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Nihil Obstat

By Francis X. Kroncke

Copyright 2012 Francis X. Kroncke

Smashwords Edition

Cover design by Mikki Fattoruso, mfdesignstudio.com
PART ONE: FIRST MEETING
CHAPTER 1

When he first saw her, he knew that it was just as when he last first saw her. For there had been so much time between them that time was new. This then a First Meeting.

The First Meeting is a planned accident of a college reunion. Such is the reality of this peculiar collegial annual. As if they come hoping that once back from whence they had shipped-off, so now they would be given a new passage. Indeed, ticketed again to begin again. Sheared and shriven of a past which once had been only future dream. Few gatherings are attended in hopes of planned accidents as are such college reunions. And here they are, from the Class of ’00, Jude and Sharon, accidentally clashing.

“Sharon?”

“Jude.”

He hardly could let himself remember. No, he could remember. What he wouldn’t let himself do was feel. Not let those interred images seep, trickle through then pool. For if so, they would erupt, wash over him. Flow down and score him like a shower of acid. So, he looked. Somewhat. Hardly.

However, after a fleeting few seconds of hardly, from the hurried accumulation of tidbits and glances, blinks and beholdings, everything was taken in. As if all the past was now rolled up into a nice tight winding of one singular photographic tape. All nice and compact and able to be stored and marked for eventual destruction.

An actual flash of five seconds—he was not counting—but so was the period, the measure, and the duration as past pivots and becomes potentially the future, again. Like a balled fist unfurling vulnerable palm. A flash whose confession could fill a small shelf in a cathedral library. For what is the past but a confession? And so the act of recalling the past but an act of confessing?

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