“You’re dreaming,” she said. “Or daydreaming.”
“It seemed so real,” Jon said, “I think it was real, not a dream. It was as if I was him and he was me. Not at first but as we spoke it was like we merged together and I became him. Do you know what that’s like, being two people who are the same person. It is wonderful, like I was fulfilled, meeting up with the purpose of my life, merging with my other half, becoming whole. Kind of a religious experience, maybe.”
Jon was not a religious man. Snorri was Christian, as required by law, though he liked the Pagan Gods. They were more interesting and vulnerable to many of the flaws and desires of men, which made them more real. They were strong, of course, powerful beyond human ability, but they were imperfect as well, just like Snorri.
“We unite, not divide,” Harriet said. “It is the way, you will see that soon enough, but not yet. Your sand has not passed completely through to the other side of the glass. Soon.”
He could not see her face but her voice was the same as the days they sat in the front room looking out the big picture window to the school yard beyond. Sun filling the room. Sitting side by side on their couch with the bold flower print, the tea service on the table in front of them. He could rest, relax like a balloon deflating from tension built throughout the day and she would console him, counsel, and advise him and draw a new picture of life for him so he could collect his thoughts and regain his perspective.
“Unite, yes that’s what we should do. Sometimes I feel as though the whole thing is against me, that there is nobody on my side except you.”
He was drawn back to that place, with just he and Harriet and Lady curled at their feet. The way it was then, before all this, before the ending of things.
She reached across and took his hand in hers.
“It smells sweet, like a warm chocolate liquid. It is death,” she said.
“Jon, where are you going,” Rudy asked. “I’m not finished with this chapter.”
“What do you expect from a centenarian, that my mind is still all there, that I possess the magic of eternal lucidity. What do you know?” Jon left the Sunroom, hunched over, bent, and old as his age. He made his way down the long empty corridor to his room, the newly hung pictures on the wall flashing by him like lives flashing before a dying man’s eyes.
Rudy continued the reading from Jon’s book.
“We will all become dust again,” Jon spoke to the empty hallway. “These people, this place, our planet, our star, this entire universe will become dust again and then turn to nothing.”
“Why not just have hope?” Harriet’s voice said.
“Hope? This universe is not a safe place. It is fraught with turmoil and the violent interaction of all things. This is just inconsequential except for the blink of time in which we exist here and now. One hundred years of a man’s life cannot even be measured, it is so small.”
“Feel hope inside yourself, there is so much more,” Harriet’s voice hummed.
Jon flung the door to his room wide and made his way onto his bed. “I can’t, I don’t want to,” he was crippled into a fetal position like a terrified child. “The Singularity.”
“It is not what you think,” her voice said and then was gone. He was alone.
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