Time To Be

The elusive thief of missed opportunities.

I’ve gone through life thinking the next decision I make would be the last major decision of my life. It took a few years and continuous choices to make me realise things weren’t as they seemed. A few minutes sipping a gin and tonic takes a man back, back into his mind to remember before the loving embrace of the liquor made him forget. Thoughts flooded through neural pathways, carved into the ridges of my mind through years of wear and tear, months of recovery and repair. Love was the strongest force, the glacier that seemed to plough past my defences, routines, habits, and conventions, reshaping me every time I fell. Falling was an apt way to describe the infusion of love into one’s life, because it truly did give the same feeling. Weightless, timeless, continuous, uncontrollable, and truly exhilarating.

The cruel dealer of gambling hands.

As the bartender asks me if I want to top up my glass, I wave him no. A train of thought I hadn’t boarded before was now leaving the station, and it would be such a terrible waste to let it crash into banks of earth without riding it past all stops. Unbidden came my escapades in love, striving to make the last one the last one, if you know what I mean, a reminder I didn’t know I needed. How time once seemed timeless from a birth of a love to it’s demise, always surprised me when it came to a close. Sometimes the amount of commitment stuffed into a year or four, six months or two, seemed to make time seem timeless, untrue to its true nature. Sometimes the distance travelled in being a new person seemed to multiply when you’ve reached your stop, which I guess happens to me every time.

The peerless teacher of harsh lessons.

The girls sitting across the bar might have recognised me tonight, or maybe my easy smile seems to give them a sense of familiarity. One thing I’ve learnt, amongst the many tutorials and trials I have gone through, is that a smile could mean so much. Earnest, honest, a simple smile has the ability to build bridges, fix broken walls, and give support to those who’s ground has been swept from beneath their feet. The way the people I’ve loved once smiled at me stay etched in beautiful hickory on the walls of my memories. Those smiles still get me through my days despite the frowns that they have been replaced by. There was once a time, that happened thrice already, when my days seemed dull and empty, lacking a smile to comfort me. When the darkness seemed to crawl through the cracks on the wall behind which I tried to bury my pain, I had no defence except to shut my eyes tightly as the blistering cold flames washed over. One morning, I smile to myself in the mirror. Earnest, honest, a simple smile that had the ability to start putting my pieces back together.

The diligent archivist of unfulfilled dreams.

When the music changed, I felt a lump rising in my throat. It was her favourite song, a mix of samba and pop, one she used to jump at every chance to dance to. It’s true, some good memories don’t fade as fast as the bad. Every single time I had taken a step into the reality of being one with someone else, I had dreams, I had aspirations. They lay now on the shelves of a million broken, eroding pieces of antiquity, observed whenever I would swing that rusty door open to my past. Now as I walked down the many aisles with a little bit of my favourite intoxicant flowing through me, I couldn’t help but smile. The broken pieces of good memories seemed to fly back into shape as my eyes alighted on them, yet I knew they took fresh shapes now. Nothing looked like it did in its time, all of them becoming objects of awe that I knew my subconscious would worship if I let it. That’s what happens with memories, that’s what they were; figments of our mind, our past, with faces showing what we wanted them to show. I knew there would be hundreds upon thousands more aisles to be filled, and I knew all too well that the older ones would fade. They were all destined to fade.

The loyal keeper of eternal promises.

I tipped the bartender before my feet took me down the stairs and onto the narrow street. Full of life with a mixture of different music laying heavily upon everything like a thick blanket, the street was not as busy as it usually was. Time to go home, I thought to myself. Did I want to repeat this? No, not really. Maybe tomorrow night I’d stay at home and read a book. If I kept doing the same thing every night, was I not keeping myself in a loop? Keeping myself eternally in a circle. Timeless, it would seem. The prospect of the next morning brought to me a promise of life being different again. Maybe to smile once more in the mirror, to dance a new step, and maybe push myself an extra yard in whatever I put my mind to. That was a promise to myself, to never stay stuck in that suicidal limbo of depressive repetition. The only thing that allowed me to do this was time.

The mindful architect of changing destinies.

