Red Boat

From the shore
a solitary boat
lingers defiantly.

Out there, you will be
painting the horizon
with your thoughts.

Here, with me, you’ll
spin poems and tales
showing me what you
want and love to see.

From the shore
a solitary boat
lingers no more.

Your red boat was lost
to the sea, your stories
were taken from me,
and your love lost at sea.

Short Story: Love on Escrow

As Matthew walks through the automated doors, a musical voice says, “Welcome, Matthew. We understand your appointment involves the storage of love. Please be seated in the red area.”

Unsure how to react, a smile and a slight nod are all he can muster.

The room has three areas. Green is for intelligence accumulation, blue is for family memory storage, and red is for the storage of love. Each coloured area has a certain number of seats with touchscreens and headsets, depending on what services the client requires.

Matthew takes in the room, notices the green and blue areas are quiet today and makes his way to the red section. A cyborg arranges unusual metal shapes in a line, looks up, scans him, and says, “Hello, Matthew. Please go to seat number 4.”

Uneasy, Matthew looks slightly to the right side and asks, “What do I do?”

Without moving, the cyborg says, “Sit down, put the headset on, select the number of years of love you wish to hold on escrow, and the headset will do all the work for you. You may feel a little lightheaded afterwards; however, most symptoms pass in a few hours.”

Unease intensifies, and an odd gut feeling threatens to take him from this place. However, there is no time to waste.

Disorientated, he finds himself sitting down. Those who wear headsets do not move. It is as if they are between life and death. The uneasy feeling has gone, and there is no longer a gut reaction. Doubt creeps in, then fades.

The neon red screen presents Matthew with several options. He can hold between one and fifteen years of love. He chooses ten years, places the headset on, and presses start.

Thoughts from when he was much younger come to him. He is no longer afraid, for he feels love. Then his first love and their first kiss play behind his eyes like a movie. The memories of love keep moving through his mind. Suddenly the memories stop moving, the word ‘finished’ appears in red on the screen, and he removes the headset.

Matthew has not felt this hollow in some time. It is as though he is missing a part, yet nothing replaced what is missing. Perhaps it is just as his boss explained when he said Matthew should do this to further his career. After all, love has no place in finance.