To Feel, A Modern Tale (01.17.11)

The weekend may have come and gone, but the story continues…3 days, 3 new paragraphs. Back to Chapter 2…

CHAPTER ONE <Click here for all of CHAPTER ONE.>


Chloe couldn’t remember the last time she had heard her name said in quite that way. Ecker? She muttered under her breath inquisitively. What is HE doing here, she wondered to herself as she gazed around the table looking for the face to match the voice. And then she saw him.

He had let his hair grow. Ashen hair, face as coarse and tan as ever and sunken eyes that swallowed you up and spit you out during an argument, and just as easily pulled you back in during reconciliation. What was once stubble and whiskers had blossomed into a full-grown beard. He looked just as she remembered him but maybe a little more weary and certainly calmer than their last meeting. She remembered that grimace on his face as she clutched on. Then as she lost his grip and he pulled away, she recalled how angry she had felt as he left her behind. Maybe he had come back for her? And if he had, how on Earth was she going to explain this… to anybody, least of all her family?

The two made eye contact but she signaled to him with a stern look that any communication between them should be somewhere out of public view. Ecker stopped calling out to her and instead turned his attention to the crowds that surrounded him. “So what do you want to know?” he said to the older man sitting beside him and gazing at this mysterious visitor wistfully.

“What did you see out there?” the old man said with a fire in his eyes as he spoke. “Did you meet any furreigners?” Ecker looked at the old man with a tired half-smile, almost with pity at his poor pronunciation then back at Chloe, as if the two shared an inside joke for which only they knew the punchline. He’d better watch it, Chloe thought. People are going to start getting suspicious.

Why did she have to walk into that tavern today, she scolded herself. She looked for the closest route to the exit but others had walked in behind her, and the path was no longer a clear one. Sure, life had been dull and humdrum in this village, but she’d gotten used to it since Ecker had left her there all those years ago. She had become part of this community, dry and desperate as it was. This had become home now. She planned to leave when she turned 18, and this was merely a few months away. Ecker was going to ruin everything.

He had promised to come back for her, but what she heard and what she believed were not the same. She never thought she would see him again and what if she didn’t want to go now? Could she stay, she wondered.

She weaved through the crowds and reached the door, looking back just long enough to make eye contact again with him. He couldn’t mask the disappointment which shrouded his face behind the new beard, behind the longer hair, behind the smile that he shared with the crowds that beamed back at him. She turned back to the door and quickly stepped outside, pushed her back up against the tavern wall and started sobbing.

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