Time was a human construct, I always said. Never before did it occur to me that the passing of time was purely personal, how time could stop, stretch, rush and seem endless just by shifting perspectives. I remember now, as my cab brought me closer to home, how some days seemed endless. Some days I would be wallowing in self-doubt, anxiety and lethargy, while on others I’m on a phone call that makes me fly through five hours like it was a minute. They say time heals all wounds, and this makes people just sit tight and wait for time to do its job. What we had failed to realise is that we are the embodiment of time, we are the clockmakers and the ticking hands. We are the digits that keep changing, the deadlines and the weekends. Healing came to those that kept their own time, those who rolled the wheel forward when inertia pushed back twice as hard. When the car pulled into my driveway, my train of thought was coming to its final stop.

Time.

The ever-present opportunity. The enduring possibility. The great healer.

My phone lit up with her name, the latest in my attempts at finding solace in a romantic plane. Now here was someone I could find myself in a reality of being one with, and that was only possible by moving forward. I could have chosen to pause and to loop, to try and bargain with the timeless, or I could choose to push my own wheel forward. The patterns weaved into my past were just that; patterns, gone, unreal, to be shaped once again at my whim if I put my mind to it. Chance, fate and all those fancy names were given to the entity we cannot explain, which in fact is really the future, the consequences of our actions. As I typed a reply and waited for her to call me, things weren’t as they seemed. New decisions every day led to new facets of our lives, and this gave me peace. Accepting that the world only turned as fast as you let it really put my life into perspective. Even scars fade, I thought, as I looked at my forearm where I once had a nasty jagged line, where now was only clear skin. Even broken hearts mend, I thought as I looked into my mind where I once harboured regret, where now was optimism and hope. Sure, I could’ve been broken seven times, but it was up to me to put myself together every time. When my phone began to ring, I knew there was no need to carry the weight of hurt. It would stop me from being able to carry love and good intentions.

Time.

Yeah, I had a lot of time, and I choose to make it go on.

Counting Minutes

“Is that your favourite thing to do now?”

He smiled, his eyes closed in the dark of his room, listening to her talk. Her voice was musical, a sultry tone that drew colourful images in his mind when she whispered nothings to him. A long while had passed since they’ve been talking, the sun having set hours ago but never banking their fires. She toyed with his words, making him stutter and double-back, only to hear her giggle at his frustration. She was random, changing topics like a curtain dancing in the wind, making him run miles in his mind to keep up. He ran all day, never tiring.

“Do what?” he asked, knowing the answer already. He could almost feel her smile through the phone call, the way he knew she’d be running her fingers through her hair as she answered, “Counting the minutes. Is that your only job now?” He hummed an affirmative, but she pressed on, “But why though, what made me worth all your time?” Her question cut through the thin lacy sheets of subtle flirtation and clear intentions, cutting to the core of it all, but he kept his answer hidden. 

“Would you like to video call?” he ventured, fingers crossed. She said yes, why not? making him catch his breath in his throat. He had seen her on still images, and having been smitten already, he already had high expectations. Propping up onto his elbows, he got his laptop out and placed it on his legs, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes, brushing his hair with his fingers. When he was ready, he pressed the button on the screen.


Later that night, he couldn’t sleep. A chance encounter on a virtual realm, a few conversations over text and call, and now he didn’t know where he was headed. He turned over for the sixth time in ten minutes, his breath short and his minutes long. Images kept flashing in his mind unbidden, accompanied by her laughter every time he said anything even remotely funny. He couldn’t believe what the universe around him had conspired to do, to get him into a dialogue with one of the most beautiful people he’d ever seen. Images of her cheeky smile, the way she’d look right through his soul, how she brushed her hair back, the sharp angles of her face… He couldn’t stop them. 

He didn’t want to either.

Thoughts spiralled in his mind as he checked the clock on his phone every few seconds, calculating the moments left until her name would like up the screen again. She promised she’d call when she woke up in the morning, and as much as he trusted her to keep her word, he couldn’t help but hate the sun for taking its damn time.

