The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were on the TV, there were episodes of Kids in the Hall to watch after school, and you played games on your friend's computer and drank Crystal Pepsi. I bet that takes you back. Do you remember that? Do you remember the way it felt in the 1990s?
When the air was bursting with exuberance? Everything was dirt bikes and skate boards. Bright colors and big hair. Pop made with sugar. That weekday warmth that pooled in the evening and turned the quiet days golden. When it was quiet your head didn't fill the silence with thoughts about dying.
Do you recall the specific location of the Donatello on the shelf in your bedroom? The poster next to the finger-smeared light switch. The way the model planes you put together with your father collected dust. Your first kiss, looking up at those planes, so dark and pushed back on the shelf they were becoming shadows. Her name was Angela Murphy. The plane you remember most clearly was an SR-71 Blackbird.
Angela Murphy has no more information for us.
Do you remember hiking in the falling hills? The whistle of the stones as they peeled the sky. The box that your mother gave you. Do you remember the faint glow through the keyhole? She told you to hide it and never open it.
Do you remember the combination to your locker at school? You had to get it just right between the 7 and 8 on the last digit. What were those other two digits? Were they derived from some formula? Do they contain a hidden meaning?
Do you remember the call, late in the night? Your mother screamed and then became quiet. She begged for it not to be true. But when something happens it happens for real and there is no way to change that. Of course not. The capsule was supposed to be safe. Why did they let him into the capsule? There were no answers for her. No time for your questions. Those model planes on the shelf, still collecting dust, darker and deeper and further back. Almost as if they never existed.
Your mother gave you the box on your sixteenth birthday. Why did she give it to you? Did she give any hints about what was inside it? Why did it glow blue at the hinges and the keyhole? Why, when you pressed your ear to it, could you hear a faint thumping as if you were listening to the beating of a distant heart?
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