Creative Column: The Day of Ray

Beth shares a work that takes us to a new space...

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Photo by Ruth Walbank

I gazed wistfully at the evening sun. As a child the world seems exciting and magical, anything’s possible. Now as I sat surrounded by textbooks, I couldn’t help the sense of blandness- was this all there was? Surely the world was missing something, something incredible and impossible. How brilliant it would be if, like a story, the bizarre and wonderful could happen.

It was then I heard knocking at the window. ‘The window?…’. I looked up and standing outside amongst the pink fuchsias, was the boy who changed my life. He had piercing grey eyes and shoulder length white-blonde hair. He was wearing a white t-shirt, dark blue jeans and a black leather jacket draped around him perfectly, topped by a grey beanie hat which he pulled off masterfully. He radiated confidence. He waved and knocked again pointedly. In the back of my mind, a voice reminded me I shouldn’t open the window to strangers. I hesitated, he gestured to himself and then my revision, as if to say, ‘me- or that?’. Smiling, I undid the latch.

“Hi”, he said brightly, his voice young and unthreatening.

“Uh hi”, I said questioningly, “Why’re you knocking on my window?”.

He shrugged, “Why not?”. I liked him.
“Ray, nice to meet you- June”. My heart leapt,

“How d’you know my name?”. Ray cocked his head.

“It’s on your workbooks- obviously”.

“Oh”, I muttered.

“I’m assuming you’re wondering what I want,” he said. I folded my arms, “So there is a reason you’re here?” I quipped, mimicking his breezy tone but curious for his response. I had just assumed he was passing and knocked on a whim, perhaps to chat me up. He smirked.

“Funny”, he said, “Good”. I had the unnerving feeling of being assessed. “Easiest to show you”, he said. He raised his wrist, revealing strapped to it, a kind of circuit-board with all manner of wires and switches attached. He pressed a button, flicked a dial and promptly disappeared. As in he literally vanished, gone, kaput, right before my eyes, leaving only a fizzing static sound, and a brown singed patch of grass.
There was a bang, and I screamed- well, squeaked- and stumbled backwards as he stood before me again, grinning,

“Have I impressed you yet?”,

“Well”, I breathed, “you’ve got my attention…”.

“Questions?”, I laughed sarcastically,

“What the HELL was that?!”. He grinned wider, revealing attractive dimples,

“If I told you I’d have to kill you”, I rolled my eyes,

“Oh no! You can’t rock up, be all ooh, mysterious guy, bloody disappear right in front of my eyes, REAPPEAR and pretend it’s some big joke!”. He chuckled,

“D’you want the truth or a clever lie?” He said light-heartedly, though the question was serious. I had a choice, forget the impossible, forget him, live my life and wonder forever… or hear him out. I was suddenly aware this was a turning point. Whatever I did would have repercussions for the rest of my days.

“Tell me…”.
“What do you think?”, he asked, curious.

“I… don’t know. I’d say invisibility? But I feel like you weren’t there, you went somewhere”. He nodded.

“What if I told you I went to Canada?”,

“Shut up…”

“I’m serious”. I stared at him dumbfounded.

“So it’s… it’s a teleporter?! You have a teleporter…”, I stated,

“Yes ma’am I do”. I burst out laughing,

“Don’t believe me?”, He asked. I couldn’t resist, I shook my head. He held out his arm,

“Trust me”. I took a fleeting glance at my revision, already from another world. I looked at Ray’s infectious grin. I took his arm. I fell into space.