Time; the great trickster that twisted his existence into being measured in years rather than in accomplishments. Every year, he knew, things would repeat themselves and find him wanting a break in the routine. Time; the great planner of all things coincidental, weaving together threads of lives miles apart and pulling them together in patterns undecipherable by a sleepless night’s thoughts alone. Every person he met, he knew, would play a substantial part in his life, shaping him to be someone new whenever his 6 am alarm went off. Time; that faithful hound that would fetch bone in mouth but take its own sweet comfort in bringing the promise to him. Every second that passed he knew, he’d spend the rest of his life counting, sometimes in years, sometimes in months, sometimes in days, sometimes in hours, sometimes in—

“Still counting minutes?”

The message lit up his face as he unlocked the phone to reply. “Yeah, why do you ask?” he typed in response, smiling ruefully as insecurities tried to drown out what little joy he found in his day. There was always a chance that all this may amount to nought, a short trip on a cable car as he gazed over the world he craved to be part of. Seconds ticked away as he sleepily put down the phone, trying hard to stay alert for a reply he knew was coming. Seconds threatened to turn into a minute before the tone sounded again.

“Why me?”

As he talked to her about the next day, what he planned to do and what he planned to achieve, she let the distraction pass. They both knew one day soon, a lot of questions would be answered, reshaping the landscape upon they went adventuring. Was it fear, that sensation in his stomach that made it knot and squirm whenever he thought about where this was going? For now, he didn’t care. There was something young, fulfilling and honest about where he found himself, a sort of innocent wonder he had shed years ago reforming again. For now, he smiled.


Until the sun heralded a new day, he continued on, counting minutes.  

Blue Funk - 6

She slid onto his lap smoothly, lowering herself slowly to ease him in.

They were one. There were words that tried in vain to describe such a union in its full glory but they always fell short of the truth. Skin on skin they melded together, only feeling apart when their lungs pushed them away. They danced now, the way the birds waltzed with the wind, tantalisingly close to the ground yet just a hair’s breadth from the sky. Colours exploded in the corners of his mind as she led him deeper into her mystery, her hand gripping the back of his neck with the caress of the wind swaying the trees. She was his goddess now, and he was her salvation.

She.

She wasn’t right, she wasn’t wrong either. Her existence was a question, a realm of realities dividing what she was to the human she loved. Her skin was softer than those of his kind yet the horns on her head lied to the world about an evil rumoured about. She knew that not all men were demons, but all demons were men, and she was neither, her visage and the hue of her body misleading. She breathed him in as they moved, together and against each other, her mind painting vivid pictures as her eyes stayed closed. He filled her within, pulsating and invigorating, insinuating the honesty of how she really felt for him. Her freckles did nothing to hide the blue blood that darkened her cheeks, a soft sigh escaping her parted lips before she could stop it.

He.

He never thought the day would come. When he found her between the mirror and the image beyond, the only thing he felt was a need. Now, feeling engulfed by her spirit, he felt so alive. She bit down on his lip, making him gasp, biting back in turn. The colours in his mind ran from red to blue, to green to yellow, back again, brush strokes making images with every stroke between them. He saw worlds apart, stars dotting the journey as his ecstasy took him to the sun and back again. His hands reached up behind her, tangling his fingers in the drops of Jupiter in her hair, slowly pulling her head back so he could place his lips on her neck.

She.

The air escaped her lungs in such a rush she took in another deep breath just feel it again. There it was again, the pair of lips marking his territory on the skin she wanted him to explore so much. She swam in deep waters, calm, all-encompassing, suffocating. She needed to breathe but at the same time, she didn’t want to stop this feeling. She moved faster now, catching a rhythm that matched their heart beat, only opening her eyes slightly just to see him again. She watched his chiselled face, the short stubble that made her skin tingle whenever they kissed, his eyes shut tight against the ecstasy. She smiled as she ran her claws softly down his back, just enough to sting, watching him bite his lips. 

He.

