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Tema: Dragana Konstantinovic  (Pročitano 33458 puta)
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Underpromise; overdeliver.

Zodijak Gemini
Pol Muškarac
Poruke Odustao od brojanja
Zastava 44°49′N - 20°29′E
mob
Apple iPhone 6s
MY WISHES

I wanted to have a small puppy,
a white one that had a yellow spot,
to run after him through the park
and all around our backyard lot.
I wanted to love and to pet him,
to make him my very bestest friend,
to take him to a vet when he’s sick,
to smile and play with him to the end.
My wish was rudely put away
when they told me two words: “No way!”

I wanted to have a grayish cat,
a little one that had just been born,
so I could whisper to her all night
my secrets—small and those that were sworn.
I wanted to watch her when she eats,
to stop her when she was to run away,
to listen and enjoy when she purrs,
to love her in every possible way.
I thought that this was something for me;
but, they just told me: “That cannot be!”

I wanted to have even a parrot.
My every single day would just shine
if he would sing to me and make noise…
I wanted anything that would be mine.
They didn’t understand me at all…
Although the day was hot and sunny,
I felt those goosebumps all over me
when they looked at each other funny
and when they told me through a whisper:
“Let go of it all, you’ll get a sister!”

Dragana Konstantinovic
Translated by the author
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Zodijak Gemini
Pol Muškarac
Poruke Odustao od brojanja
Zastava 44°49′N - 20°29′E
mob
Apple iPhone 6s
SECRET OF THE LAKE

        Everything that once begins must have an end--that’s the unwritten law of nature.  It is my opinion that everything that begins at one place must have an end at the same place.  Just a while ago, I confirmed that theory.
        It is unbelievable that the lake looks so calm and that its surface is so smooth and peaceful as nothing has happened.  As it isn’t interested in anything.  As it doesn’t want to be interested in anything.  And yet, I sent into its depth the man whom I had killed with my own hands just a while ago.  Only five minutes ago, there was a struggle for life and death and he lost.  He appeared suddenly like always and looked at me with fear in his eyes--or so it seemed to me--and I had to stand on his way.  I had to kill him because that was the only way.  When I came to him with my fists ready, a flock of birds flied up out of the nearby grove making a lot of noise.  Then, there was a fight, a moan, a splash.  And that was all.  The lake’s stillness was deranged for just a moment.  After that, there was a silence again and only birds continued their twitter from a very distance.
        Like nothing happened...
        It's strange, but I feel calm, too.  As I have done the most common thing in the world, as the murder is something that is absolutely normal, as it is the only possible way of solving problems.  I feel pleased, I feel satisfied.  Actually, I enjoyed killing him.  Do you think I am crazy?  No, I am not.  But, I’ll have to explain everything to make you understand.

* * *

        I was born here on this lake--right there in that small wooden cottage that is bashfully peering out of the woods.  One weekend about twenty-five years ago, my mother came over here to find inspiration for writing; instead, unplanned and two months before the expectation, she got me. 
        Maybe that’s the reason I’ve always liked spending time on this place.  I don’t know, but somehow the lake has always been something special to me.  As a kid, I would have come here to swim, to collect pebbles on the beach, to go fishing.  I would have come here to think when I had problems and to share my pleasure and happiness when I was satisfied.
        My story began one sunny afternoon when I was a ten-year-old boy.  I was sitting on the beach and indifferently throwing pebbles into the water.  My parents went shopping and I was bored waiting for them to return.
        The surface of the lake was calm as it is now.  The Sun was going down lightening up its left side, while the right side became covered with long, long shadows created by surrounding trees.  It was then that I saw the thing for the first time.  Something sparkled out from the shallow water in front of me and when I came nearer, I saw the metal hoop about three feet in diameter.  The hoop was silverish and very shiny, as it had just been made and polished.  I had not found anything in the lake before.  Our lot is out-of way and casual passers-by have never come over here.  And, if it had been dropped in the lake by some of the boatmen, how come it didn’t sink?  It's made of metal!
        I didn’t think too much about that.  I finally found something that attracted my attention and broke my boredom.  I sit on the pebbles again, rolling the hoop in my hands and thinking what could I use it for.  And right then, a stranger appeared in front of me.
        He was tall and big and dressed in jeans.  And he was somehow familiar to me, although I couldn’t find out why.  Maybe that was the reason I didn’t run away immediately.  The stranger put down his hands that had been covering his eyes, he looked to the left and to the right a couple of times, and then he looked at me with an unusual expression on his face. 
        “Throw that thing away,” he said suddenly. “You don’t need that!”
        My parents appeared right then and while I turned over to tell them I was on the beach, the stranger disappeared.  Simply, when I turned back again, he wasn’t there anymore.  It was in vain telling my parents what had happened while they were out; they didn’t believe me.
        I played with the hoop months after that.  I would have rolled it and ran along.  That was fun!  Suddenly, I lost my interest--I probably became too old for such game.  Then I took the hoop over to the cellar, hang it on a wedge and forgot about it.
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Zodijak Gemini
Pol Muškarac
Poruke Odustao od brojanja
Zastava 44°49′N - 20°29′E
mob
Apple iPhone 6s
* * *

