Slippage

Author : Hannah Lackoff

“Do you feel as if time is passing by more quickly?” he said, “As though you’re missing bits and pieces, chunks and change?”

She hadn’t wanted to say anything, thought she was just getting older, that maybe her mind was going, maybe she had a brain tumor like that composer-what was his name?- He woke up one day and he just couldn’t remember all those concertos, all those arias and scales and runs he used to play. Everything that once poured out of his brain and down his fingers now locked up inside him somewhere, the piano a mysterious beast that shuddered in the corner, mocking him.

He sipped his iced tea and waited for her to respond. She didn’t remember him getting up to get a glass. She knew she hadn’t fetched it, but there was another on her side of the table between them, condensation sliding down the sides like snowmelt.

“Maybe I’m just getting old,” he said, and let it linger there between them, between the iced tea appearance.

“No,” she said. The sun slipped down a few centimeters, suddenly. She picked up the tea and sipped it. It was watery.

“Too much ice,” she told him. “What were you saying?”

“There,” he pointed, his finger shadowy and swift, “That dog. It wasn’t there before. Was it?”

She studied the dog with him, medium sized and blondly nondescript, nuzzling its’ nose through the tall grass at the end of the driveway. She couldn’t remember seeing it walk up, and then, all of a sudden, it was gone.

“There,” she said it too, “He’s gone.”

They sat in silence for a moment, or maybe longer.

“Did Hemmy come by today?”

She thought for a while, but couldn’t remember. He couldn’t either. At least they were in it together.

“It’s night,” she said, surprised, when had that happened? “Didn’t we come out here for lunch?”

He gestured to their table, and at first she didn’t know what he meant, but then she saw the tea glasses, long emptied. A fly floated in the last half inch of the one closer to her, dead and bloated.

“We’re slipping,” he said, “This is the end.”

A star flew across the inky sky in front of them, faster than a thought. In a moment, it would be morning.

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