April 9th, 1963; Tuesday. 2:34 pm, Eastern Standard Time. Winston Churchill is made an honorary citizen of the United States. The day before a failed assassination attempt on President John Kennedy. The Beatles drive from Portsmouth to London. A week after Kong Le assassinated Minister of Laos Quinim Pholsena.
Standing in the middle of Scott Street Park, across from King’s College. James Parsons approaches in the middle of a crowd. Memories of Jim begin. Introduced by mutual friend. Nick Christensen.
Shakes hand. Looks in eye. Speaks.
Respond. Greet. Inquire.
Asks whether he can have a moment of my time. Sits on bench near building that will become Turkish Hill Minit Mart. Tells me he knows what I am.
Tells me I’m not human. Wants to ask questions.
Shrugs off. Asks if I plan to kill him.
Asks what I like to drink.
Asks about hotel.
How do you know about the hotel?
Says he dreams it.
Wants to meet the owner.
February 23rd, 1964. Take Jim and Nick inside the hotel. Go on a long search. Six months, looking for the note. July 31st, 1964. Find it. Nick reads it. Leave the hotel – seconds for them, three weeks for me. Have to take the long way. Rules.
August 3rd, 1964. He finds them. Nick doesn’t make it.
August 7th, 1964. Jim burns the note. Shell game. Bargain. ‘I’ll give you the box, but you stay in Nina Klein’s string room. I give you the box, and you can never leave.’ Deal. Box is empty. August 7th, 1964 – Stagger Lee is trapped.
I miss Nick’s funeral.
April 18th, 1977. Invited to Jim and Mary’s wedding. It is Jim’s second and Mary’s first. Rainy day. Raise my glass for toast. Smiling faces.
April 14th, 1980. Gret is born. Tiny life. Light wisps of hair. Dark eyes. Purple and dark eyes. Shock. Jim thought she would be a boy. The television in the hospital is reporting on the takeover in Liberia. Someone changes the channel.
October 20th, 1997. Annette.
2002. September. The US Open. The 9/11 memorial. The march in Denver. Firefly. Isabel Parsons is born. Jim turns out the lights in his house. A man runs out, holding his arm and smelling of alcohol. Enter the house.
Ascertain. Reach inside. Reconstruct. Heal. Induce. Withdraw.
Gret is afraid. Not of me but of what is happening inside her. She sees me. Annette meets her at the hospital.
December 9th, 2002. Annette and I are married.
2013. March. Chelsea Leigh is murdered. June. Izzy Parsons visits a woman who looks older than she is.
June 3rd, 2013. Today. Izzy Parsons knocks on my door. Annette and I are watching a documentary on the new Superman movie with Henry Cavill. I answer the door.