A slip in time
“What’s your name,” I ask the old man, sitting on the park bench feeding the pigeons. I liked the look of him. Small, with a slight hunched back. White hair and the beginnings of a beard.
“My name, do I have a name?”
“Everything has a name.” My reply did not fuel the conversation. Something about the way he moved his hands, the way the small bag of seed did not empty, the way the trees around us held their breath. The silence and the sharp pain at the back of my head, stirring, waking something in me.
“You are Merlin.”
“Am I?” His blue eyes sparkled with the mischief of a five-year-old child. “Yes, yes, you could be right. My memory is not as it should be these days. I have little to offer you, young man. You are wondering who you are.”
“Not true, I know who I am.”
“Do you know when you are?”
“Yes, I am here, in the park, talking to you.”
“Look around you, do you see what lies before your eyes?”
I did look around me and the trees parted, like an ancient curtain being pulled aside. Wondering if I had named him wrong. Could he be Moses with no sea to part, he split the trees. I see a castle, dark jagged rocks surrounded by vast ocean. I look again at the old man. I could see a tear in his eye, the smell of apples filling the air.
He vanished. The air had taken him. It looked for all the world as if I sat there, talking to myself.
I cried out, “Merlin, where are you?”
Rushing through the trees, calling again, I heard his voice.
“Here I am, look again…”
© anita dawes 2020