The End?

I think I may have rushed the end. I’m going to have to revisit this soon but right now I’m working on the start of something else and hopefully have it up by the 8th. I may also cut back to one a month depending on how quickly this new one catches on. Here’s to hoping the words flow right out of me.

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6tag_190616-180043The park. Alan had told him that Eliana sometimes visits her mother at the park outside the bookstore. Books. So close. Incredibly close. The thought of meeting the woman he knows he will one day end up with is a bit much to take in. Should I know? Is this why Eliana was so hesitant to tell me the truth? But what if, by jumping on this opportunity things don’t end up working out for us? What if me being here somehow screws up the relationship we are one day supposed to have had? What if I’ve already broken things just by knowing? Eliana told him all of this. The future may not be written in stone. Her presence may have already wrecked things for the both of them. What she had done may not have been planned but she got lucky that not too many things had been altered because of her recklessness. It was a rash decision. Childish. He would have to raise her better. But it was the situation he was in that prompted her to come back in the first place. Maybe no matter how much you want something, if you don’t do anything about it, you may never get it. Only a possibility that still needs to be worked on. If I do meet this woman now instead of when I am supposed to maybe nothing will change at all. But what if it does? What if the only mistake Eliana made by coming back here was trusting me not to screw everything up for her. Getting handed the knowledge of my future won’t make that future happen for me. Before he realizes it he is there at the edge of the park. He sees Eliana sitting at a bench facing away from him and, almost as if on cue, she turns around and looks right at him. What now? He doesn’t know how she does it. Just earlier this week she was telling him how she was afraid she had made a mess of things by coming here and now here he is doing the exact same thing. She calmly excuses herself from the woman she is with and walks where he is stopped frozen. Oh no! Mark quickly turns around but afraid to move any more as the woman looks back to Eliana as she is heading towards Mark.

“What are you doing here? Are you frikkin’ insane?”

“I,” Mark starts, trying to compose himself, “I couldn’t do it. I thought all I needed was a glimpse of my future to set myself on the right path but, really, what good would that do? I’ll still be stuck in my ways just in a different part of my life.”

“Wow, how very dad of you. That has got to be the first smart thing you’ve said since I got here.”

“Hey, that can’t be the first. Third, maybe. You can’t expect life to be handed to you. That’s what you told me.”

“Well I had a good teacher.”

“Yea, so did I.”

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Future Stuff

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6tag_190616-180043“So are we gonna talk about what happened last week?”

After a long chat with Eliana Mark was finally able to talk to his dad once again though he definitely wasn’t sure how to explain her to him. He still had trouble wrapping his mind around it himself.

“First things first. How?”

“Well I don’t quite know the science behind it and even if I did I don’t think YOU would understand it either.”

“Fair enough.”

“Look, Mark, everything I told you was true. I am a student. I’m just about done with my studies and I definitely don’t know what I’m going to do next.”

“You told me you were traveling.”

“Well I kinda am.” She says palms open gesturing to her surroundings.

“So where does Jamie fit into all this? You didn’t tell her did tell her did you?”

“Oh, yea, she definitely knows. Accepted it right away actually. Are you really that surprised?”

“So … why then?”

“I just … I don’t know. I don’t know why I came here. I guess I was just looking for answers and the way my dad, you, used to talk about yourself it sounded like you had it all figured out back then, now. I needed advice and I thought that if I could find you then maybe I would be able to figure out all this life stuff without actually going to you because I know you’ll just tell me I need to figure all of this stuff out on my own. That that is what life is. And that’s not exactly what I wanted to hear.”

“But isn’t that what happened anyway? You kind of just showed up here and realized that I wouldn’t be able to help you yet you stayed anyway. This, me, I became part of your journey. Why didn’t you go back to, well, me once you took that first look at me and saw that I didn’t quite have as much figured out as you had thought?”

“Look, I can’t talk about that. Future stuff, you know. Let’s just say that you’re unavailable.”

“Unavailable how?”

“Look, I’m kind of having a crisis right now. I thought I was before I came here but now, after everything I may have done and now with you finding out, I’m super worried about how I may have screwed everything up and I really don’t want to talk about it. Just know that there is absolutely nothing you can do to help me on that front.”

“She an old girlfriend or something?”

Mark nearly choked on his drink. “No. God no.” Laughing now, “Just a little work drama I didn’t expect to run into. And especially here with you. How did you two even meet?”

“Oh, you know.”

“She was writing, wasn’t she?”

“She was a damsel in distress.” Alan tried defending himself.

