Getting To The Church On Time

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I first met Steve at York University when we were students, nearly thirty years ago. I was studying history with a keen interest in the Plantagenets, he was reading physics specialising in Minkowski Space-time and a subject in its infancy at York, quantum biology. When I asked Steve, ‘what is quantum biology?’ He would answer by using phrases like, ‘exciting electrons in a chromophore’ and ‘quantum tunnelling.’ I couldn’t understand any of this. He would wink at me and say, ‘Alison, it’s something I have a vested interest in.’
We did all the usual things, parties, music festivals, going down the pub. I knew we were made for each other when Steve came with me on an archaeological dig at Tantallon Castle near Berwick, it was Artic cold, the rain blew horizontally into our ruddy faces. A sign of true love.
Steve was never late for anything, not even by a few minutes but had this annoying habit of arriving just in time. Even when I was doing some research into James lV of Scotland at Edinburgh Castle. At the time, he was researching into some new particle in physics and we agreed to meet up on a Friday afternoon at 2pm at Arthur’s Seat for a picnic. He would bring the wine. There was a lightening rail strike and I was convinced he wouldn’t make it. He did and with four bottles of Merlot but still wearing his lab coat. I asked him, ‘you haven’t come all this way dressed like that?’ He looked slightly sheepish and all he could offer in way of an explanation was, ‘oh, I forgot to take it off.’
I dropped subtle hints about getting married, I felt at times I was hitting him over the head with a sledge hammer and without warning one morning whilst I was eating a strawberry yoghurt Steve said, ‘will you marry me?’
I was stunned into silence as the yoghurt slid down my front. He said, ‘there are only two possibilities: yes or no.’
‘Yes,’ I said.
‘But there’s something you must know first.’ I stopped spooning the yoghurt off my blouse and wondered what could be coming next. A mass murderer? Likes dressing up in women’s clothing? ‘Okay,’ I said.
‘It’s a secret you mustn’t tell anyone.’
‘Okay.’
I could tell Steve was a little nervous as he brushed his fingers through his hair, he eventually said, ‘I can teleport.’
‘Pardon?’
‘I can teleport. Instantly from one place to another, well almost instantly.’
‘Yeah right.’
‘I can, think about it. Remember when we went to see Queen at Wembley and you fancied an Indian but none were open.’
‘You got me one from around the corner.’
‘I got it from Delhi.’
‘Pull the other one. You were only gone ten minutes, you ran off left me standing there.’
But I can teleport in an instant. Look, I’m not sure how it works but it’s a combination of genetics and wormholes.’
‘Genetics?’
‘My dad can do it and his brothers and sisters and his grandmother before that.’
Steve went on to explain about localised wormholes attracted to a certain part of the brain it was all wibbly wobbly science to me and it went straight over my head.
I suppose it has other advantages, saving on train fares that sort of thing but when you have an argument and Steve storms out of the house he just doesn’t go to the pub down the road to have a moan with his mates, he nips over to Australia or Peru.
The children think it’s fun of course because all three can teleport and there wasn’t much point sending them to their bedrooms for various misdemeanours but having a father who shared their genetic ability seemed to curtail their misuse of the power – or I like to think so because it would make bank robbery much easier or at least the getaway.
Holidays were cheaper, no airfares to pay for Steve and the kids, although it meant flights without them, and at times I took car journeys alone but wasn’t pestered with, ‘are we nearly there yet?’
So here I am in St Cuthbert’s church at our eldest daughter’s wedding. By my watch 11:20, Janine, is already over half an hour late. The groom’s mother, Diane is getting anxious, fidgeting with her new hat. I get a text from Steve, Diane sees me read it. She comes over, ‘any news?’
‘They’ll be here any minute.’
‘Are you sure? I mean I know a bride’s always late for their wedding but I’m getting worried.’
‘Nerves that’s all it is.’
What do you mean Alison? Nerves?
‘They’re in the Ship having a drink. They’ll be two minutes. They’ve just left.’
‘The Ship’s ten miles away how can they be here in that time?’
‘They’ll be two minutes.’
‘Don’t be stupid Alison.’ Diane makes her way to her side of the church. She gives a false reassuring smile to her husband, her son Stuart and the best man. Diane sits down, she is such a bag of nervous energy she applies Vaseline to her lips instead of lipstick.
The organist plays the first chords of the wedding March. I had no doubt Steve and Janine would travel the ten miles in less than two minutes. In fact, I am surprised it took them that long. I smile at Diane, it’s a questioning smile. Does Stuart know about Janine’s teleporting ability? If he doesn’t, it’s going to be fun finding out.

About the Author: 
Burnley based Michael Rumney has written short stories and poetry for the writing Magazine Pennine Ink. He is also a Playwright with rehearsed readings performed at the King's Arms in Salford. His play Bricks was selected as part of The Page to Stage festival in Liverpool in April 2016