Time Traveling

I am a time traveler. My home time is 2014, where I am a 47-year-old single male named Harold. I am about to go back to when I was seven to find out why we suddenly lost the Cadillac, the home on Miami Beach, and Mom’s mink and then moved to a shack in mountains of western North Carolina.

9 responses to “Time Traveling

  1. Preguntas

    Wet morning fog and the chatter and trilling of wildlife fill the valley that lies between Houghton’s Ridge and Potter’s Rise. These are not the most prominent features surrounding my home in western North Carolina, but they have guarded my home grounds for most of my forty-seven years.

    In recent weeks I have been overcome with unsettling flash-memories of another time, long before my mother’s passing. They surge through my mind, leaving my arms tingling as from an adrenaline rush. This morning, as I came-to from a restless night’s sleep, I wrapped myself in the warmth of a quilt decades older than me. I sensed the brush of my mother’s mink coat against my cheek as she carried me away from loud voices filled with anger, in a language I didn’t recognize, for a reason I didn’t understand. I felt fear in my mother as her hand covered my mouth. She called me “Hector” and told me not to cry as she ran with me in her arms.

    As the morning sun broke through the evaporating mist, I sat in my pick-up. As I turned the key and the engine caught, I was five years old again, standing on wide, red leather seats, gripping a large white and chrome steering wheel, looking across a vast white hood of a car with no top. I was making driving sounds with my mouth, turning the wheel left and right as if on a journey of unknown importance, going nowhere. I had visions of waves crashing and blinding white sand, and I tasted warm salty air as I breathed. When the sensations passed, I was only watching Ketcham Creek as it meandered down the valley some fifty yards away and down.

    From my truck I look toward my mountain home, stark in its weathered grayness, its elevated porch and foot-worn steps, its roof topped with shingles I split by hand, and the chimney made from stones carried one at a time from the creek. My mind floods with uncertain visions of a stucco palace in hues of turquoise and pink, iron gates wrought by hand, and the staccato sounds of steel drums which morph into rapid gunshots.

    I turn the wheel of my truck and drive the trail that winds upward to the house of Angelina Famosa. Her reclusive ways go far beyond those of my native Smoky Mountain neighbors. I have been there but once, perhaps in my early teens, and I remember laughing about her gypsy looking clothing and the yellow and brown candles she made by hand, marked with symbols that were not letters, and the bones of birds and small animals strung together with twine made from roots, that hung from the eaves of her porch.

    She overlooked my adolescent rudeness, and as I was leaving, her blue-veined, slender brown hands tipped with crimson nails grasped the front of my shirt. With a strength that surprised my muscular youthful body, she pulled me to her. Her hair smelled of cinnamon; her breath, vanilla and tobacco. She whispered in a voice mixed with caution and fear, “If you ever have questions, niño, I have answers.”

    My truck moves slowly across the brush-encroached trail. Limbs claw the side of my old truck and make a screeching sound that causes me to shiver. I break through the thickening growth and pull the front of her house. Over the clicking of my cooling engine, I catch the faint sounds of steel drums playing.

    Copyright 2014, Jeff Switt

    • Jeff. OH, sweet Angelina Famosa. I remember her well with her hair smelling of cinnamon and her breath of vanilla and tobacco.
      As usual, a vivid story which I enjoyed reading. Take care.

  2. Jeff, as usual, you have conjured up an intriguing and mildly creepy story. I love your writing….never stop.

  3. Thank you dear Peanut. It has already been through a couple hours of edits. Thank you for your encouragement. Check out my blog listed above if you have a chance. ❤ Jeff

  4. How I inherited a violin. July 4th, 2014

    I was about 10 years old when my mother took me along to visit her oldest sister that scorching afternoon in Havana.
    I loved to go there not on account of family ties, but because my aunt made the most delightful chocolate milk shake in the world.
    Once there and after my mother and I exchanged the ritual greeting, kisses hugs with my aunt and her three daughters, my aunt asked me the routine question: would you like a glass of chocolate milk shake?
    What am I was supposed to respond? No dear aunt I don’t feel like having a milk shake right now?
    Of course I wanted a glass of milk shake. That’s the reason why I was there, otherwise I would be at home playing ball with my friends on the street. I thought.
    In any event, she went to the kitchen and a few minutes later she returned to the porch where we were sitting, bringing a tall glass of ice cold milk shake.

    My aunt’s three daughters were two years apart in age from each other. The youngest was three years older than me. They all were taken music lessons.
    Two of them were playing piano and the one in the middle played violin.