        Next time that I saw the hoop, I was twenty-five.  I took over some pals for the weekend and I went down to the cellar to store the bottles of wine.  It is always better to cool down the wine naturally, than to cool it in a fridge.  And then, I saw it hanging, silverish and subtle.  It was shiny like on the day I had found it.  I recollected my boyhood and numerous sunny afternoons spent on the beach.  I recollected the day I had found it.  The memories were very lively.  I felt the need to touch that thing and I stretched my arm.  But, as I touched it, the hoop felt over my head and slipped down.  It touched the ground with an unpleasant clinking noise.  At the same very moment, I felt pain in my eyes caused by some intensive source of light.  Soon, I found out it was the sunlight.  I covered my eyes with the hands and later, when I moved them off, I realized that I was standing on the beach in front of the house.  I was confused; I was in the cellar a moment before!  Then I saw a boy in front of me who was sitting on the pebbles and holding the hoop in his hands--the same hoop that had felt over me just a while ago.  I looked at the boy. That face, that look--but, it’s me!  Is it possible that the hoop took me to the past?  And yet, how could be possible for something like that to happen!?
        The boy looked at me.  He seemed confused, too.
        “Throw that thing away, you don’t need that,” I shouted in a fright, but the boy didn’t answer. He took the hoop and ran to the house.
        A moment later, I found myself in the cellar again.  I was taken in in the same miraculous and unreal way as it had happened when I was taken out.  Again, I needed a couple of seconds to adjust my eyes, now to the darkness that was surrounding me.  And when contours around me began getting shapes, I bent down and took the hoop intending to put it back onto its place.  Is it possible that just a while ago, here on the beach near the lake, I saw myself when I was a ten-year-old boy?  Is it possible that this thing in my hands is a kind of a time machine?  No, it is probably just my imagination and maybe the lack of oxygen in this small, dark room.
        Suddenly, among all familiar things in the cellar, I saw the silhouette of a man right in front of me.  He was just standing and watching me.  When my eyes became well adjusted too dark, I realized that the person standing in front of me was nobody else but--myself.  He was even dressed the same way as me.
        “I’ve come late, haven’t I?”- he asked, watching me and the hoop in my hands.
I didn’t have to answer--I was sure he knew everything.  I shrugged my shoulders and did what I intended to do.  I hang the hoop on the wedge.

* * *

        It was Sunday evening.  My pals left and I unexpectedly decided to prolong my stay for one more day.  I needed loneliness and the stillness of  the lake to clear my mind and to think about everything that had happened.
        I went out and sit on the pebbles.  The night was hot and with so many stars that reflected back from the surface of the lake.  I heard crickets chirping somewhere far away and murmur of small waves that were playing with the pebbles on the beach.  I enjoyed the atmosphere.
        What could I do, I was thinking.  Could I do anything?  Maybe it’s just the fissure in time-space continuum that happens once in a million years?  Maybe it’s just my imagination that slipped over its borders.  Maybe it’s a hallucination?  Anyway, I am certain that something as weird as this could never happen again.
        With these thoughts in my mind, I stood up and went to the house.
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Zodijak Gemini
Pol Muškarac
Poruke Odustao od brojanja
Zastava 44°49′N - 20°29′E
mob
Apple iPhone 6s
* * *

