An Excerpt From "The Very First Summer of Rebecca Emmons," a novel by Anthony Rosania.
Miss Sommers, catching herself not doing so, for it is never wise to let the students get the upper hand, even though they did from time to time, smiled professorially at her, her first line of defense, and unhurriedly walked back the few steps, passing through the sidewalk traffic, to her student. Impatient, that is what she was, though not a strict teacher and with kindness to her. Still and all, the woman was far more intelligent than most of her students, and sure-as-shit more educated than they, and she made damn sure they knew it, too.
Miss Sommers pinched her summer baked, drifting brain to lend her voice a slightly superior tone and said, "Rebecca". She was proud of herself for remembering this unessential, nondescript girl's name, who somehow looked different now than Miss Sommers remembered her.
She smiled that teacher's smile, and it did seem slightly genuine. As they chatted on a hot Saturday downtown.
Teacher: Being the usual type; child: Of the alien visage, and the fear of seizures, starting any moment. Indeed, the girl was disappointed they had not started yet. She looked forward to them. They would take her into the sky, away, she fully believed.
But, right now, there was woman and girl, pretending to be what they were not, as they asked how each other was. Teacher asked the girl if she was looking forward to next term, as they bandied pleasantries that bored both of them more than a little. Miss Sommers said she had enjoyed the girl (already long in the fade out category), having been one of her students this past term, and told her she, Miss Sommers, would be teaching senior geometry the next, and to, if the girl did not have her next term, drop by his class room every so often and say hello, to which the former girl, former human, said she would.
Then the teacher, in her blue print summery dress, turned, after nodding politely, and went on her way. Rebecca walked in the opposite direction.
Miss Sommers had walked maybe five paces when she turned, almost against her will, and looked back at that girl shadow, who was still looking in the woman's direction. Both of them seemed momentarily startled, each expecting to see the back of the other's head shrink with distance, shielded by the passersby between them. Miss Sommers almost called her name, but something decided for her against it. She felt there was something wrong, a smart chill, a dead flower, with perfect poise and regalness suddenly blooming in a garden of flowers that were not as pretty or as tall or as colorful or as regal, but which were also not dead either.
Which, the teacher idly floated the idea, would be worse?
Curious thing, and then the woman turned 'round and continued walking to her car parked in the town lot, dreading the heat and breathlessness and the pain that would be her lot in her car's interior in this greenhouse. They saw her, the adults, the children, as Rebecca walked through the town, and she was greeted and chatted up from time to time. They appeared to know her. They appeared to. A bit startled, a bit shy, and looking after her.
Defining NOW as a concept, to be all that we can see without taking a step or moving our head. If I can see it in my eye's view without moving, it is NOW. Obviously, this idea of NOW moves forward through linear time with us, but NOW is always "present time". As I turn my head, NOW follows me. Technically, things happening outside my view are also NOW, but I won't know about them until the future, at which point it will be a different version of NOW. Even if an event happens behind me NOW, my interpretation of that event will not occur until a future version of NOW. I'll have to turn my head to see it.
NOW is always "Present time" and we can refer to things that will happen, as a future now.
And Rebecca, no longer at odds with anything in the world, feeling light and empty and free inside, thought this was a nice town to live in and the persons in it were, by and large, good people. Rebecca walked toward Third Street and headed out of the business district and on toward home. She felt as though she was an arboreal bird, which had been so surprisingly rescued.
Not because she was ill, she no longer felt so, or taking the analogy further, that she had a broken wing, but something else, something so sad and unbearable that she didn't know what it could be. Or that she had been carrying that weight for so long.
She had felt slightly in front of rescued, didn't think of it that way at all, because it was important that she think of it that way. She was independent now, she could take care of herself, even if her parents died, there being really no other relatives she could live with. She could do all right, could get a second job, pay the house note, have money for groceries and clothes and the like.
The thing, though, the terribly curious thing was she was not perspiring now, and perhaps hadn't been for a bit. It was a very hot day. The sidewalk heat shimmered and glared and seemed to melt right in front of her. The cars kept their bumper to bumper creeping along in traffic. The sounds were the same sounds she had always heard.
Yet everything was magnified somehow. Like a living, moving museum all around her. The mowed lawns would still smell sickeningly of chlorophyll and wild scallions.
Close, close and sticky air.
Close, close and sticky she.
But it was now all different, all curiously unreal. And she felt a little fear at that unreality. She was becoming less brave. Just a little so.