This was a very different sort of thing I tried on a whim late into the morning one night. I wanted to see if I could show the passage of time through conversation alone. I also wanted to have the characters speed entirely for themselves with no description of who was talking. Each brief conversation takes place on a different year that Sparks visited the Cunninghams, and the numbers show the ages of each speaker. With careful reading you should be able to confirm the identity of each speaker year to year. It was a fun experiment and I think it largely worked, even if it might be a bit harder for people to follow along.

20 | 15, 56 

“Welcome to Cunningham Glass Blowers. I am Travis Cunningham. Is there anything with which I could help you with?” 

“Mkali Moto Kipande Njia’yawzai… is my name. But you may call me Sparks Clearpath,”

19 | 16, 57 

“Welcome to Cunningham… oh, it’s you!” 

“Hello, Travis. Is your father around? We broke a pane and I need to talk to him about replacing it.”

18 | 17, 58 

“Miss Clearpath! Over here! It’s nice to see you once again!” 

“And you, Travis! I will make sure to stop on by your shop later to greet you and your father properly!”

17 | 59, 18 

“Good morning, Travis. It is a pleasure to meet you once again. And you have continued to grow! It seems you are taller every season and every year!” 

“And each year you remain the same. Still… beautiful.”

16 | 60, 41 

“Travis? … Travis? Mr. Cunningham? Are one of you here somewhere?” 

“Travis! We have customers! Damn that boy… I’m sorry, Miss Clearpath, my son seems to have forgotten his duties in favor of chasing after that Melinda…”

15 | 61, 20 

“Greetings once again, Travis. Or should I say Mr. Cunningham now. You look so much like a young version of your father now.” 

“No, I couldn’t have you call me that, Miss Clearpath. It would be like we did not know each other.” 

“Well, seeing that we do, I would think you should know me as ‘Sparks’ by now. 

“Indeed. It is nice to see you again, Sparks.”

14 | 21, 62 

“Back again so soon, Sparks?” 

“Yes, a boar damaged… oh my! What happened to your eye?!”
“This? A man was cat calling to Melinda and would not stop. 

“Oh? Oh! I should hope he looks even worse?” 

“No… not really. But Melinda kissed it afterward and it doesn’t really even hurt anymore!”

13 | 63, 44 

“Good afternoon, Mr. Cunningham. Is Travis off today?” 

“Ha. You could say that, Miss Clearpath. My son and his wife have gone to Dutos and will not be back for a week.” 

“Wife? Melinda?! That is terrific news! You will have to relay my regards to him and her when they return!”

12 | 20, 64, 1 

“Good morning, welcome to Cunningham Glass Blowers. Is there anything at all I can assist you with?” 

“Good morning. Are you by chance Melinda? 

“I am, and you must be the Miss Clearpath Travis has spoken so highly of.”

“Sparks, if you please. And who might this be?” 

“This is Tamantha. We call her Tam. Can you wave hi Tam?” 


11 | 2, 65, 24 

“Welcm to glass blows!” 

“Oh, good afternoon, Tam. My, look how big you have gotten. 

“Hasn’t she? It is nice to see you again, Sparks.” 

“And you, Travis. I can hardly believe it, how big your daughter has grown!” 

“Neither can I. And we have another coming!”

10 | 3, 25, 66 

“Daddy! Daddy!” 

“Oh… hello Sparks…” ‘

“Travis? What has happened? What is wrong?” 

“Melinda… and the baby… neither of them made it…” 

“Oh… Ohhhh Travis, I am so sorry… I hardly know what to say.”

9 | 4, 67 


“Why hello, Tam! Where is your father? 

“He… he’s helping grandpa with the glass. (I can’t go back there by the fire…) 

“You can if you are with me. Here, take my hand.”

8 | 68 

Thank you for stopping by Cunningham Glass Blowers. I regret to inform you that due to my father’s illness our shop is currently closed. We hope to reopen soon but do not yet have a date in mind. — Travis Cunningham

7 | 6, 69, 28 

“Good morning! Welcome to Cunninghams Glass Blowers. I am Tam Cunningham. Is there anything with which I could help you?” 

“Hello, Tam. You know, your father used to say the exact same thing when I first met him!” 

“She does it better than I ever did. She puts all of her effort into it. It is good to see you, Sparks.” 

“I’m sure you did just as well when you were a child, Travis.” 

“No, I really didn’t. I was far too interested in playing outdoors while Tam, here, is very much the young shop owner.”

6 | 7, 70, 29 

“Hello Sparks… Grandpa is… gone now, but… We are still open!” 

“I’m very sorry to hear that, Tam. Are you all right?” 

“Yes. I get sad sometimes though.” 

“Sparks? Sparks, it is so good to see you…” 

“And you, Travis. Tam told me about your father. Is there anything I can do?” 

“We are ok, just a little sad. If you have time later, would you visit him with me?” 

“Of course, Travis. Of course I will.”

5 | 71, 8, 30 

“Hello, Tam! Hello, Travis!”


“It’s good to see you again. You missed a season.” 

“I know. We were all so busy and I could not get free. I am still busy, but I could not come and not say hello.”

4 | 72, 31, 9 

“Hello, Travis. How have you been?” 

“Quite well. And yourself?” 

“Well, as well.” 

“Do you have it?” 

“I do. I think she will enjoy it.” 

“Oh, it’s beautiful. And I love the painting you did! Tam! Tam, come here! Sparks is here and she made something just for you!”

3 | 32 

It has been almost a year now since I have seen my good friend, the Elf Sparks Clearpath. Twice or three times she has been delayed or skipped a season entirely, but never has she not come for an entire year. I worry about her now as does Tam on occasion.

2 | 33 

Checking back to the year before, as I do, I am again saddened to note I still have not seen Sparks. In many ways, her continued absence is more troubling than Melinda’s or my fathers. Friends, family, and acquaintances come and go, live and die. But Sparks, more than any Elf I have known, seemed timeless. Perhaps because I so seldom saw her and yet she always remained so unchanged. Now, I have not seen her for two years and my heart aches almost the same way when I think of others I have lost.

1 | 34 

Somehow conversation turned to Sparks Clearpath today. One of the men from the 458 claimed to have seen her recently. Another claimed to have news that she had been arrested, tried, and hung for murder or theft in Dutos. I told the second one off quite angrily, Sparks would never do such a thing, and the first soon backed away from his story. It has been three years since I last saw my Elven friend. Even Tam rarely mentions her now.

0 | 13, 76, 35 

“Hello, welcome to… Sparks? Sparks!!! 

“Hello… Tam…” 

“Father! Father! It’s Sparks! Father! Sparks is here!” 

“Sparks?! … Sparks, it’s so good to see you again. You look… Sparks? What happened to you? Where have you been and what has happened to you?” 

“Travis. I… I need your help.”