t keep that from the rest of the world.

So I kissed him, one last time. It lasted a few seconds, the world slowing down. I felt my cheeks heat up. Then I pulled away, and broke into a run, before saying one word, a tear running down my cheek.

“Goodbye.”

He didn’t follow. He wanted to, but he wouldn’t. He simply stood there.

Before long he disappeared against the horizon, never to be seen for a long, long time.

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