The second.

With life there is time and without time there is no life. Time can exist without the life, but the life is dependent on time. It goes on forward, pushing life over and over again to restart. To repeat the cycle, to fix something that might have gone wrong. One day maybe time will stop, and life will as well if then the cycle could have been perfected. If then.

Yumi washes the greens in the sink as I sit on the counter watching her. The ring seems to fit her finger perfectly, but mine feels as if it doesn’t belong. I spin it around as she shakes the rest of the water out. I hop down and kiss her on her bandage. She winces and drops the produce into the sink. “What?” I ask, in sort of taken-a-back tone. “Nothing…” she says. “Does it still hurt?” I ask. She picks up the greens and begins to wash them off again. “No, no it doesn’t, it’s just…” She sighs and shakes the greens again. “It’s just there’s a scar now.” I slide against the counter next to her. “Well let me see it then, I’m sure it’s nothing.” I say, noticing quite rapidly how pitiless my tone sounds. She sets the strainer on the counter behind me. With her ring finger and thumb, she peels back the bandage to reveal a tiny scar below her eye, not unbecoming, more intriguing. I act like I’m horrified by the sight. Quickly I notice my error as she shields her face with her hands. “I told you it’s bad!” I could hear the tears in her voice. “It isn’t, I’m sorry, I was joking. Come here.” I pull her close to me and remove her hands away from her face. She looks at me, eye gearing to explode, when I slowly kiss her on the tiny scar, then her forehead, then her neck, then the rest of her.

I really need to exercise more if I dream to keep up with her. Out of breath, I look at a bottle cap that slid under the fridge probably eons ago. “I need to take a shower.” Yumi says already walking her way to the bathroom. I pick myself up and put the strainer into the fridge. I stand there for a little while thinking of nothing and everything simultaneously as the cool air washes over me. I hear the shower come on and it puts the gears into motion. “I need to run some errands!” I yell to the bathroom door, she doesn’t respond so I take my leave anyways.

The car runs as well as it should as I pass the stuccoed houses. This city isn’t modern but it is. Like a sentence never finished it’s stuck between; what it was and what it could have been. I might miss Albuquerque, but I will not miss spelling it out loud every time. I guess, and I’m not a very good at guessing, that I sort of auto-piloted my way to her house. I park the car and let it idle as I stare at her door. I want to feel happy about the promises kept, but it is difficult knowing how they changed my own path. As if ripples on a clean surface, looking back it’s hard to remember when something wasn’t on the cusp of a fuck-up, or just fucked up. I am glazed in thought when her hand slaps against my door. “I told you this would be a see you later!” She says. Scared I push on the gas but the engine just revs going nowhere. She laughs at my attempt to flee as the blood rushes to my cheeks. “I’ll go put my bike away and why don’t you come inside for some coffee?” I watch as she rides into her yard as my hand sticks to the door handle.

I stand in the doorway unsure of my intentions. I wanted to run, but running is what I have been doing. So I stand there. She motions me inside and I inch forward with each hand gesture. Twenty something years and they never changed the layout. “My Mom is gone, so no worries there, come in and sit down.” She says. As I walk I still clear every corner with my eyes. She yells from the kitchen at me as I sit at the tiny breakfast table “So did you find that other earring?” I don’t say a word until she brings me a cup of coffee. “Thanks.” I say with my voice close to cracking.

We sit across from each other, I have the truth, her with the trust. I become nervous so I tap on the coffee cup with my ring. “Well, that’s new.” She says. I stop and look at my hand, I wore it on the right, well, left hand. ” You sure do move fast, finally ready to slow down?” She asks as I set my hand back onto the table, my tongue fills twisted so she speaks again. “Guess it would be weird for me to meet her then?” I try to track the right words like a deer in the forest, but they slip past me and I say the wrong thing. “You have…” I quiet the rest of my words with the coffee. “Oh, that pretty little thing back in your house?” I nod my head. “Well, congratulations.” She says in a sort of broken voice. I take her hand, not knowing the movement until it happened, the person in the back of my head comes forth and speaks. “That earring, it’s, it’s not your normal set of jewelry. I mean, uh, I, it’s a time traveling machine like my lighter.” She looks to something to right then back at me. “It isn’t a toy, you know it isn’t, maybe better than me. Time is fickle, for every one event you will fix, a thousand more problems will blossom.” She slips from my grasp and hides her hands under the table. “So I guess I should get my ear pierced, in case of an emergency.” She says with a nervous tone. I start to say something but the words are cut with laughter.

Standing outside her house we hug, then hug again. “So this is the last one huh?” She asks. I bite my lip then nod. “The last.” I say. We hug one more time before I let go she whispers into my ear. “Don’t you forget me.” I let her slip from me. I walk back to my car as I stab myself with the keys in my pocket, I wasn’t going to look back, not now.

The drive home is unremarkable. As I put the car in park I realize of all the places to miss I wouldn’t miss this one. I walk inside, Yumi is dressed in her period clothes we bought at a thrift store. “Quick get ready!” She shouts. I am startled by her haste, but I slip into the pants that fit but don’t. “Are you ready Yumi?” I ask her. She gives me a stern look then speaks. “It’s Cynthia, and yes I am.” She picks up her bag and opens her hand for mine. I give one last look at the house. I want to spit on it, not sure why, but I do. Taking the device I place it between mine and Yu.. Cynthia’s hand. Soon enough the world I know disappears.