The Year That Was

Time was collecting around him, washing up in small eddies and vortices.

He had been wearing a neck sock over his eyes to keep the sun out and it had done it’s work. His eyes were still tired and sticky with that frosted glaze that so often visited him. It took time to focus. He listened to the sounds of movement in the house, his wife’s morning routine, his daughters’ naciente rumblings at another Monday morning. He couldn’t even hear the cat with its soft purr entering the day. For the briefest of moments, he was some time else.

1996. He was in 1996. His eyes were cemented shut, but he knew the year; he had been there before.

Time-travelling had become a post-sleep pastime. It wasn’t that he was encouraging it, it was just that it happened. And it was happening more and more frequently. He also realised that he wasn’t in charge of it. In fact he had this growing awareness that time was toying with him. Still, 1996, what could go wrong?

He was a refugee from Britain. He had endured nearly two decades of Margaret Thatcher and her Tory bully-boys. Spain had presented itself as a safe place. Franco had been dead for some time and he had read Hemingway and Laurie Lee. It was reassuringly lost in time, trapped by decades of isolation in which the right deprived everything of its natural freedom. In truth, Spain had spent centuries without the liberty that other nations felt they enjoyed.

He had a choice: he could open his eyes to the present of he could let the past take him. He still had a few minutes before his wife and the light of day insisted on his waking. His eyes remained closed.

Keen observers would point out that eyes never close, they haven’t the capacity. Eyes remain open whilst having their lids pulled over them. They are always open yet are not always looking outward. He thought about caged birds and blankets, and how easily they can be fooled into sleep.

He preened himself and flew. The air was full of time.

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