Shelby looked at her left hand with astonishment as the three tattooed rings on her hand began changing, transforming in the most fantastic way. Her tattoo artist had told her a similar story, but she had buried the memory, keeping it safe from her present life. She could not pull her eyes away as the exquisite writing came to life within each ring, similar to the ultraviolet tattoo work she had once debated having done a few years back. The script, although extremely detailed and beautiful, was completely foreign to the young lady who’s hand it had magically appeared on. If not for the voice, suddenly whispering to Shelby, the tattoo examination would have lasted much longer than a few moments.
“Shelby go home.”
The voice was soft and reassuring, giving Shelby a feeling of security and belonging, something she hadn’t experienced since her mother had passed away.
Once more, feeling the words seconds before she heard the voice that spoke them, Shelby knew what was coming, and she did not want to leave this beautiful place behind.
“Shelby go home.”
She knew this pleasant voice very well, the voice belonged to her.
Grimacing with pain, Shelby gasped as she slammed back into her body, the impact hard enough to crack the window in the door, just inches above her head.
Completely dazed, and unable to do anything except breath for several minutes, Shelby rested on the kitchen floor, listening to the chattering of birds just outside. Five minutes, ten minutes, nothing but the sound of crows, and the uncharacteristic wining of Gabriel’s dogs on the patio. Both animals were crying and carrying on like never before.
As her mental gyroscope leveled out, Shelby began surveying both herself and the situation. She didn’t feel injured, just sticky from being twenty-four hours overdue for a steamy hot shower.
Shelby turned, placed both hands on the door to steady herself, and then slowly stood up, all the while, doing a great job of not dry heaving from the adrenaline. A sharp, piercing pain in her stomach almost sent her crumbling back to the floor.
A sudden thought turned to words. “I’m starving.”
As she turned back around to face the dining area, Shelby found herself starring at the kitchen clock. Until this moment, she had forgotten that her kitchen had a clock. At some point the batteries had died, leaving the hands stopped at 4:01. She remembered buying the sunflower clock at a small market years ago, during a road trip to Juarez Mexico. The friend she had been traveling with had suggested that they stop at a small market just outside of Santa Fe to do some souvenir hunting. Shelby had found a small shop with a variety of sunflower decor, including the wall clock hanging over her kitchen cabinets, although now hidden under a layer of grease and grime. Shelby stared at the clock for a few moments, thinking about her friend, where his path might have taken him, and if he had moved away. Shelby closed her eyes as her mind filled with heartache. Now, more than ever, she felt an overwhelming sense of guilt and shame for how she had treated the man, a man unlike any other man she had ever known. They were so much alike, why did she leave?
Knowing the power and importance of words, Shelby spoke to herself very softly, “I’m so sorry…someday I’ll tell you I promise.”
Suddenly, she remembered the last thing he had said to her, minutes before she walked away from him, every word and syllable came back to her.
“Shelby, I’ll be here when you’re ready, when you’re ready to come home.”