They were drenched in sweat now, the coolness of the room doing nothing to the heat between them. He whispered sweet nothings into her ears, making her sigh and mumble back. His hands knew her like a fond memory thrice remembered, never the same when he came back again. He talked to her, the way the sun spoke to the oceans, the way the moon would lead the water back and forth in a constant dance. He talked to her, the way songs spoke to the listener, the way colours spoke to the artist. She was not of the same world as he, yet here they were, abstract and irrevocably true, the sheets on his bed wrapped around their legs like they were part of their dance. They were real, and they reached heaven together, her voice pealing out in the silence between them.



When his eyes opened to the harsh sunlight, he was alone. 

Again. 


She never let him see her leave because she could never stand the pain in his eyes. She would be back again that night, he knew. He knew it as certainly as her soft skin was blue to match the horns on her temples. He knew it as certain as the reflection staring back him from the mirror, his mind floating in thoughts and a blue funk. 

The Beast Never Hesitated

He woke up with a start.

He hated the way his mind slowly dismantled him. It’s been months since his fire was slowly dowsed with water, drowned in loneliness and subsequently stepped on, but it always felt like yesterday. He was fighting against himself, every day, every night, the bell rings without warning and he’s dropped into a cage, unarmed and caught off guard against the beast that tore into the flesh of his soul. The beast never hesitated. The beast never wavered.

The beast used to beat him to a bloody pulp and devour him, but he never died though. When the pain became unbearable, he became numb, slowly pulled apart within the belly of the beast, the acids deconstructing his very being. He sometimes felt disembodied, sitting in the empty auditorium watching his personification being defeated by the darkness that plagued him. He tried screaming at the whole spectacle, begging for it to stop, to let him be, but to no avail. The beast never hesitated. The beast never wavered.

A lover would step in sometimes, floating down on soft white wings of care and affection that would shield him from the beast. The wings can only take so much beating, and when the feathers are sparse, the beast would reach in with claws of black steel and dried blood to rip him out. Lovers came and went, some doing more than others, and this morning he remembered the most recent one. She didn’t only shield him but taught him how to fight back, how to stand his ground as the floor became slick with blood and entrails. She tried, but when her wings were pushed apart, she flew away as well. She didn’t wait to see him fight back, and once again, in the moment of distraction, the beast was back in full force. The beast never hesitated. The beast never wavered.

Now he fashioned a sword out of confidence, a shield of self-appreciation and an armour of acceptance, but they were never enough. More times than not, he managed to break out of the cage, leaving the beast clawing at the air trying to reach him, but the fighting never ceased. He could’ve been sitting alone, reading a book and thoroughly content when he’d feel a sharp stab between his ribs as the beast reared it’s ugly head again. He could be dancing to salsa when a certain beat would cause a fissure in his state of mind, dragging him back into the ring again. Any chance it got, the beast was there. The beast never hesitated. The beast never wavered.

The beast was loyal to him, faithfully skinning him alive as soon as he managed to heal himself, scars so numerous the skin of his soul was a map to Rome. Random flashes of memories lit up his mind like lightning on a dark, stormy night, adding emphasis to the fact that he was covered in rain. He shivered, covered in a cold sweat as he rolled onto his right, sighing when he saw the time on his alarm clock. He usually slept on the right side of the bed, and now the empty space made his heart miss a beat, numbness spreading upwards from his feet. The beast never hesitated. The beast never wavered. 

As the days waned and dawn took away the nights, he struggled. He grew stronger, the morning coffee and a run in the sun fed his soul, arming him with thicker armour. He’d stop sometimes when distractions became insufficient and his mind began to pull apart the seams. He floated in a darkness that everyone had but not everyone was aware of. The same darkness where some people drowned and found solace in an end obtained. Thoughts like this made him shake his head just so he could unsettle the cancerous self-destruction that floated in his conscience before they found root again. He already had enough to fight against, and not even sympathy was enough to sway the beast. The beast never hesitated. The beast never wavered.

He woke up with a start.