“Did she recognize you?”

“I didn’t think she did. Not at first. But she definitely did. I thought maybe she was student of mine. You know I can’t keep track of them.”

“Well, she kinda was. What did you two talk about anyway?”

“Just life stuff. I talked about my writing and your mother and she talked about, well, my writing and her childhood and trying to reconnect with her parents.”

That straight up stopped Mark cold. Parents? As in father AND mother? Her mother? His future.

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There’s No Running From This One

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6tag_190616-180043Eliana couldn’t leave just yet. She was all ready to pack up and go home, all her reservations about getting too involved and messing with the timeline were gone now. She screwed up. Big time. Not just in telling Mark who she is but just talking to him in the first place was also a mistake. How could I have been so selfish? There had been no plan. She had not been careful. This should have been observation only. Getting involved never should have happened. But she did. And here she was. There’s no running away from this one.

What is she going to do now? If she were to head home there was no telling what would be waiting there for her. How does this work exactly? Did she change her entire future? That can’t be how it works, right? If it was then people would be going back and changing every bad decision they had ever made. Atrocities and world shaking tragedies would be averted. Are there fail-safes for things like this? Would nothing have been permanently affected by her actions? Would someone be waiting for her upon her return? Would they know? Would they even notice? Was her father even important enough for anyone to even care that she changed anything? It was all so overwhelming. She was stressed out before and now with this heaped on top of everything else– it was just too much for her to take. Definitely too much for her to bear on her own. She wished her father was here. She needed to find Mark.

She knew what He would do in a stressful situation. He would walk. There would be lots and lots of walking. So that is exactly what Eliana did. She needed to find him. She needed to explain why she did what she did. Even if not to set things right at least to make sure Mark was okay. She couldn’t stand him being upset with her even if he wasn’t her father just yet.

Mark knows where Eliana will go to look for him. According to her notebook she knows everything about him. He still isn’t ready to believe her but what he read—how else could she know those things? Parks, bookstores, restaurants, even the streets he would use to take is regular walks, she knew them all. They were the places he would go whenever he just needed to get away from things and there was nothing more he wanted to get away from now than Eliana. After his ventures out he would normally end up back at his apartment and wait for Jamie to beat some sense into him. But now all there was was Eliana. Jamie? Did she know? Was she in on it too? And what about his dad? He found her with him at the café. This was getting to be more than Mark could handle. So he went home. It will be the last place Eliana goes to look for him so at least it will give him some time alone to sit in his anxiety. There may be no running from this one.

Eliana spent the rest of the day wandering the streets looking for Mark even stopping for a while at Books hoping maybe she would catch him coming in to blindly browse through his confusion but she came up empty everywhere she went.

“Mark?” She lightly taps on the door to his apartment. He wasn’t at any of his usual haunts and the only other place she could think was his dad’s but not only did Eliana not know where her grandfather lived but also because he had found her with him she was sure that Mark didn’t want to talk to his father right now either.

She hears some shuffling coming from the other side of the door. She was right.

“Okay, I’ll just be right here if you want to talk.” She says, sitting on the floor, her back resting on the door to Jamie’s apartment. Every so often she would have to pull her knees close to her chest to let the neighbors go by. They pass wordlessly, already accustomed to whatever drama Mark had gotten himself caught up in this time.

Eliana’s head nods as she fights off sleep unaware as Mark’s door opens.

“So, the future, huh?”

