‘… believe it or not, I’m walkin’ on air…’
Crap! Who the fuck is texting me at this ungodly fucking hour of the night! I look at my watch and see the glowing arms telling me that’s it’s 2am. Groaning, I roll over, find my phone and slide my thumb across the screen to read the message:
‘Shit sorry dude, can’t make it… cya at the rink tomorrow. K? Marcus.’ The date reads: 21, March, 2030.
It’s 2014… who frig is sending me this shit?
I choose to ignore it, but keep it as a laugh to show my friends. None of us know anyone named Marcus, and it’s a long way until 2030.
Next thing you know, I’m almost asleep, and my phone goes off again! Another voice mail is left:
‘I wanted to tell you I love you today, but you make me so nervous. You’re so pretty. Marcus.’
I’m really beginning to wonder who this is. I didn’t talk to anyone today… in fact I didn’t leave the house or chat online with anyone called Marcus. I save both of these to my SIM card and put my phone into the drawer so I can hear the alarm.
I’ve moved across the globe to another country – San Fransisco in fact – to work as an artist. Life is sweet! I have my own studio apartment in the city, not far from the bay.
The fog rolls in over the bay and I have a perfect view of that famous, gorgeous landmark – which is no longer in use due to that massive quake in 2020 – The Golden Gate Bridge. It’s still red, and it’s still a monument to the great city of San Fran, but the US Government can’t do anything about saving it seeing the Ring of Fire land mass keeps on moving every few years.
My place is quake proof, so I’m good. I’m safe. For now at least.
Well, I’m working with another lot of artists at an art college I started up for low-income workers. You know the type: kids from families who can’t afford to send their kids to the hot shot schools now everything’s too friggin’ expensive. Seeing I went to the right schools, I thought it would be best to teach the kids who need it the most how to get their butts out into the world where we really need it – no matter who they are or where they come from.
There’s only five kids in my group from my area: Lisa, Annie, Marcus and George and Lou. All have their own way of expressing themselves and all are in their late teens and have failed high school because they’re not good at anything else according to the education system… damned pigeon holing! They show up at the studios under my apartment and work on their own exhibitions in a space where they wouldn’t normally be able to… I supply the stuff they need (you know, paint, brushes, mixed media… that kinda crap – I even made up a dark room for Lisa as she loves photography).
Anyway, Marcus and I are around the same age – in our early 20’s – and we’ve been hanging out a lot. He lives in shelters a lot and gets kicked out of them often; so sometimes sleeps in the studio – which he’s not supposed to do, but where can he really go? Besides, I love him, he’s so caring and sweet and gentle, I really wonder where everything went wrong for him to end up where he is now.
“Hey, how’s life, Suzie?” he asked one day as we all froze in the studio and he helped me install a pot belly stove in the corner I had scrounged from a garage sale on the weekend.
“Well, besides not being able to install this shitty thing, good.” I smile.
“You know,” he knelt beside me looking over the instruction, “Where you up to on here?... your accent is just lovely.”
“Step 6. What? You kidding?” I screw up my nose, “You love the Australian accent? It’s nasal, it’s flat… and when we shout we sound like rednecks.”
He laughed dropping the instructions and letting his hair fall over his face, “Oh you’re funny.”
“Nah… if you really want to hear me…” I cleared my throat and spoke good and properly, and sounded as though I had just finished a deportment course, “I would really sound like an English person, wouldn’t you think?” then reverted back to my usual accent, “And I hate it that I’d sound like that.”
This made him laugh even harder as he took the spanner off me, “Here, I know where you went wrong.” His eyes sparkled as he fixed up my stuff up on the instructions, “But it’s not your fault, the instructions were for the wrong pot belly stove… the next model up, not this one.”
“Shit… it figures.” I grunted.
“Say, what are you doing tomorrow night?”
I glanced around the large room and watched the rest of them getting into their work, “Nothing. What do you have in mind?”
He finished up the work on the stove, “Well, I was wondering if you’d like to go skating. There’s a rink nearby that’s still operational.”
“Sure… what time?” I smiled.
“Around seven? I’ll meet you here.”
I waited inside the doors of the studio the next night. It wasn’t until I searched my bag that I realised I had forgotten my phone, so I raced upstairs and found it sitting on the kitchen counter blinking at me.
There was a voice message waiting for me:
‘Shit sorry, can’t make it… cya at the rink tomorrow. K? Marcus.’ 21, March, 2030.
‘Have to find another place to stay.’
‘Come here and hang out with me.’
‘I have something to tell you anyway.’
‘Tell me here.’
I put the phone down and unpack, head off to my bedroom and the toilet and just miss another call from Marcus. He left another voice mail: ‘I wanted to tell you I love you today, but you make me so nervous. You’re so pretty. Marcus.’
I frown, “Hang on… I’ve heard this before. Years ago…”