He hated the way his mind slowly dismantled him. Dreams were not his to control yet fully his to feel. The way some thoughts, insecurities and toxicity poisoned his subconscious enough to make him wake up in a fevered rush was enough to make him hate. His hatred only lasted a short while now, having learnt to curb it on his own. Hatred never got him anywhere, he reminded himself, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes before he drifted off again. Moments later, standing before his dirty bathroom mirror, he saw what exactly the deprivation of slumber had done to him. His face was marked by trails of tears shed, frowns set in stone and an easy smile that needed more honesty to it. He also saw, just behind him, approaching slowly, the demon of his own creation, him a prisoner of his own device. With a deep breath, he hummed a song softly, picturing him stabbing with his steely knives, but he just couldn’t kill the beast. The beast never hesitated. The beast never wavered.


And now, neither would he.  

Blue Funk - 5

She sat across him, brows furrowed in concentration. 

Long hair bounced on her shoulders whenever she would look down at the book she was reading, or look up when someone walked in. She did tell him she wasn't enjoying the textbook at all so he could excuse her easy distractions, yet here he was, only being able to concentrate on his ultimate distraction. He wasn't going to be one to judge now, would he? 

She caught his eye and smiled, "What's wrong?"

“Just wondering how your hair looks perfect after everything that happened this morning.” It made her smile coyly at him, shaking her head. “Now then, you don’t have to get me all hot and bothered like that so early in the day.” He gave her a smug look, knowing full well what was going through her mind, knowing it was the same for him. She was gorgeous, the way her chin was sharp, her face was cut into soft angles that hinted at a feisty demeanour within. A feistiness he came to appreciate over last night.

They were supposed to be working on an assignment together, a mundane responsibility that paled against what they ended up doing after formalities concluded. The night before she spent the early evening at his apartment, along with the rest of the group members. When all was said and done, some stayed back for a few drinks, but he and she both kept ominously sober, the tension between them so palpable he was sure someone mentioned it. He didn’t care then; he knew he was caught in her net, and she was his, hook, line and sinker. 

"It was fun though, I have to admit," she broke the silence. He recovered from his reverie with another wide smile, "I'm glad you had fun too. I haven't done this in a while, not something as casual as this at least.” A sudden, welcome, memory flashed through his mind. 

They were on the couch, her on top of him, his fingers gripping her hair behind her head. She moaned into his mouth as they kissed, his free hand exploring her as if she was a land of wonders and him a map maker. As the memory slowly faded, he noticed she was looking at him intently, a hint of a smile on her lips. He shook his head, chuckling softly as she kept watching him, studying the way his jaw was shaped because of his beard, the wrinkles at the corner of his eyes. She looked at him as if seeing him for the first time.

“What are you smiling about?” she asked, putting away her book, propping her elbows on the table, her chin cupped in her hands. There was a certain glow to her eyes, he noticed, making him catch his breath slightly. “I was just remembering how it all started, I guess. It’s not easy to concentrate on all this boring stuff right now, especially with the knowledge that this isn’t due for another two weeks…” he let the sentence hang in the silence. The silence brought another memory.

They were against the wall now, her shirt on the floor on top of his own, her skirt being the only thing between her and his exploring hands. Not for long though, as he lost all his senses when she bit his neck, that rush of blood to the heart making him shiver slightly. He swam back to reality, staring at his hands in disbelief as she continued to watch him, there, at that café, where they were alone in a crowded room. He took in a deep breath as she spoke.

“You are right, you know. We do have a lot of time to spare, and I really don’t think I can do so much work anymore, at least for now.” She was never up front when it came to this, he found out, so he took it as the closest she’s come to saying it out loud. He began packing up, called for the bill, stood up, brushed the bread crumbs off his lap. She was already by the door when he was done paying, and the both of them, with their breath short and hearts beating fast, made their way to a stairwell. 

She was on his face before the emergency door closed and they both knew they had mere minutes before someone chanced by them. He never knew how much he craved her until she breathed into him, a new-found passion overtaking all sanity and restraint. She was equally ravenous for him, losing themselves into each other’s skin as they became one from two. His lips began to swell and bruise with all her biting, and when she finally unglued herself, his mind resumed.

“My place, let’s go.”



She sat across him, brows furrowed in concentration. 

Long hair bounced on her shoulders whenever she would look out the window, the rain coming in torrents, and then back at him. He sat on the opposite end of the single bed, eyes closed and face set in a picture of revelry. It made her smile. He made her smile.

