January First, 2020
As promised, we are writing you from the new decade. The roaring twenties are underway and we have searched through our archives and have flipped through the pages of Issue No. 4 - Summer 2018, which features Andy Watson's short story, "The Edge of Time."
If Y2K and the dawn of the year 2000 felt like science fiction and a date we were unable to imagine; then 2020 must be well-beyond the future, and perhaps, resting with grace upon The Edge of Time.
All of our best,
How long’s it been since we’ve been living here, on the edge of time? I think it's been some billion years upon the craters along the edge of time. A slew billion years in the rocky pools and green moss between, below shaggy spilling trees and swirling noonday suns.
I read you clear and assent your view, that we few, our merry trooping band, have some billion years ranged and roamed along this hollowed curve where time’s breeze fades away. But I add a chip, red plastic round, flat in the center but mostly ridged. I chip your wager; I wonder you: what’s been the haul? Where’s the glory? What use to God or man? Can we happy few, our lively crew, claim as us and ours?
How long we’ve trasped, talked, schooled, played in this cooldown quiet spot. Bodies lithe, faces smooth, passions free but tamed. How much we’ve laughed! How long we’ve dreamed beside our easy sea—thinking much, though vaguely.
Yes, how grand it’s been! I’m so grateful to this calm spot beyond timespace. Glad beyond glad of good friends on our grand observation deck. But now the ten million strands within my watching, moving being line up and point as one toward the boundless depths, into participation. I must now go down, down to the sea. I must go for a swim, and not come back again.
I’m going down, down to the sea. Heading for a swim and won’t be back again. Grateful to this calm spot beyond timespace. Glad of good friends on our grand observation deck. But now the ten million strands within my watching, moving being line up and point as one toward the boundless depths, into participation.
Jack Rabbit Jones, of the Blessed Broke-Out Bunch, donned her dark blue Olympic-style swimming suit, complete with light blue hair cap and hundred dollar goggles, hugged, with a swimmer’s wingspan-lats and wide sloping shoulders, her fellows farewell, and waded into the softly lapping sea of time until, chest-deep, she, without so much as a backward twist of her enplasticked head, leaned, arms outstretched like a somnambulist, into the warm green waves.
At first the sea pushed against on her like a firm parent, willing her back to shore’s safety; but soon enough the waves lost direction, sloshing lamely a little this way then that, unable to make up their minds; and so the sea as a whole stood still. Though, naturally, the further she moved from time’s edge, the more definite, willful, relentless, know-it-all grew time’s arrow; soon enough Jack Rabbit Jones found herself once again walking dusty trails through the beige-grassed foothills that lump around the edge of town.
Her mother scolded her as late. Her father, in crisp Saturday jeans and a short-sleeved plaid button-up—likewise sitting up straight at the hardwood kitchen table with white morning light streaming through thin runny windows and effortlessly overtaking everything—set his paper to one side and opined:
“This is this greatest thing that’s ever happened here.”
Her mother, in crisp Saturday jeans and a light blue sleeveless blouse with large half-pearl buttons, set her small white wide-mouthed coffee-cup into its saucer and pushed away from the table. Both parents were yet trim and their movements deft.
“Yes, you’re right. In light of this miraculous return and the great joy it occasions, we have to suspend protocol.”
And so saying she approached her daughter, now grown nineteen and leaning, in crisp Saturday jeans and a square cut button-up khaki shirt, her cheeks red and mouth parted in embarrassed confusion, against the square oak kitchen door frame. Seeing that her mother—who’d spent her distant youth in tragic friendships with short-lived cuttlefish while she with her parents roamed seven seas studying mollusks and other backboneless creatures with no capacity for childish games—intended to embrace her with those robot-moves-boxes arms, and reading in nervously squiqqled lips and forehead around wide worried eyes the desire to dote, Jack Rabbit tossed herself upright and flung her arms around her mom. “Oh Mom! So good to see you!”
“So good to see you!”
And her father, who had met his wife through his admiration for her parent’s amazing insights into the ideas and passions of cuttlefish, stood slowly up and joined the group hug, reflecting, as he often did when events flustered his space’s peace, that eucoelomates may not think as sharp or feel as deep as a human, but an eucoelomate—with a few exceptions from the simplest phyla—sees a situation and, within its limited but generally task-relevant powers, grasps always a straight line forward; whereas people meander hopelessly, “homo-wallowers” would’ve been perhaps the better name.
Chuckling then, at his favorite private joke, and also marvelling at the incredible restoration of his child, now a healthy and stately young woman, Mr. Jones hug-patted his wife and daughter, going so far as to let his chest rest lightly on their enmeshed shoulders.
Photography by Adrian Moens.