The Illusion is Broken

He and his sister didn't speak much to each other as they drove in her car to his childhood home. The blinking red light had brought him this far, and the effort - he hoped - would be enough to set him free again. Free? His girlfriend would laugh at him. He could just hear her voice as she said it.

Living in Nantucket must have been a reeeaaallly hard life, I'm sure!

He could imagine the roll of her eyes, the way she snorted through her nose in disapproval. He hated loving her.

They continued the drive in silence. Then, suddenly, his sister sighed.

"Oh no, she's gone," she said sarcastically. "Good riddance!"

"But I thought you adored Pamela," Trevor said, eyes wide.

"Ugh. That bitch," she said. "Good riddance."

Trevor couldn't believe what he was hearing. Neither could he respond. So he stayed quiet and listened as Sarah began to tell the story.


He knew as soon as his answering machine greeted his entrance with a blinking red glow in the darkness of his studio apartment.

Gut feeling.

Whatever its name, it was now partnered with anticipation---each tugging at either side of his mind---begging for the response of audible verification.

Nothing good came of a message on his house phone. Emergency use only. He had warned everyone. He pressed the button without hesitation's pause. The light stopped flashing and glowed a constant red warning as the message sounded.

"It's me. Your mom...She, ugh. She's left. She's really left me."

He ravaged the torturous beauty of rewind.


Trevor had taken to saying that nature bored him. This wasn’t entirely true—he appreciated Nantucket sunsets and fresh-picked tomatoes and the mountain streams whence came cans of the coldest, purest beer and so forth--but it was a fair summary of a pale, petless man who slept indoors when possible, which was nearly every night.

Still, he was shocked to turn onto his boyhood street and see that the boughs of the trees on opposite sides of the pavement--oaks, say, or elms--overlapped thirty feet in the air, creating a canopy of gaudy-green leaves that led to the driveway from which he could see a small rabbit eating his mom’s neighbors’ garden.