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Sometime Before Yesterday

There are ideas that have been set in stone from the very beginning. So much of what I have written for this story has remained unchanged from the start with very few exceptions. I mean, yes, I have completely rewritten portions here and there but the underlying content remained the same. One of those unchanging ideas was the time travel. It was inevitable that I would eventually write about time travel because it is something I have found truly fascinating in all kinds of stories throughout my life. In this story Eliana travels back to when her father was around her own age because she was feeling lost in her life and disconnected to who her father had become. One thing I never planned to touch on was the process in which she travelled through time. I thought it was both irrelevant to the story and would be a waste of words to describe something that truly was unimportant. I also had the story begin with Eliana already in the past keeping an eye on her father. It just happened to be where I started writing and naturally decided that would be where the story would begin. Then something happened as I was working on the scene where Eliana meets Alan for the first time while he is working on a new manuscript. A truly terrible manuscript compared to his other works and Eliana calls him out on it. The I began to wonder what it was he was working on and how Eliana, being fully aware of his works, would not recognize something he was writing when, as far as she knew, everything he wrote eventually got published. So I came up with this idea that I am still not fully sold on that would connect Alan to Mark and then to Eliana. An unpublished book that neither of the men in her life could crack. A book that she would discover while going through her father’s belongings shortly after his passing. Now while I like this idea it does present some problems that I will either have to work on or abandon important parts of the story to include this new plotline. One of those problems is death. Eliana’s mother died when she was young. She was raised by her father and grandfather until eventually Alan passes too. Then it’s just her and her dad. I did not want everyone important in her life die around her. It’s morbid and incredibly easy to write. Originally Mark’s disconnect from his daughter is because of some sort of mental degradation. I had also been thinking about a falling out between the two but I wouldn’t think that would spur Eliana to seek out a past version of her dad instead of reconciling with the one she has now. The other problem was that in this alternate version I had come up with her time travel was not a purposeful act. She would wake up and just be here. It added more background to the world around Eliana as she had to explore her past full of memories about her recently deceased father when all she wanted to do was run from those memories. While I find this sort of personal journey very interesting it does take away one of my main themes for Eliana and that is that she is literally running from her future. Ideally I would like to somehow merge these two versions because I don’t want to lose both of these aspects of Eliana’s character.  Know that in the final version I would like to dig more into Eliana’s personal past and also tell the story of her arrival because while it is easy to just start with her tailing Mark it would be much more beneficial for me and for the reader the see more of who Eliana is and what drove her to travel back in time. And until then I leave you with this, my alternate opening where Eliana suddenly wakes up in a very different time and place than she was expecting.

6tag_190616-180043When Eliana first arrived in the past she didn’t know where she was or even how she got there. She awoke to voices and to darkness. The darkness made sense to her having passed out the night before while going through some of her father’s belongings in the apartment she grew up in. Ever since she returned to that apartment the blinds and curtains had all remained shut. It didn’t seem right having them open and letting in all the light that usually filled the apartment. It didn’t seem right pretending everything was normal and okay. Everything was not okay. Her father was gone and nothing would ever be the same again. The voices were getting louder. Eliana felt around for her phone but only found the cold floor. Strange, she thought. She may have fallen asleep on the floor but she did have a blanket and pillow and, most importantly, carpet.

“Hey, is everything all right in there?” the voice called out, louder this time and accompanied by several loud knocks on the door. “Hey, Marie, can we get a key over here, I think someone locked the restroom from the inside again.”

Quickly. I don’t know where I am. A public restroom? The realization that her whereabouts were not where she remembered quickly drove away any grogginess from what must have been a terrible night’s sleep. Searching the wall with her fingers she quickly found the light switch, saw that the voice she heard was indeed correct, she was in a restroom. But where? She glanced at her reflection in the mirror, ran some water over her face and fingers through her hair. She didn’t want the mess that was currently occupying her mind to be reflected in her outward appearance.

“Sorry,” she quietly muttered as she finally opened the door afraid to make eye contact with the woman impatiently waiting outside wearing a familiar combination of apron and cap. Looking around she recognized the tables and chairs that went right up to rows of bookshelves where tile turned to carpet. The dividing line that separated Jackie’s from Books. How did I end up here?

Luckily her dad lives—lived? Right down the road. His apartment? Her apartment? Neither sounded right. She still didn’t even know what she was going to do with it. Every part of her wanted to pick up her things from school and move back home but the constant reminder that her father was no longer there waiting for her was too much for her to live with right now. Even here at Books everything she looked at reminded her of her father. The bookshelves seemed to so much shorter now. When she was a kid this store was her labyrinth and her father, the beast chasing her through it. This game of hide and seek was a ritual for the two of them and while Elaina eventually outgrew those games the two of them never stopped coming by every Saturday. Some families went on picnics, others may have gone hiking but Eliana and her dad spent every weekend dining on the outdoor patio of Jackie’s after a long trip through Books. Eliana was certain the shop had a name of its own but the exterior sign was a victim of an increasingly tight budget and simply read Books in bold white letters. After a change in trends the store teamed up with the café next door removing the wall between them allowing patrons to move freely between the two.

Eliana did not want to be here right now. She wasn’t even quite sure she had gotten here in the first place. A grief fueled sleepwalk maybe? A blackout? She definitely didn’t plan on visiting this store when she came to town. Then again, she didn’t really plan on doing anything. She had been letting the tides of life carry her for so long but she just could not put off sorting through her father’s stuff any longer. She didn’t know what she was going to do exactly. Right now she just knew that being here, surrounded by all these memories, was not where she wanted to be. So then what? Move from one memory infused location to another? The apartment wasn’t exactly calling to her either.