        As soon as I walked into the room, I noticed another myself who was sitting in my armchair.
        “Listen, we have to talk,” he said.  “I think you know what's the problem.  We have to find the way out.”
        I was startled.  I just convinced myself that the occurrence was nothing but the result of inadequate work of my brain cells--and now this!
        “Yes,” “I” from the armchair continued like he was reading my thoughts, “it was a time travel.  Only, it has to be stopped!”
        “Well, that’s easy,” I muttered.  “I won’t touch the hoop ever again and that’s it.”
        “Do you really think it's so simple? Do you think I wanted to come over here to chat with you?  Or, maybe I should better say, to chat with myself?  Do you understand that as much as I--or you--are attracted by the beauties of this lake, the hoop is attracted by yourself...?  I just want to say..."
        He suddenly became silent and took a glance at the bedroom doors.  There was the third myself standing dressed in a nightgown, looking sleepy and confused at the same time.
        “What have I told you,” said the one that was sitting in the armchair.
        Weakly and slowly, I sat on the sofa and covered my eyes with hands in despair.
        “O.K., we have to do something,” I said.  “But what?”
        When I lifted my face, I realized I was alone again.  My doubles were gone.

* * *

        If I suppose it’s true that I attract the hoop so much, then it is the only solution finding out the way of using the hoop.  That way, I could go back to the past and advise my previous self not to touch the hoop.  Let’s say, at the moment I tried to touch it down there in the cellar, when it felt over my head.  If I could just advise myself before the moment I touched it, nothing would have happened.  Only, I must not be late, I must not arrive after the travel...  Yes, that would be the best thing to do.  I stood up with the intention of going to the cellar and trying to use the hoop once more, when the knocking on the door stopped me.  Who is it now!?  Another myself?  This time, I wouldn’t be surprised.
        I opened the door and became paralyzed.  There was the hoop right in front of me, floating in the air in the height of my shoulders.  O, God, am I daydreaming?  I was shocked.  The hoop floated for a while, then it moved slowly and gently and touched my chest.  I simply didn’t have a chance to react.  At the same moment, I found myself in the cellar watching my previous self as he was lifting the hoop from the ground after his first travel.
        “I’ve come late, haven’t I?”- I asked, although it was totally unnecessary.
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Zodijak Gemini
Pol Muškarac
Poruke Odustao od brojanja
Zastava 44°49′N - 20°29′E
mob
Apple iPhone 6s
* * *

        I couldn’t fall asleep.  My head was full of confused thoughts and as soon as I would close my eyes, I would see a great number of myselves who were strangling me with their presence.  I was exhausted, but the sleep didn’t come.  On the contrary, I just tortured myself trying to fall asleep.  I stood out of the bed and opened the window.  Maybe the fresh air could help me relax.  I went to bed again and again there were scenes in front of my eyes that I had had today.  If anybody had ever told me that one day I could have come into the house finding myself inside...
        Everything that happened after lasted no longer than a second.  I didn’t notice when the hoop floated into the room through the open window, neither I noticed when it came near me.  I just felt the touch of cold metal on my hand.  After that, I found myself standing in the living room dressed in my nightgown.  I was sleepy and confused at the same time.  Beside myself, there were two other myselves in the room, too, talking.
        I was there only for a moment or two.  Then, I was in my bed again where I finally fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.

* * *

        I was in much better mood when I awoke.  I made a coffee and went out to the porch.  That was something I liked the best--drinking the first morning coffee on the porch while the lake in front of me sparkled and g glittered lightened up by the morning Sun.
        I felt my mind was clear--that was good.  Let me think.  Apparently, all my travels through time and space were caused by the hoop, that strange object that had been thrown out of this lake years ago.  Furthermore, all my travels were totally unexpected.  In fact, I would have thought about some detail of my past and the hoop took me right there...
        I saw another myself in front of me on the beach who was running like his life depended on it.  He was waving his arms as he was trying do defend himself from something.  I didn’t want to be startled.  The only thing I needed at that moment was logic and I wanted to keep my mind clear of those stupid occurrences.
        So, I can’t run away from the hoop.  The only way to stop these awkward travels is to stop thinking about my past.  If I knew yesterday that I shouldn’t be thinking about the past, I wouldn’t have found myself in the living room while those two were there talking.  If I knew...
        The metal object that touched my back showed me that I became caught in the trap of my own thoughts.  I couldn’t think any more because the next moment I found myself sitting in my armchair.  A moment after, the door opened.
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Zodijak Gemini
Pol Muškarac
Poruke Odustao od brojanja
Zastava 44°49′N - 20°29′E
mob
Apple iPhone 6s
* * *

