Oct 192011
Authors: Justin Goodfellow

Editor’s note: This is the eighth installment of the fiction story “Inside the Hollow Sun,” which will run in Verve throughout the rest of the semester.

I remember the rest of the trip as a blur. Somewhere between the cemetery and the Boise airport, we left Ketchum. We boarded a plane home and left without seeing anything else in Idaho.

I kept Dr. Evan Wendell’s card in my pocket. Something about him had struck me, and our
encounter occupied my thoughts as we flew on the plane. The card didn’t say much. It had his name and an email address to reach him at. It didn’t indicate the kind of doctor he was.

Officer Burling dropped us off at my apartment after we got back to the city. He kissed Elizabeth’s hand good-bye and gave me a gruff “Good luck, son” before he left to his normal life. Elizabeth plopped down on the couch, and I grabbed a bottle of wine from the kitchen.

“All right, what’s going on?” Elizabeth asked.

I popped the cork out and took a long swig from the merlot. “What?” I replied after polishing off a quarter of the bottle.

“One minute, we’re standing around watching you cry in the cemetery. Next thing you know, you’re having a conversation with some random guy who disappears when we come to check on you.”

“So then you’re completely silent for the rest of the trip. What’s going on, Harrison?” I drank from the bottle again and watched Elizabeth. She kept her face turned in my direction so that I could see her dull gray eyes clearly.

Finally I sighed. “His name was Dr. Wendell. He gave me his card.”

“And?” Elizabeth insisted.

“And that’s it. Then he left.”

“He didn’t say anything?”

“Nope. Just told me to send him a message.”
“Are you going to?”

“I don’t know yet.” Elizabeth stopped asking questions, and I went back to the wine.
“Harrison, I’m tired. Take me home before you get drunk.”

“Sure,” I said before taking one more chug.

I walked Elizabeth home. She didn’t speak to me, and she slammed her door once she knew she was home. I couldn’t get her to understand I wasn’t lying. People were all over the streets, walking into shops and eating at restaurants. They all seemed to avoid me as I walked back home.

I caught a look of my face in the reflection of a shop mirror: overgrown stubble, unkempt brown hair, and saggy eyes. I couldn’t remember my face having as many wrinkles the last time I’d studied it.

I moved on and felt the bandage on my left wrist loosen. Instead of tightening it, I pulled it off and examined the rows of scars and scabs. They itched, but I resisted the urge to touch them more. I had a promise to keep with Dr. Clermont. Computers were perched in a coffee shop I was passing, and I decided to go inside. I took out Dr. Evan Wendell’s card and started typing him an email:

My name is Harrison Knapp-Hem. We met at the grave. What did you really want to talk about?

Fiction writer Justin Goodfellow can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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