“Mark would you just shut up already.”

Mark?

“I’m just saying you don’t have to travel the world in order to save it. There’s a lot you can do right here.”

This isn’t happening.

“Look, this isn’t just about making the world a better place to live in. It’s also about self-discovery. Expanding my horizons. You knew this was coming. Stop freaking out.”

“I’m not freaking out.”

I’m freaking out. Eliana stood there, frozen. Not twenty feet away from her arguing at the checkout counter was her Aunty J and, most shockingly, her father. Except it wasn’t. This wasn’t them. At least not like she remembers them. They were young.

This Is Not Going To End Well

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6tag_190616-180043“So what’s changed?”

Improvising may not have been Eliana’s strength but what she was good at was being straightforward. Mark’s discovery of her notebook may have put a disastrous end to her journey with consequences she couldn’t predict but she was still determined to get as many answers before her time here was up.

“Pardon?” Alan on the other hand was not very good with directness. At all. Eliana’s sudden appearance immediately threw him off balance. Her slamming a pile of his old plays on the table nearly knocking over his coffee didn’t help either.

“These are brilliant. This,” she said pointing at the manuscript he was looking over, “is, well, not. I mean, it’s good enough” and far better than anything your son has written, she thought “but it’s nowhere near as impactful as any of these.” She didn’t have to motion to his work she had brought with her. Her arrival not only had his attention but also the few others who were trying to enjoy their afternoon eating out on the patio which she was suddenly aware of. Too strong.

“Sorry,” she said looking around the patio as she sat down with Alan.

“I’m sorry,” This time to Alan but he wasn’t looking at her. Instead his focus was on the mess of his works Eliana had so tactfully brought to his attention.

“Heh,” he laughed to himself in a sad sort of way, picking up the topmost play on the pile. “I wrote this one for my wife. She was an actress. Probably still is. I can’t imagine her doing anything else.”

This quieted Eliana. Alan died when she was very young and Mark had so few memories of his mother himself that he hardly ever talked about her. She never even thought about the fact that she knew almost nothing about her grandmother. It didn’t even cross her mind to seek her out when she got here. That is how detached from their lives she had been.

“Tell me about her.”

—–

Mark went out of his way to pass by the café his father frequents. He may not have seen their relationship as a close one but that father/son bond was still there and while he doesn’t normally seek his father’s advice with Jamie out of the country and Eliana being the subject of his troubles he had no one else to turn to. Jamie. She was the one who introduced him to Eliana in the first place. Was she in on this or did Eliana fool her too? Other than this whole Eliana situation things were looking up. Mark was writing and his happiness greatly improved. Life was good. The smile on his face was no longer a facade. Seeing that notebook certainly shocked him but this is something his old self would obsess over, occupying his mind during every waking moment. But this is Mark 2.0. He just needed to move past these circumstances and maybe distance himself from Eliana. She was starting to become a surrogate for Jamie but what he needed was to learn how to make it on his own for a while. Actively seeking out his father when he would normally just begrudgingly tolerate him was a good first step for Mark 2.0. But all that changed when he turned to corner and saw who his father was sitting with on the patio of the café.

Mark and Eliana’s eyes locked before Alan even knew his son was there. The look on Eliana’s face gave away that something was wrong though and told him to turn around.

This is not going to end well.

“Hey Mark,” Alan began to wave but Mark, stopped in his tracks the moment he saw Eliana, immeadiately turned around and headed back as his old, obsessive self once again took the reins.

“Excuse me.” Eliana quickly extracted herself from the conversation with Alan and chased after Mark.

“Wait, what?” Alan was baffled. What had begun as a strange confrontation between Eliana and himself somehow led to him telling her stories about his once wife but then this. He didn’t think things could have gotten any stranger.

“Mark!”

Mark was not turning around. Facing his problems was something Mark 2.0 might have done but this reversion of himself was not having any of that.

“Who are you? Why are you everywhere?”

“Mark wait.” He finally stopped and turned to face her with a look of both anger and anguish as he is both outraged and supremely confused.

“Seriously, I am nobody but here you are, showing up at my door. At the bar, yes, I know that was you, and you have this notebook about my life. Things I never even told you. Things I haven’t told anyone! I mean, seriously…” Mark turns back around too frustrated to even have this conversation.

“I’m from the future.” Eliana hesitantly shouts. Well, here we go. Mark pauses but still doesn’t turn back around. Nothing can be further from what he expected to hear from her. “I’m your daughter and I’m from the future and I’m just as lost as you are right now.”