    While I was enjoying my milk shake and relishing every sip, I was paying less than little attention to the conversation about music that all those women were carrying on at the same time, as it is the Cuban tradition.
    Suddenly, out of a blue moon, my mother asked me if I liked that.
    “If I like what” I asked all confused.
    “Aren’t you listening? Your cousin Mercy doesn’t like to play the violin anymore and she is willing to give it to you so you could start your music education. She is going to play the flute instead.”

    I drank the last drop of milk shake with the same determination as a cowboy drinks the last shot of whiskey before going to a gun fight.
    How this idea of me playing the violin came about? What is exactly a violin? I wanted to be a baseball player, or a pilot, not a musician. I thought.

    Perhaps feeling my pain, my aunt stood up and took the empty glass from my hand. “Another shake” she asked.
    I looked at her and saw a luminous halo around her head.
    “Yes, please.” I replied with an innocent smile on my face.
    When she gave me the second glass of milk shake, all my worries went out of the window. Nothing else mattered in the world.

    “Well,” my mother said “would you like to take the violin home and learn how to play it.”
    “Yes” was my only reply while I kept on drinking my foamy ice cold beverage of the Gods.

    Last thing I remember of this visit was walking along side my mother who was holding my left hand while I, suffering a severe stomach ache, was holding a case with the violin inside with my right hand.

    (what happened to the violin and my attempt to become a musician should be part of another story)

  5. Lando – I do love ❤ chocolate shakes!

  6. Harold climbs the stairs to his loft, sits at his desk, and turns on his laptop. While he waits for it to boot up, he looks up at the clock. Nine P.M. Good, lots of time, he thinks, and opens the Word document he started yesterday.

    Harold looks up at the clock. Eleven thirty. He looks at the Word document and sees that nothing has changed.

    Has he been sitting here for two and a half hours doing nothing? That doesn’t seem right. If fact, now that he thinks about it, nothing seems right. Everything is a bubble off. A taco short of a fiesta. Doesn’t have both oars in the water.

    Harold struggles to recall what he’d done that day. He’d gone kayaking with Bob, his neighbor. That’s right, kayaking. Oh, and the river current pushed the kayak up against a sweeper and he’d turned over. Yeah, yeah, and Bob had caught up with his kayak and they’d dumped the water out after they’d pulled it on shore, and went on with their trip down Snow River. That’s right!

    Or, was that yesterday?

    Harold goes downstairs and out to the car port. There’s the kayak still in the back of his truck. He turns back to the house. Was the kayak really there? He goes back around the corner of the house and looks. Yep, kayak is in the back of the truck. He goes in the house and starts to climb the stairs to the lodge. He pauses halfway. Did he imagine the kayak?

    He returns to the car port. Yes, there it is, still in the back of the truck. Harold reminds himself to remember it this time.

    Back at the computer, Harold stares at the unimproved Word document. What did I do for two and a half hours, he wonders, and realizes he’s finding it difficult to think.

    I lost two and a half hours, Harold thinks. I had stroke. A mini-stroke. What are those called? Oh, yeah, a TIA, Trans Isc…something Attack. Well, I seem to be okay now, so no big deal. If I’m going to die, I might as well die in bed.

    Harold lies in bed, thinking about losing two and a half hours. Blacking out. And what else he might have lost.

  7. Well every now and then I seem to be having flashbacks to an earlier time. I see a small girl sitting on her mother’s knee being told a secret. I can see how pretty Momma is. She feels so soft in her furry coat.
    But then I see a man with a worried look on his face. He keeps looking out the window as is waiting for someone or something. The image is gone now.

    What can it mean? I will rest now maybe it will come back again.
    As I walk in the woods near my home I come to the remains of the first house we built here, a long time ago. I was very little but I remember father building it deep in the woods. He seemed to be afraid of anyone and anything that came near us. At that time, but over time he calmed down and stopped looking behind him.

    As I walk around the ruins of the cabin I see a stone has been moved by an animal building a home in the cellar walls. There are papers around the rocks. I look closer seeing my mother’s writing on them. It is a diary I never knew was there. The animal must have pulled it out of the rocks. Taking it home to read maybe this will answer my questions.

    As I sat in the rocker with a cup of coffee I began to read. It told of another life in a faraway place. I always wondered why my family left that place.
    As I read I was overcome with pride. It was a tale of a young family that went in hiding changing their whole lives. Their name was changed and they had to leave everything behind. That is what happens when you go into the witness protection program. My father was a witness in a drug trail against a very large group in another town.

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