“She loves books,” said the old man, appreciatively. “She’s talking and singing to them.”
Parker turned around and watched her pull a book off the shelf and press it to her heart. “Yes, I guess you’re right,” he said.
“You should appreciate that in a person.”
“I do,” he said.
“No. You don’t. You don’t understand or recognize true love when you see it.”
“What about the papers?”
“Bill took them back. Said she cooked for him and he couldn’t break up such a cute couple.”
Parker’s body relaxed. Then he told the old man what Lexi said about playing with the future.
“She’s right, you know.”
“We are designing and controlling the future with no input from the people who are actually living it.”
“That seems wrong.”
“It is wrong,” said the old man.
“Then why do we do it?”
The old man smiled. “We do it because men in the years before our generation deemed it so. You can’t possibly believe that what we’re doing wasn’t done to us.”
Parker stood frozen to the spot.
“I’M SO EXCITEd,” shouted Lexi, putting a book on the counter. “IT’S A FIRST EDITION OF THE SECRET GARDEN. I collect different copies of that children’s book. It’s so important to me. I’M SO HAPPY,” she said, and ran back to the shelves.
“I like her,” said the old man, his eyes, crinkling with laughter. “She’s excited about life. Enthusiastic. She knows how to be joyful. I like her short spiky hair too. Especially the pink part.”
“I like her too but what about what we’re doing? If it’s wrong we should stop doing it because what you’re both saying, in one way or another, is that both sides are at war and we’re using the people who are alive today as our battle ground.”
“That’s exactly what we’re doing.
“Without intervention, they’ll all die.”
“In all probability, they will,” said the old man, nodding.
“Shouldn’t we stop that from happening?”
“Lexi doesn’t think so and she’s living right now.”
“But she doesn’t…”
“She doesn’t what? Doesn’t know what we do? Doesn’t know the ramifications? Doesn’t know what she wants? Do you think you know more about this lifeline than she does?”
“I just know farther than she does.”
“But what you see is only one possibility. You can’t be sure that if you do nothing, things will turn out the way you expect them to, can you?”
Parker shook his head. “Things were never this difficult before.”
“You never met anyone who opened your eyes before, that’s all.”
“Why didn’t YOU say something?”
Lexie put five more books on the counter and ran away. The old man looked at the titles and nodded. “I really like her,” he said, smiling widely.