Exchanged – Lynette G. Esposito

It was just before sunset every twenty-four hours to the second. She appeared, whispered one word; then was gone.  I stood on the hill behind the house for fifteen years just before twilight at that exact same time trying to hear the word.

Every time, a bird chirped, a truck rumbled, it thundered, or something. I heard a start of a word like “Ka”. Over and over I heard the same thing. KA Ka Ka …like a crow or hawk or dolphin.

If you take 365 days times 15 years, you have one big number. I figured one day I will hear the full word and know what to do.

The sun made a half smile on the horizon so I figured I would stand on the hill in total silence and concentrate. If I could not decipher the word this time, I would stop.  I would give up trying to get the woman I loved back in my life.  Of course, I’ve had this same argument with myself before.

The time was here again.  I downed one more shot and got up too quick and knocked the whiskey bottle to the floor.   Visions of my beautiful Sophia at sunset flashed before my eyes as I scrambled for the bottle so it wouldn’t spill.  I carefully twisted the cap, set it back on the table and ran to get the woman I loved back into my life.

The sun was sinking.  Shocked, I stood in disbelief.  Fifteen years and now this.

“Ka” I heard from a distance.

I’m here I shouted.  Right here.  I’m coming.  My feet didn’t follow my command and suddenly I am rolling down the hill instead of running up it.  I lay there on the wet grass. She called.  I thought I heard her but I knew it was too late. My shirt was smeared with dirt and I thought I pulled a hamstring. The left leg buckled under me and my knee hit a stone as I went down.  This day was turning out to be one of the worst I ever had.

“Ka. Ka, Ka.”

I trudged up the hill.  Fifteen years, loyal, loving, trying to figure out the word to break the alien’s code all for nothing.

But there she stood.  My wife.  Human, in the flesh.  She hadn’t aged.


Kunzite, I said.  These were our first words after so long.

“I’ve been trying to sneeze for such a long time.  When you weren’t here, it finally happened.  It is so different in a space ship.  I was paralyzed by fear.  They kept watching me waiting for me to do something but I couldn’t.”

I hollered What?

“They kept watching you come back over and over. I kept watching you hoping you could save me.”

Where are they now I asked wanting to embrace this young wife in my older arms.

“Dunno,” she said and skipped down the hill as if nothing had happened.

It struck me.  I was inside the space ship.  “Ka.”

Lynette G. Esposito has been published in Poetry Quarterly, Inwood Indiana, Walt Whitman Project, That Literary Review, North of Oxford, and others. She was married to Attilio Esposito.

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