I don’t know what I have here, if anything and would seriously love your views, good, bad or indifferent. (Hopefully, not the last one, but all views are valid.)
What’s in a Name?
Tim’s heart tells him to ignore it, but his brain says pay attention. He’s no longer sure what he’s looking at, on the far side of the room. The hint of gold, he thought, had come from the opposite side of the kitchen’s pass-through window. The ledge that juts into the minuscule dining area groans with dishes that someone in the galley kitchen slowly clears away. It must have been an odd reflection off one of the beer bottles. Yet, he feels drawn toward it.
He stays seated on the couch, Tries to give the woman beside him his full attention. Brunette hair in a bob, swept under around the edges, frames her face. Her brown eyes twinkle above a mouth always on the verge of smile. Bobbi introduced her when he arrived, but he can’t remember her name. He’s sure he met her for the first time tonight.
Still, they talk like old friends, former dance partners. They sat and talked the last couple of hours. The party is winding down and Tim is winding down with it. He continues to catch brief glimpses of the nearly-empty ledge from the corner of his eye. He tries to remember the woman’s name. He jumps, when she puts her hand on his knee.
“Are you all right?”
He turns to her and she smiles. It lights up her face.
“Just wool gathering, I guess.”
“I need to go, Ted” she tells him, standing. “Billi asked me to tell you, the bed in the guest room is made, if you don’t think you can make it home in one piece.”
He smiles up at her. She didn’t get his name right, so her memory is no better than his. He starts to stand but doesn’t make it on the first try. She holds out her hand.
“I’d offer to give you a lift,” she said, “but I didn’t drive.”
He takes her hand and she helps pull him to his feet. He’s dizzy, feels unsteady. He doesn’t say anything, sure it will pass.
“How are you getting home?”
She laughs. “I’m walking. I live in the building next door.”
He looks down and then up again, wearing a sheepish smile.
“You told me that before, didn’t you?”
“Yes. Don’t worry about it.”
“I’ll walk you to your door,” he offers. “You never know what you’ll find…” He takes a step, sways a little, her strength keeping him upright.
“I appreciate the offer. There’s one thing you don’t find much anymore. Good manners. So thank you, but I think you’ll be better off sitting back down.”
He protests, even as he sinks down onto the upholstery again. “Not much of a gentleman now.”
Like I said before, “Don’t worry about it. I enjoyed talking to you. Maybe I’ll see you again.”
With that, she’s gone. Tim hears a faint chiming sound and it comes to him. Her name is Belle. He shakes his head. Tries to remember if she’s just left or he’s spaced out, again. Not really asleep, but not tracking either. The room is quiet, empty, with the remains of plates and cups from coffee and cake. Empty drink glasses litter the tables, amidst, beer bottles and he spies a yellow scarf draped over the back of an armchair. He feels better and decides the least he can do is help clean up. He lifts a couple of glasses between his fingers and a cup and saucer from an end table.
As he heads toward the kitchen, he hears the chiming sound, growing louder. Then, he sees it. Again. A soft golden glow. He’d think it’s dawn, but knows the kitchen has no window. He sets the glasses down on the pass-through window’s ledge. Distracted, he juggles the cup and saucer, nearly dropping the thin, china cup before depositing them beside the glasses. The soft, golden glow and the bell tone emanate from the far end of the ledge. He steps closer. He’s startled to see an antique, golden pocket watch. The case is incised with vines and flowers, a stylized initial. He can’t decide what letter it represents.
He reaches out slowly, almost afraid to touch it. He picks it up and the chiming stops. He stares at it, turns it over, but finds no additional clues. Finally, he pushes down on the finial and the case springs open. A picture of Belle fills the left cavity. The right contains a digital display, styled to match the watch. It contains three lines of text.
Name Recognition Failure
Peace is Purpose, Nonviolence is Strength, Diversity is Unity, Empathy is Empowerment
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