I walked up the stairs leading to the door, my legs carrying me despite me, I wish to run away, but couldn’t. Mrs. Swing was already quirky as it is and now she happens to be Fate that I was supposed to take control of to make sure that no harm happens to my father. Before I knocked, I turned around.
“Yes? You don’t want to do it anymore?”
“Yes, I mean no. I do want to do it, but I have one question for you”
“What’s your name?”
“You really don’t remember do you?”
“How could I? We have never met.”
He shook his head and said: “My name is Frank. Now go on and do what you came for. I will be here waiting.”
“You are not coming in with me?”
“No, I’m not. This is all you from now on, and let’s just say that I rather not meet her.”
He must be afraid and who in their right mind wouldn’t be? So I knocked three times and waited. She came to the door. Last time I saw her, she was walking past our eyes with a black umbrella over her head, she always had that umbrella with her. Everything she had on was black, but it was the sort of dark clothes that let light bounce off them, they were dark and so imposing. She had dark gloves, a dark dress that went below her knees, dark high heels that she walked in as if she was born in them. She seemed a different age to everyone. People ranged her age from 20’s to 50’s, and to me right now, she seemed in her 30’s. Her pale skin contrasted sharply against her dark allure and softened her air of authority. She had deep blue eyes that one could drown if you were not careful. The shadow of a smile lingered about her face and her hair which was always hidden in a beautiful dark scarf was out and arrived at her waist. I was stunned and didn’t breathe for a few seconds.
The music in her voice finally broke the enchantment I had fallen into. It also seemed strangely familiar. She looked past my shoulder and waved at Frank.
“Hey, Frank? You are not coming in?”
“Hey, Mrs. Swing. Maybe another day, yeah maybe another day.”
“Ok, my door is always open you know”
“I know but thanks no thanks.”
She stepped aside to let me in.
“Come in, child. I have been waiting for you.”
I went in and looked one last time at Frank who seemed to shake his head slowly and sadly. Her door closed with a little squeak while I took in everything I saw in the living room. The room seemed a lot more spacious than you would have thought. On the right was a hallway, then a wall with lots of portraits, and a revolving stairs leading to the rooms upstairs. On my left, was a living room set surrounding a chimney where fire cracked and hissed gently. Large windows let moonlight in as it played shadows on the wooden floor.
“Would you like something to drink? Water? Juice? Tea? Alcohol?”
“Alcohol? No, I’m not old enough to drink.”
“I know and I wanted to make sure you knew that” and then she let out a laughter and it seemed as if the whole room joined in her laughter.
“So what will it be then?”
“Orange juice if you don’t mind.”
“Sure. Go ahead and have a seat. You can leave your backpack in that closet by the door if you would like. You are safe here. I will be right back with your juice.”
I went to sit and kept the backpack with me. This whole thing did have an air of déjà vu, but I could swear that this was my first time in this house.
She returned with two glass of orange juice and sat down across me, her manners slow and refined. We stayed silent for a moment that seemed like eternity.
“I was wondering when you would return you know? I was really started to get worried that you might not show up and that I would have start over again.”
“What do you mean? I don’t understand.”
She waved my concern away and let silence return between us.
“You really don’t remember, do you?”
“Remember what? Why is everybody keeps asking if I do?”
I got worried that I yelled at her, but she didn’t bat one eyelash, she simply kept looking at me, to make sure I was sincere. She got up and asked me to follow her. She opened the door next to the chimney, turned on the light and started going down the stairs. I stood there at the door and I remembered having been here at this moment. My heart was at full gallop and a voice inside my heard were screaming: don’t go! Don’t go! Mrs. Swing turned around and asked if I was coming. This was a mistake. I shouldn’t be here, but I had come this far and there was no way out. If she was Fate, I had no other choice than to follow her until I found the opportunity. So I swallowed hard and rejoined her at the bottom of the stairs. Once again I was mesmerized by what I saw. The basement was really spacious but was occupied by a single object. It was a complex and vast machinery that weaved thousands and thousands of lines vertically and horizontally. It occupied at least 200 feet and it was made of a fine type of brown wood. It smelled ancient and you could hear a gentle hum as the strands went through the wheels. Come to think of it, it was like a chorus of voices that were competing to be heard until they merged into one voice when the strands went by the wheel. At the far end, there seemed to be an old man sitting on a chair, his face covered by white hair as his hands ran through the strands. I knew him. I mean, I felt like I knew him, but I don’t know from where. I looked at Mrs. Swing as if to ask if I could go and she said yes with her eyes. I walked and the distance seemed to have tripled and I was never going to get to where he was.
When I finally got to where he was and saw him hunched over the strands, I remembered everything:
I was the slave of Fate. I was the old man working endlessly at her workshop in exchange for the eternal safety of my father. I made sure that none of the lives that every strand represented would get tangled up. Overtime I would come up with a little mechanism that could do my work while I escaped. Once I left the house, I always ended up returning to that time when my father was about to leave and I was desperate to find a way to ensure his safety. No harm never befell to my father because he remained in that time capsule where he was happy with his entire family except for me. I was never born and he remained happy forever while I toiled in Fate’s workshop.
I approached the old man only to see him disappear in smokes. I put down my backpack and sat where he was. I ran my fingers over the crossed bars that marked all my attempts over the years. I felt her hands over my shoulders massaging my back. I looked up to her and I had to move my white hair out of the way.
“You knew all along that I was going to come back?”
“Yes, darling, I wouldn’t be Fate if I didn’t know and besides you always leave behind your backpack. I don’t know why.”
I looked over the corner and noticed the cobwebs that surrounded the bag I had brought with me. I had found Fate and she has never let me go, but here I was smiling as I thought of my next escape.