Author: Josh Jennings Wood

So Johnny settled into the diurnal mechanics of this place: the slip of water down the bathroom drain, a little like the roaring strain of boosters heard from inside the cockpit’s vacuum; the music of birds, in and out of earshot as they rode the waves in a similar manner to his one-time travel. The surprises of this place were wondrous, paired so often as they were with ordinary pleasantness.

A son, now—and two daughters who doted on him with an attention he was unfamiliar with. A son with whom he fought, as he had as one, but with whom he made up—another gracious unfamiliarity.

Once, the boy had gotten hold of his dogeared and de rigueur copy of S&A—the virtual textbook of his class—which usually lay unnoticed in the glass cabinet of the living room like the decorative relic it truly was now. The boy had puzzled over its odd marks—the diagrams that did not conform to the logic he had been raised to believe, the slash of diagonals the adult explained as the dry echoes of a distant shore, to satisfy the child’s mind, though Johnny could still them dance.

He marveled at the thinning strands, sprouted hard as an exoskeleton at first. The reflex expressions that had come under his control—felt in his bones, as they say. Further comfortable with every novel custom, his memories drifted less distinct from his mind, until he was able to wonder—that day when he had turned all but empty-handed to watch the clouds ripple unnaturally, though so distinctly no local eye would have known how to classify the anomaly, and heard the whispers of “foolish” and “failure” on the new wind—was it not he who had won after all.

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