        “Listen, we have to talk,” I said to my previous self who just walked in.  He looked startled by my presence, but I didn’t want to be hindered.  I had to hurry because I didn’t know when I could be taken back.  “ I think you know what's the problem.  We have to find the way out.”
        “Yes, it was a time travel” I said nervously when I saw that stupid expression on his face.  “Only, it has to be stopped!”
        “Well, that’s easy,” he finally answered.  “I won’t touch the hoop ever again and that’s it.”
        “Do you really think it's so simple? Do you think I wanted to come over here to chat with you?  Or, maybe I should better say, to chat with myself?  Do you understand that as much as I--or you--are attracted by the beauties of this lake, the hoop is attracted by yourself...?  I just want to say..."
        At that moment, I heard that the bedroom door opened.  When I took a glance, I saw another myself standing there in the nightgown.  O. God, where is the end of this madness!?
        “What have I told you,” I said hopelessly.
        I couldn’t continue because at the next very moment I was on the same place I had been before--on the porch holding the coffee mug in my hands.  Am I really incapable of going out of this swirl?

* * *

        After I drank my coffee, I decided to take a walk to the beach.  Have you ever tried not to think about anything?  I tried then and it was very hard to do.  One is absolutely not aware how much he is connected to his past until he tries not to think about it.  For example, just a while ago I was drinking my coffee and now it has already become the past.
        A strange noise startled me for a moment.  No, it wasn’t the pebbles creaking under my feet, neither it was the twitter, nor the murmuring water.  That must be...
        I heard the noise again.  I looked in front of me, I looked back, I looked up and then I saw it.  It was the hoop flying somewhere high above my head.  It flied in circles making that strange noise as it was doing it.
        No, you won’t do it again, I thought and I started running as fast as I could.  I wanted to run away, to hide myself, to force the thing to give up.  I ran and ran, madly and furiously.  I didn’t feel the touch.  It was just a moment after that when I realized I was running by the porch while there was another me drinking his morning coffee.  I waved my arms trying to get rid of that stupid thing as that could help to make me free.
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Zodijak Gemini
Pol Muškarac
Poruke Odustao od brojanja
Zastava 44°49′N - 20°29′E
mob
Apple iPhone 6s
* * *

        O.K., if I can’t think about the past, then I can think about my future.  This thought came to me suddenly when I, tired out of running, sit on the pebbles near the water.  Somehow I felt that the hoop isn’t capable of taking me into the future.  Future is not defined and, by now, it has taken me only to the moments when the defined things happened.
        What would happen if I kill myself?  I would cut the chain of happenings and--make the end.  And yet, I am only twenty-five and until a couple of days ago I led a perfectly normal life. Why would I kill myself?
        What would happen if I kill him?  I could kill that ghost of my future who is coming to me over and over forcing me to follow his steps.  If I could get rid of him, then it is only me who remains.  And then, I could build my future the way I want!
        That’s right.  That’s the only solution.
        I was sure that he’ll come again.  I was absolutely sure and I was ready to wait.

* * *

        I wasn’t sure how much time I spent sitting on the beach and amusing myself by counting glimmering ribbons that were painted by the Sun on the surface of the lake.  That was the only way to clear my mind of thoughts and to force myself not to think of anything else.  I couldn’t allow myself the luxury to think about the past again.
        When I finally saw him, he was standing right in front of me.  His eyes were filled with fear.  As soon as he appeared, he started waving his head and walking backwards.  Oh, how much I hated him at that moment!  He was absolutely aware what he was doing to me!  No, he ought to be stopped!
        I approached him slowly and punched his face with a fist as hard as I could.  He felt down into the water.  The splash frightened a flock of birds and they flied up out of the nearby grove.  I punched him again.  Then--as the anger and despair gave me new strength--I continued punching and hitting and kicking him with my fists and elbows and legs--whatever was more suitable at the moment.  He lifted his hands covered with blood, but he couldn’t defend himself.  I was beating him all the time: I didn’t stop even when his body became moveless and lifeless.  I wanted him to die.  I wanted to be sure he was dead.  Every new blow filled me up with energy that was circulating through my veins so that the next blow could be even harder than the last one.
        When I became absolutely sure he was dead, I dragged his body deeper into the lake.  Everything began here on this lake and I wanted it to end here, too.  Somehow, it seemed the most logical place for the body.
        I came back to the beach and sit down.  I killed a man, a human being, and still the only thing I felt was pure pleasure.  The hoop flied over my head somewhere far above and continued his flight heading towards the lake.  I was very satisfied watching the silverish circle that began diving lower and lower until it became swallowed by the lake.
        Yes, I was right.  His death broke the spell and opened the doors of my future.  The hoop went back to the place that had sent him out to our world.  Finally, I was free.
        Maybe it’s strange, but I felt calm, as I have done the most common thing in the world, as the murder is something that is absolutely normal, as it is the only possible way of solving problems.  But, in my case, it was the most common thing in the world, wasn’t it?
        I really enjoyed killing him...
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Underpromise; overdeliver.

