THE TV IN THE HOUSE
Grant lifted his cappuccino to the level of his chin, his mouth opened, and shut again slowly. His eyes crinkled into a squint and he tilted his head like a curious tabby. The cup drifted down and away, but didn’t reach the table.
“What? Hold on a second. So you’re saying that we’re watching this on TV?” Cindy said.
“No. That is precisely not what I’m saying,” Ares said, as he waved away her words like so many gnats with his free hand. “Let me start again.”
“Our reality. This reality,” Ares said.
“There are others?” Cindy said, with a glance at Grant who had managed to get his cappuccino to his lips only to pull it away again and shrug resignedly.
“Yes, there are others. But for now, we’re only talking about this reality. And this one is like a house,” Ares said.
“How can there be more than one? Things are either real or they’re not. Do you mean, like, heaven and hell or are you talking fairy land?” Cindy said.
“Real and not real are relative to one’s perspective and I am talking about all three, and a few others I think.” Ares said.
Cindy glanced between the two men at her kitchen table and then down at the pocket knife in front of her. Grant set his cup on the kitchen table between them and motioned with his hand that she should slow down, let Ares explain.
“This reality is like a house. Our house. This is where we live and what we know.” Ares glanced out the window and encompassed the street, the neighborhood, the world, probably the whole universe in a sweeping gesture. “They are in the house. They are sitting in the living room watching their big screens and oblivious to what is going on outside.”
“They’re all in the living room,” Cindy said, “They being everyone in the world. They’re all watching the same TV?”
“Precisely. They are in the living room. Grant is there, at the back door looking out into the open garage. He sees more of what is going on outside than they do, because they’re not even looking. They’re watching their own lives meet their own expectations. They are seeing exactly what they want to see,” Ares said.
“Sounds like reality TV,” Cindy said. “That always sucks me in.” Grant smiled and tipped his glass to her appreciatively.
Ares rolled his eyes at his friend, but continued on as though the comment hadn’t been made. He pointed his finger at Grant but directed his words at Cindy.
“Grant is at the back door. Grant is unusual. Grant sees more than most do of the outside world. Or in our case, Grant has a glimpse of realities outside our own.”
“Does Grant see dead people?” Cindy said. “Are you a ghost whisperer like him?”
“He does not and I am not. But he has experiences that provide him with a certain, shall we say, a lack of skepticism.”
Cindy looked to Grant, but he was hiding behind his coffee cup. Ares drew her attention back as he continued.
“As do you. Now that you have discovered this knife.”
“But you, you’re outside this house?” Cindy said.
“Oh, heavens no,” Ares waved aside her presumption. “I am in the garage. Still in the house, but looking out from the garage door at what is outside the house. But even from the garage I can only see some of the yard, a bit of the street, the houses across the way. And it is my nature to not assume that from the garage I can see the extent of this universe.”
“So, you’re in the garage. Grant is at the back door. And everyone else is watching TV. Where am I?” Cindy asked.
Ares pointed back to the knife in front of her. The knife that should not be there. The knife that had disappeared twenty-three years ago. That had reappeared in her cellar two nights past.
“I’d guess, Cindy, that you are sitting on the edge of the couch in the living room and you just saw something flutter outside the window. The thing we’re here discussing is not that knife, but whether you’re going to get up and see what that fluttering was,” Ares said, and took a long sip from his coffee his eyes never leaving her face.