Xe sits on a bench, waiting. Xe’s always waiting. For the event to take place. For the future to begin.
“Gust of wind in the woman’s hair,” Xe says quietly. “Sneeze from the child in red.”
Across the street, a woman is standing in front of a Chinese buffet. Her hair is golden blonde, long, and it flickers in the wind as she walks. A truck passes, and a gust blows in the wrong direction. She’s blinded for a moment by a sudden mop of hair, and she pauses to regain her equilibrium.
On the corner, two children are waiting for their light to turn green. The little boy wears a red t-shirt with robots and laserbeams emblazoned on the chest.
The sneeze is a surprise. He huffs twice and CHOO! He wipes his nose with the collar of his shirt.
Xe’s head shakes.
An alley runs between the buffet and the one dollar movie theater next door. Overflowing dumpsters, puddles of muck, and twenty-nine seconds remaining.
Xe doesn’t need a watch to get the timing just right.
“Buick rounds the corner.”
“Old lady at the ticket booth with the sweet voice.”
“One for Jason Borne, please,” the old lady asks.
And there he is, scraggly-bearded, unwashed, still angry and now startled. Christian Redon lying on his back.
He grabs at his face. Xe still isn’t sure what he’s looking for, but his expression changes suddenly and completely when his fingertips encounter his own flesh.
He stands up- more like jumps – and readies himself for the unknown.
But he’s just a man in an alley. No one even notices something has changed.