Zodijak Gemini
Pol Muškarac
Poruke Odustao od brojanja
Zastava 44°49′N - 20°29′E
mob
Apple iPhone 6s
* * *

        Is it my hallucination, or is there something glimmering from the water?
        I didn’t have time to look twice.  With a big splash, the silverish circle flied out of the water and felt over me.  I didn’t understand whether it was my fear that made me jump on my feet, or...  Then I saw my previous self sitting on the pebbles and waiting...
        Waiting for me.
        No, this is unbelievable, this is absolutely crazy.  It is impossible that the madness is going on.  But I broke the spell!  And, anyway, I don’t want to die, I am only twenty-five! I want to live!
        When he stood up and approached me, when I saw that anger and that hatred in his eyes, I realized that there was no escape.  There was a scenery for this, too.  I stepped backwards trying to get the time, but, nothing crossed my mind.  I closed my eyes and bravely waited for his first blow.
        A flock of birds flied somewhere high above my head.

* * *

        Everything that once begins must have an end--that’s the unwritten law of nature.  And everything that begins at one place must have an end at the same place.
        There was nobody around to see the round metal object that was flying in circles just above the surface of the lake.  Then, suddenly and without any sound, it slipped bellow the surface and sank into the depth of its creator.  It was right there where it had been created ages and ages ago by the incomprehensible game of nature.  It was right there where it had to come back.
        The time came and it had to return to its place.
        The lake finally found it's lost part.

        Dragana Konstantinovic
        Translated by the author
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Zodijak Gemini
Pol Muškarac
Poruke Odustao od brojanja
Zastava 44°49′N - 20°29′E
mob
Apple iPhone 6s
THE GREAT WIZARD

        For the great majority of people, childhood is the most beautiful part of life.  And, as years go by and their time passes to be lost forever, several insignificant events--pale and disfigured by the tooth of time--become more and more important.

        I am not one of those who are able to speak about their childhood for hours and hours.  I've never spoken stories about juicy peaches stolen from neighbors' gardens, about skillfully altered marks in school files, or about poor little lizard that I hid in the sugar box and about Mom's face when she tried to make a coffee.  Since ever, I've preferred to look in front of me instead of behind me.  Maybe I am too young for such stories--I am only twenty-nine--or maybe it's just the fact that I don't have such memories of my childhood.
        I was always quiet and somehow reserved child.  I lived with my mother in a small apartment that was located in a quiet quart of the northern part of the town.  My mind never passed an idea to steal neighbors' unripe, desperately stony and sour peaches because I never liked to eat even the ripe ones.  I had no need to alter my marks either--I'd always been the best student.  Finally--thinking about lizards--my mother was a zoologist and our apartment was full of rare species all the time.  There were Algol bats, single eyed martens from Beta Lyre, infra-green parrots from Vega and who would have remembered what else!  And then, how could I ever have my mind crossed by an idea like that--to bring home a plane lizard and to put it into the sugar box!  By the way, my mother wouldn't be frightened by the lizard at all:  She would simply throw it out of the apartment as a completely uninteresting sample.
        So, if I would take a glance at these years of my life, with an exemption that I grew up without father, my childhood was very common and ordinary.  I wouldn't say boring or lonely because it really wasn't.  I liked to read, I liked my piano lessons--probably owing to the beautiful young lady that taught me--and I liked my chemistry lab where I used to make some incredible things.  Things that would envy me on even those who used to steal peaches; if they would have only tried to join me.

