Monday, October 12, 2009 (Anita is 41, Jack is 43 and 46)
ANITA: Sometimes it feels as though I am married to a man of the sea. He leaves me often, falls out of my world and across time itself. Like a submarine, he travels through unknown places where I cannot go. And there is no way of knowing when and where he will emerge next.
You see, he suffers from Swine Time Flu, a rare and exotic malady that pulls him this way and that across his own timeline, leaving me alone and wistful as a young woman married to a traveling seaman. I miss my Jack when he goes. For one thing, he would have made a hilarious “seamen” joke right there.
Oh he’s not gone right now. Well, not in the technical sense anyway. He’s in the other room, zoning out in front of Monday Night Football. Oh, he doesn’t watch it every Monday night. Only if it’s one of his favorite teams playing. Or one of the rival teams to his favorite teams. Or a team that ever plays one of his favorite teams. Or…
“Anita!” comes a gravelly voice, and you can almost hear the pizza crumbs being spit out of his mouth. “Can you grab me a cold one? My leg’s fallen asleep.”
I sigh pensively. I can understand his appetite little more than I can his chronic time-traveling. What makes a man eat himself into a virtual stupor, to drink alcohol as if it were life-giving water? It is a mystery to me how…
“Anita!” he interrupts my contemplative soul-searching. “Could you bring me some more of that Chex Mix with the beer? You’re wonderfu…owww, my leg! Ow, ow, ow!”
I move toward the kitchen and am surprised by a stranger standing there, turned away so that he does not see me enter. He has a broad back, and his shirt is soaked with sweat. He’s dressed in workout clothes, and his legs are rippled with muscle. My first instinct is to yell for Jack to come from the other room, yet I pause. There is something so familiar about this fit visitor.
“Hey, Anita,” says the stranger. “When am I?”
I rush to him and hold him tight. “Oh Jack, you look terrific. Look at you!”
Future Jack glanced at the newspaper on the table. “Wow, I bet Present-Day Me is a big, fat slob, huh?”
Mmmm” I say, moving closer to him. “You smell good.”
“Yeah, I wasn’t working out at all during this period,” says Future Jack. “I bet you forgot what my sweat smells like.”
“Ummmmm, not exactly,” I tell him. “Present-Day Jack breaks a sweat riding on an escalator. It’s pretty gross actually.”
“Speaking of working up a sweat,” smiled Future Jack. “Why don’t we take this conversation to the bedroom?”
“We’ll need protection,” I tell him, and swinging open the refrigerator door and reaching inside. “A six-pack ought to buy us 45 minutes or so.”
“Grab a twelve-pack,” winked Future Jack.
“Aniiiiiiiiita!” came the hoarse voice from the TV room. “Beer me!”
“By the way, Anita,” said Future Jack, taking my hand and leading me away. “What’s long and smooth and filled with seamen?”
“A submarine,” I laugh. “A submarine.”