Buber’s Basque Story: Part 25

“Wow,” whispered Kepa as he reached his hand out, his finger extended, moving to touch one of the zatiak.

“Hold on!” exclaimed Maite as she grabbed Kepa’s hand and pulled him away. “We’ll be right back, don’t go anywhere,” she said to Marina as she pulled Kepa down the path to talk in private.

“What are you doing?” she asked, exasperated. “You don’t believe her, do you?”

Kepa shrugged. “Didn’t you see what de Lancre did with the cave? And how Marina pulled us through the stone? Something is going on here that I can’t explain, and I don’t think you can either.”

Buber’s Basque Story is a weekly serial. While it is a work of fiction, it has elements from both my own experiences and stories I’ve heard from various people. The characters, while in some cases inspired by real people, aren’t directly modeled on anyone in particular. I expect there will be inconsistencies and factual errors. I don’t know where it is going, and I’ll probably forget where it’s been. Why am I doing this? To give me an excuse and a deadline for some creative writing and because I thought people might enjoy it. Gozatu!

Maite sighed as she sat down on a rock. “No,” she said, sounding defeated. “I can’t explain any of it.” Kepa knelt in front of her, taking her hands in his. “But, still,” she continued, “helping her? What about our plans? What about Berkeley?”

“Berkeley will still be there,” replied Kepa. “If this is really time travel, then we will always be back in time for whatever we need to do here. We won’t miss anything.”

“I supposed, theoretically,” said Maite. “But, still, why would we do this? Why us?”

“Look,” said Kepa as he looked into Maite’s eyes. “All my life, I’ve felt like I was drifting, like I was some sort of shadow that was there, but never really made any impression. No one ever notices me, no one ever remembers I was there.”

“I notice you,” interrupted Maite in a whisper.

Kepa’s eyes welled up with tears. “Bai, you notice me,” he said. “But the world doesn’t. The world doesn’t know I exist. What difference have I made in the world? The world would be the same if I hadn’t been born. I want to make a difference.”

“You make a difference to me,” replied Maite, returning Kepa’s gaze. 

“I know,” said Kepa. “And I’m so glad that I do. But, I want the world to care that I exist, I want to stop drifting through life, being a shadow. I want to matter.”

Maite reached up and wiped away a tear from Kepa’s cheek. “I know what you mean,” she said. “One of the reasons I am going into science is to make an impact, to make a difference. It’s not the only one, of course, I really do want to just understand how things work, but I understand the need to feel relevant.”

“And,” added Kepa, “think about it! If anything Marina said is true, there is so much to learn, about how this magic stuff works, how the time travel thing works. What better opportunity to learn fantastic new things about how the universe works?”

Maite smiled. “You were saving that, weren’t you? You knew I wouldn’t be able to resist that temptation.”

Kepa smiled back at her. “I’m not nearly so clever,” he said with a wink.

Maite pulled him closer into an embrace. “You are so much more clever than you give yourself credit for,” she whispered into his ear. After what felt like an eternity, they broke their embrace. Maite stood up and reached out her hand to Kepa. “Are you ready to do this?” she asked.

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