[This post is from Thomas Merlin Ambrose’s point of view.]
In truth, the universe never had.
There was a lot that my parents had never talked about, other things that they’d committed to writing without speaking of them—but then there were things that they did talk about. Sometimes it was only in hints and whispers, and those hints and whispers were the things that I clung to now.
They knew that someday, some things would come to pass—things like what I was living through right now.
I straightened from my lean against the counter, drifting slowly toward the shelves where I kept my books—where my parents’ journals sat tucked among them with little rhyme or reason to it. It didn’t matter. I knew exactly where they were almost by instinct, always somehow able to put my hands on the volume I needed when I needed it.
I wasn’t sure if that was part of the gifts I’d inherited from them or just a bit of reoccurring luck.
I ran a fingertip along the spines of those books, finally plucking one from the shelves and slowly retreating back to the stove. The kettle wasn’t quite hot enough yet, only starting to steam slightly—not a hint of a hiss yet. My fingers brushed against the cover of the journal, its surface and its edges, something crafted before I was born and salvaged from the shattered remnants of the World Before. There was something comforting about having it in my hands even before I opened it to a random page.
My eyes began to water a little at the sight of my father’s handwriting—his had not been the one I was expecting, and this surprise, at least, was a welcome one.
Maybe it would hold answers and comfort I desperately needed.
The kettle began to sing and I set the book down so I could take it off the flame. I poured the steaming water into my mother’s teapot, slowly brushed a hand over my father’s journal, and exhaled a sigh.
Even though they weren’t here, they were still with me.