That was about all he could take. He just left. Nothing made sense anymore and staying to talk about it would even further his confusion. So he walked away and continued walking not wanting to look back. Not wanting answers. Only wanting to get away. Peace. That is all he ever wanted. To be left alone. No struggles. No frustrations. Only peace.

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“Tea?”

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6tag_190616-180043“I can’t do it. I have been staring at this page for twenty minutes and I am done.” Mark tossed his notebook on the couch next to Eliana. It was this exact frustration that kept him from writing all these years.

“You’ve got to give it time. You don’t want to force it out but you don’t want to not write either.”

The improvement in Mark’s writing process had been a painfully slow process for Eliana. She just could not believe that this was the same man that had taught her everything she knew about the discipline and stick-to-it-ness of writing. Was this why her dad was always able to give her the perfect writing advice because he too had to work through all these issues himself?

 “You work on this,” Eliana told him tossing the notebook back to Mark who had retreated into the lowest of slouches in his chair. “I’m gonna go make some tea.”

“Tea?”

“Yea, it’ll help. Trust me.”

Eliana didn’t know what else to say to Mark. His juvenile attitude toward his work combined with the revelation that the relationship between him and his father wasn’t as perfect as she had been led to believe was a constant frustration for her these last few days. The tea would help her relax and hopefully clear Mark’s head enough for him to write something substantial.

She didn’t bother closing the door as she walked across the hall from Mark’s to Jamie’s apartment. Her cupboards were stocked with all sorts of teas. Eliana herself had never gotten into the habit of making tea just for herself and she never knew what to order when she went out but inexperience hadn’t hindered her journey yet. She grabbed the most empty and most likely used tea. One thing she did know however was how to make the tea. Every time Jamie was in town she insisted on the two of them having tea and would have Eliana right next to her as she made it. It was a simple process but a tiny Eliana thought of it as the highest of honors to share the task with her Aunty J. Growing up she relished those visits because she never knew when Jamie would be back in town. Sometimes it was as little as a few weeks and other times it was years between visits. She had seen her soon after her father’s passing but urgent work called her off once again. Her promised calls to Eliana went ignored however. In a time when she needed the support of family the most she ignored the only one she had left. Nothing seemed right with her father gone. Not even her relationship with Jamie.

She was in over her head here. She had been in over her head since the beginning but now instead of seeking the advice and comfort she had been looking for she was playing care worker to these two lost writers. She didn’t know what had bothered her more, her conversation with Alan or the fact that Mark didn’t pick up that something was wrong with her. Her father was always aware of how she felt. And not just her. He could pick up on the underlying feelings of most everyone around him. It was his gift. But this Mark was different. Even with all the stories her father had told her Eliana was still surprised at the state she had found both Mark and Alan in. She wasn’t naïve enough to expect perfection from them but they were both so far gone from what she had been told. Growing up she heard story after story about how great her grandfather was and the perfect relationship the two of them shared but what she witnessed upon her arrival was just the opposite. Mark was a mess and his father was just the same. And while Alan spoke highly of his son, Mark hardly mentioned his dad. Had her father been lying to her? In her mind he had never lied to her. Or was the relationship she heard so much about a thing of the future? Spending time with the two of them she realized that the men she grew up idolizing weren’t exactly the saints they were made out to be. Maybe she was wrong. Maybe something changes between then and now. Maybe that something is me.

“Um, what are you doing?” Eliana drops the saucers spilling some of the tea, the cups miraculously landing upright with a clatter on the coffee table as she snatches her notebook away from Mark. She could see on Mark’s face that he had read enough to raise questions and was trying to process what she had written. This wasn’t her people watching notebook she had shared with Alan it was notes on the time period, on Alan, and on her father. It was full of information on Mark. Everything she had seen him do before being introduced to him, everything he had talked to her about, and comparisons on this version of him and his future self.

“What is this? It’s… It’s me. It’s all about me.”

She knew this might happen. She had planned for it. But what could she tell him? Not the truth. Never the truth. She would have to face the situation like an adult. Unfortunately she had gotten quite used to running in her adult life and that is exactly what she did.

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“A Little Lost Are You?”

