Here or There? (PART 1 of 3)

Ryan Duclos

“Jack, its 7:30 get out of here already, your going to overwork yourself if you keep at it like this.”
“I know, I just have a few more things I need to finish up here then I’m meeting Trisha for dinner over at the new Italian place over on Clark.”
“Oh ya? I’ve heard that place is pretty good, I think I’m gonna join you two, its been awhile since I’ve been on date.” Jack looks up from his desk and gives a smile that indicated no laughter was going to follow.
“Well Jack, I see your busy so I’ll see you tomorrow, take it easy.” The fellow co-worker gradually peels himself away from Jack’s desk and marches out the door. Mr. Fedler is what most people should refer to him as but because of his age and status most people just call him by his first name, Jack. Jack be nimble Jack be quick Jack jump over the candlestick, what a boring name. He got into software development back in high school and was hooked ever since. The motivation paired with the vast amounts of information that could be learned by oneself in the field of software development lead him to the front of the competition. In his mid-teens he had already created multiple user-interface programs where as most of his classmates were busy chasing the neighborhood girls. Soon after graduating with a MS in Computer Science an having an over-qualifying portfolio, he found himself working for Mercury software as the assistant engineer.
Time had slipped by faster then Jack wanted to allow, and if he could’ve created a time stopper he would’ve done it and put time aside for it. But tonight, tonight he had another project on his mind. He was meeting Trisha in a quarter of an hour to propose to her. Trisha and Jack had been dating for over a year now and he could tell that she was getting restless with the relationship wanting to know where they stood in the long-term field.
He left the office building and climbed into his 98’ Honda civic that he still had from his college days – still smelled of pizza and dirty laundry. The sky was growing dark and rain began falling relentlessly upon the little red car. The droppings from the sky were soaking everything and allowed the passing cars to bounce their lights off the objects right into the night sky. 7:45pm, the reservation was for 8pm and fifteen minutes should be more than enough time to make it.
Jack leaned over and opened the glove box to pull out the engagement ring to tuck into his coat pocket. The car almost mimicking the actual movement of him slowly starts to steer off to the right as well. Soon it’s straddling the divider between the road and the shoulder and without stopping or thinking that it shouldn’t be there the car continues to move over towards the ditch. By the time he has the ring in his pocket to realizing the car is half a second from colliding into a light post, he doesn’t think but instead blinks and the ride is over.
Darkness is soon replaced by light, which started to reveal where the cooing he could hear was coming from. The alarm clock read 7:00am, his alarm clock, the one he bought at Target for ten dollars. He remembered seeing it on the shelves, it was the most pitiful clock but something about it made him want it. The clock was the shape of a small wooden house covered in moss and on top sat a little yellow bird that had lost its beak. Every morning he would arise to the cooing of the alarm clock and laugh at the wonderment of how a bird without a beak could still wake him up.
He climbed out of bed and headed to the bathroom, staring at the mirror that showed no signs that he was in any type of car accident. He couldn’t help but wonder how all of yesterday’s activities had all been but a dream, a dream that had felt as real as life. It was all to unreal and to early to make sense of anything. The shower spouted cold water out in the form of the answer that covered his body, last night had been a dream after all, and today is just tomorrow. He called Trisha just to make sure.
“Good morning Jack, your not at work yet. I’m surprised you even went home to sleep.”
“Ha Ha very funny Trish, but forget work for a second I have a question to ask you.”
“Oh? What’s that Jackie?”
“I had a very odd dream last night. I was on my way to that new Italian restaurant on Clarks to meet you and ended up crashing my car. Did we have a date set for last night? Or do you know if I was in an accident yesterday?”
“Hmm, that’s some dream Jack maybe you’ve been working to much, and if it wasn’t a dream I don’t think you would be talking to me now would you?”
“No, I guess not.”
“Well, I have to get back to work Jack, I’ll call you after lunch.”
“Alright, See ya.”
Jack hung up the phone and got ready for work. He arrived an hour early like usual and was soon absorbed into another world, a world created by numbers and letters.
At 4:00 o’clock Jack’s cell phone rang, the sound mixed with the vibration sent a tingling sensation that reminded him that this was life. He still couldn’t get over his dream that seemed to have planted a seed of doubt in him. For sure it was a dream he kept telling himself, but that seed kept growing throughout the day and felt as though it would sprout out of his mouth and reveal that this wasn’t the truth.
Trisha was on the other side of the phone, she wanted to meet for dinner tonight at 8:00 at the new Italian restaurant down the road.
“Hello?, Hello? Jack are you still there?”
“Uh, ya, sorry, why do you want to go there?.”
“Your dream gave me the idea, I thought it would be fun to check out the place.”
“Alright, see you at 8 then.”
Jack hung up the phone and set it on the table in front of him. What an odd girl.
7:30 rolled around fast and any other day he would be typing away at his computer, but tonight work was the last thing on his mind. He stood by the door to his office peering through the small blinds waiting for his co-worker to restart the dream conversation they had. 7:35, 7:40, soon it was 7:45 and no one had come, this reassured him immensely that he could climb into his car knowing he could make it to the restaurant this time.
The restaurant looked like a wine cellar that had popped out of the ground. Trisha had arrived early and reserved a table for the two of them. The lighting was so low you could barely make out the expressions of the people sitting a table away. Jack always judged the quality of the food on how dim the lights were. The dimmer the lights the better the food. He ordered the classic spaghetti and meatballs whereas Trisha tried something new going with the seafood Alfredo with scallions and bits of crab. The conversation thus far between the two was mostly contrived of work and what the rest of the week would be like. Jack kept fumbling around in his coat pocket playing with the ring hoping the opportune moment to ask would soon arrive.
“Is there something wrong Jack? You haven’t said much tonight.”
“Trish, I know you’ve been kept on your toes for a while wondering where our relationship stands, so I thought tonight I would lay it all out on the table.” Jack reached into his pocket and pulled out the ring.
“Trish, will you marry me?”
“Um, uh…of course Jack. You scared me half to death, playing all quiet over there as if something was wrong and then springing this on me.”
“Ah, ha, I’m sorry.”
Jack ordered a bottle of the house wine finally the night could begin. The conversation turned to future planning and reminiscing over the last year and what their thoughts had been up till then. Jack couldn’t help but have a small smile on his face knowing that today turned out much better than what had been dreamt.


C&C welcomed as always.

Here or There? (PART 1 of 3)

Ryan Duclos

Chicago, United States

  • Artist

Artist's Description

A three part story on Jack Fedler a software developer that is in for the ride of his life, don’t blink or you might miss this!

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