by Damien Krsteski
“One more and you’re done,” the bartender informs me. I nod, then take a large sip from the bottle.
Due to the nature of their work, bartenders tend to know certain things about people. Fortunately, the multiversal collapse that would lead me to her is a concept he’d never grasp. See, I have a secret to tell. I’ve lived and seen plenty, as much as all the people who have ever walked on this Earth put together. Probably even more so. I noticed it first in my early childhood. What a strange thing for a kid, to be able to leap back and forth. Sideways too. Well, if you think about it, every leap is a leap sideways. To be quite candid, it’s sort of difficult to explain even now. My family considered me sick, asocial. Never tried to disprove them, really. I ran away at the tender age of thirteen and never went back.
So here I am, me and the bearded bartender, half-bent from the alcohol, waiting. Just as I am about to pay my tab and leave, she enters.
Of course, I recognize her. I’ve seen her an infinite-fold times before. Elegant as always, immaculately dressed. That’s her, right there in the doorway. She enters with a bald, toothy guy. He’s talking his head off but she seems bored as hell, and I pick up the cue to intervene. I get up, try not to stagger, and walk over to her.
“Mind if I buy you a drink?” I ask, totally unsure of myself, knees shaking.
“Sure,” She’s beaming. Beautiful black hair waving, breaking right above her shoulders.
She ditches the asshole and sits by my side at the bar. Bartender Mike serves us both beers. We drink in silence, smiling at each other.
Thing is, I know what happens next. She doesn’t.
“I have a confession to make,” I say.
She widens her eyes, anticipating. There must have been a billion guys who’ve told her the same thing before. You’re the most perfect creature I’ve ever seen, she thinks I’ll say. I’ve never seen such beautiful eyes before. She’s almost sure of what I’m about to say. I ponder all possiblities and decide to tell her the truth this time.
“Listen Lisa,” For a brief moment she wonders how I know her name, then decides to go with the flow. “Believe it or not, I’ve practiced this for ages. We have met before, I’ve done this many times before.” She’s almost ready to get up and go back to Mr. Baldy. “Both of us live in a different instance of our universe, everyone does, but the funny thing is, ours overlap at this exact moment. At this instant, where we meet. I have yet to understand why, but what I know for sure is we belong together. Take my hand, and let go. Trust me, and our probability equations will collapse together into one.”
As I speak I become aware of how fast the words rush out of my mouth. She eyes me suspiciously, like I’m the homeless weirdo from the street corner.
“I think you’ve had too much to drink,” she says, gets up, pats me sympathetically on the shoulder and goes over to wrap her arms around the asshole on the next table.
“But you don’t understand,” I holler out as reality starts dissolving, “we’ve spent a lifetime together already.”
Everything becomes dark.
“And it was perfect,” I whisper into empty space.
Out of nowhere, pieces of the nothigness emerge and rearrange themselves into a bar scene. Bartender Mike tells me something, but the words reach me garbled, void of meaning. I’m sitting at the bar, finishing my last beer. Just as I am about to pay my tab and leave, she enters.
I take a deep breath and brace myself for what is to come, my heart trembling with the hope that this might be the time our realities finally converge. I muster courage and walk over to talk her into it.
BIO: Damien Krsteski is a science-fiction writer from Skopje, Macedonia. His work has appeared in numerous publications, links to which can be found on his blog: http://monochromewish.blogspot.com.