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6tag_190616-180043Eliana recognized Alan from her old photos of him. He didn’t look so different. Then again he wasn’t much younger now than he was in those pictures. She has always missed him even though her memory has faded to the point where she cannot differentiate between what is memory and what is part of some story her father may have told her over and over again. He was this almost mythical being in her life so naturally she had read everything he had ever written. She had to prevent herself from staring as she sat at a nearby table. He was quietly sipping his coffee with a manuscript in front of him nodding to himself when something looked good and smacking his lips and scribbling in the margins every so often when something was out of place. Eliana pulled one her own notebooks from her survival kit. This one was specially prepared for her trip. No dates. No details. It was mostly just observations she made while people watching and little stories she would come up with about them. It was her writing exercise. She knew Alan was an over the top romantic and would not be able to resist striking up a conversation with a young woman sitting alone and writing at an open air café. The trap was set.

“Excuse me, if you don’t mind me asking, but are you working on over there?”

Knew it. “Oh nothing. Just a little something passing through my head.”

“Do you mind if I take a look at it?”

Eliana feigned nervousness as she pretended to think it over in her head. This was only a little something to pass the time and maintain her cover but the idea of Alan looking over it, even if he tells her it’s terrible, excites her.

“I don’t know…” Come on take the bait.

“Don’t worry, I’ll be gentle. Tell you what, we can trade. I’m stuck on a little something myself. Maybe a fresh pair of eyes will help me out.”

“Oh all right but it’s nothing really. Completely unpolished.”

Eliana and Alan swapped work, hers a notebook she picked up second hand with only a few pages torn out of it and his, a printed manuscript of what looked to be novel. Strange, Dad never told me grandpa wrote a novel. Mark had told her many stories about his life so it never crossed her mind that he would have held anything back. But then again, maybe her dad didn’t know about this. Which was also strange because as far as she knew Alan shared everything with his son. Of course with some of his publishing troubles at this stage in his career maybe he was ashamed to talk about a novel that may never be. She was under the impression that everything Alan wanted published eventually was. Even when his popularity waned he was able to secure at least a small print run of anything he wrote.

“A little lost are you?” Alan eventually asks breaking Eliana’s gaze from Alan’s work.

“Yea, well who isn’t?”

“It’s all over your writing. Do your characters ever find what they’re looking for?”

“They will. Eventually. Hopefully. I just need to get there first.”

“Well I hope it’s soon. You don’t want to spend your entire life running.”

Eliana was finding far too much truth than she had expected on this trip. First on her walk with Mark and now Alan’s insights. It is what she had wanted- guidance- but facing reality was not as easy as she had hoped it would be. Of course she was running. Who wouldn’t? Well, everyone else I guess. She was supposed to be on this soul searching journey but instead had been treating this more like a vacation.

“So what did you think of mine?”

“Well, it’s alright, I guess, but it’s no masterpiece.”

Alan sighed and smiled. “I seem to be having that problem recently.”

“I mean, the writing is great but it’s the story that’s lacking.”

Alan remembers a time when his stories were much more. His life was much more. Full of adventure and excitement. Full of love. He was in love with the idea of love. And that made everything far less real in his mind. No form of reality could live up to the fantasy he had built up in his head and that had affected his ability to write something that felt true in this state of his life. He was losing touch with reality and wasn’t doing much to dig himself out of it. This novel was supposed to be his turning point.

“Look, Alan, let’s be honest here. They’re just not selling. I think you’ve got enough leeway for one more go. One last book but that’s it. Do you want this collection to be it?”

Alan slid his collection back across the table avoiding eye contact.

“I guess not.”

“You’re not out of this yet. Give me something good. Something you really believe in and maybe it’ll strike some chords and then we can print more of your stories. Until then…”

He knew this day would come but he still was unprepared. He would survive. This was not his livelihood. He still wrote enough reviews and educational materials to supplement his residuals from his earlier, more successful works but writing was his passion. And his stories weren’t the same if they just sat on his shelf. They were meant to be read. This one too. He just couldn’t find the right voice to bring what he sees as his greatest idea to life.

“Keep working at it.”

“And here I thought I was to give you advice young lady.”

“You did.” The sad eyes she was looking into bore little familiarity to the man she remembered but that is a lesson she was starting to get used to. Eliana wasn’t sure what the rules were here. How much could she interact before she inevitably changed things for her present time? Could she even change anything? She still wasn’t sure if any of this was real or just an extremely elaborate trick of her mind. But she knows Alan’s writing experiences a resurgence. But she also knows that what he is writing right now does not see the light of day. But it should. She wasn’t lying when she said there was something there. Alan just needed to get reacquainted with the writer he used to be. Here I am helping two writers get their lives on track and I still don’t have what I’m looking for. Is this why I’m here or am I only helping them to avoid my own issues?

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