* * *

        Though, there is something that happened to me in my early childhood, something that I have never ever talked about.  At this time, the word 'secret' still had it's sense and I was silent.  Only much, much later, I realized that that event changed and guided my entire life.
        I was almost six at the time.  I was taller than many other kids of my age, I was thin, and my first milk teeth had just started falling out.  I remember, for that reason I was a little bit ashamed, and I was silent most of the time because I didn't want to see other kids laughing at me. 
        It was a hot summer afternoon when I was playing in the park near our building.  Actually, there was a small play yard in the park that was every single day full of kids--from early morning till dusk--but I preferred to play away from the play yard.  I preferred to play alone.  And so it was that day.  I was squatting in the grass and intently watching an ant family.  Suddenly, I realized I was not alone any more.  I reflexively raised my head and espied an incredible creature!  There was a tall, dark haired man in front of me dressed in black and covered with a cloak made of small, multicolored squares of fabric.  His cloak reminded me of the ones that were worn by wizards in my favorite fairy tales. 
        "Are you Latto III," he asked me.  "I'm looking for you."
        I wasn't frightened.  The man seemed somehow familiar to me and I felt as if there finally arrived somebody whom I had been waiting for a very long time.  I just nodded and stood up.  At the same time, with a few pretty clumsy attempts, I tried to remove dust from my knees.
        "Can you keep a secret?"
        I remember that we sat on a bench.  And I remember how unreal his cloak looked, lightened by flashes of the sinking Sun.  And I remember how proud I was when he told me that I was the only kid who was able see him.  Later, when Annie from the second floor asked me who was that clown with me, I pronounced her a liar because she could not see him.
        The man was speaking to me.  About a small yellow house in a suburb that was guarded by two fragrant lilacs...  About a boy whose name was Latto, the same as mine, and who lived in that house...  About boy's mother who wanted her son to become a doctor like she was...  About the Great Wizard who was the only one who could tell a kid what it would become when grown up.  And that he was coming only to selected kids, not to everyone...  And that boy whose name was Latto, he had been selected; selected to become the captain of a great researching spaceship that would sail for centuries and centuries looking for unknown...  And the Great Wizard visited him...
        "Has that boy become the captain," I asked him. "Are you the Great Wizard?  Is that the reason you have a mottled cloak?  Am I selected, too?" 
        The man nodded after every question.  Then he told me something that I couldn't understand and so I couldn't remember either, but I remember clearly that he told me:
        "You like to examine and explore; you like everything that is new and unknown.  For that reason, your place is among stars, too.  And that boy from my story, he is impatiently waiting for you.  One day, you will sail together..."
        He fondled my hair, and--I think before the next very moment--he wasn't there any more.  I was left alone only now I was richer for a secret...
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Zodijak Gemini
Pol Muškarac
Poruke Odustao od brojanja
Zastava 44°49′N - 20°29′E
mob
Apple iPhone 6s
* * *

        I have never told anybody about that event.  I've taken care about the secret, I've lived and grown with it; but, maybe unconsciously, the secret has been somewhere deep inside me all the time.  And it has been deciding my future.  Otherwise, how could I explain the fact that--in spite all my love for chemistry and music--I chose to study the psychology of inhuman intelligent beings.  I think that even kids know that the subjects of my examination live everywhere around except on the Earth.  Destiny?
        Until the previous year, I worked at the "Earth Research Center of Intelligent Species of the Universe."  I was one of leading designers.  The job was interesting, the earning was above expectations and all my friends envied me.  Then I met Sellena, got married and bought a small but comfortable house.  Shortly after that, I proudly looked at the newborn Latto IV, wriggling in a cradle.  I was sure everybody who knew me would say that I got everything one could possibly wish for.  And they would probably be right.  Only, I’d been looking for something new all my life and I just couldn't draw a line and say: "I've got everything I've wanted--I am satisfied."  Not me.  I'd been always looking for something more.  No matter what I'd succeeded, I wasn't satisfied.  And when I suddenly got a call from the "Aldebaran & Algol Scientist Association," I accepted it immediately and delightfully.  All that I knew about them was that they had a ship of enormous capabilities; but the details were not important to me anyway.  Finally, there was something new...
        The first trip should have lasted seven Earth years.  As far as I as a traveler was concerned, it would have lasted no more than one year.  I remember that Sellena cried when I told her the news.  She told me she would be old and ugly when I came back.  She was sure that was our separation.  (Why are women always so pathetic?  One day I will carefully explore that subject.)
        "Does your son have to grow without father, too," she asked. 
        I didn't see anything wrong about that.  I had never missed my Father.  How could I ever miss a person I never knew?
        And so I left.
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