“You know,” he broke the silence, “this isn’t exactly going according to plan if we find something more than sex in what we’re doing.” His eyes remained closed, but the smile faded. She pursed her lips before replying, “Who said anything about having a plan in the first place?”

Before he could look at her, she was on his lap again, staring intently into his eyes, searching, digging and swimming in the dark brown irises for a sign of something different. He wanted nothing more than to be honest, as he said “I don’t think I’m ready for anything more than… this.” She frowned, caught between reality and a confession kept sealed, “I get that, neither am I,” she lied, and then more honestly, “I want to do this as much as I can until I get bored of you. Is that fair?” He smiled back, relieved, nodding his head and reaching in to kiss her, his arms wrapped around her. She smiled into the kiss, her arms finding their refuge on his face. They might never be what could be, but with what it is, she was happy.

Besides, the assignment was due in two weeks. They had time. 

Say hello!

Hey dear readers!

Thank you so much for all your support, it means the world to me! I just wanted to ask you to do me a liiiittle favor, would that be okay?

Can you all leave me a comment on this post saying hello or introducing yourselves because I wanted to check how many of the views I'm getting are from automatic servers such as security checks and etc, and how many natural views I'm getting.

And besides, only by hearing your thoughts, your stories, can I write better than I do now! So let's be friends!

Love,
Axam

Home

He found romance in the fact that between him and certain death was a few inches of plexiglass. Such a flirtation with death, with the finality, with darkness and nothingness. He placed his bare palm on the cold glass, hoping to touch what he saw beyond.

His eyes stung slightly, the harsh sunlight glaring at him, undimmed by the atmosphere he was used to before. He heard soft footfalls on the concourse behind him, rubber soles sounding off the metal. Artificial gravity made life on board seem so much like home, he thought. He tried to ignore it, hoping whoever it was would just walk on by, but something told him it was her. 

“You’re supposed to be in cryo now, what are you doing here?” He sighed before replying, “I needed to see it one last time.”

She was silent for a moment before she joined him by his side, looking at what he was seeing. She sighed too, a sort of content, happy sigh. “It’s pretty, I agree, but it looks pretty much the same on the holo projector too, as real as it could from this point. Added to that, you can even zoom in and see it all from a bird’s eye view, so I don’t see what’s so important to stare outside for the entire journey."

He didn’t answer her immediately, taking in slow, deep breaths as he looked out. He wanted to etch the outline on the back of his mind so deep he could never forget it, the colours so rich and saturated as the sunlight shone through the clouds. A small smile pulled at his lips, the beauty of it all threatening to overwhelm him, but the longing held fast. The longing for home. He finally answered.

“What do you see when you look at Earth from this altitude?”

She pursed her lips in concentration before answering, “A blue planet? Areas of forest, desert, cities… not the Great Wall though, that’s a hoax, I think; never saw it from up here, however, many times I’ve been in space. Why’d you ask?”

“When I look at that blue planet, I see everything I’ve ever loved. I see the vast lands of green with trees I’d never know the name of, where I used to trek, climb and camp in, where memories were made and stories were told. I see savannahs of gorgeous gold, where the circle of life seems to go on forever, where everything has purpose. I see the lions and the wildebeests, the elephants and the rhinos, all life clinging on to existence as the world that sheltered them slowly dies out.”

She frowned at him, “Why are you being so morbid? Those animals would evolve and adapt as they’ve always done, its the way nature works. You already know that. What’s really bothering you?”

He tried to stop a tear from leaving his eye but gave up as he said, “Where you see oceans, I see an entirely different world, one where I grew up on the outskirt of. I see the bright white polar snow as the home to so many more animals, a land of mystery, stocked to the brim of the natural history of this world within the ice. I see the mountains where life goes to extremes, the tall peaks people have fought tooth and nail against fate to conquer, stories written and told so many times you’d think it was all legend and myth. Those rivers that carry life and all its needs across thousands of miles, feeding entire ecosystems before finally reaching the ocean or another lake. Those coastlines are homes to those not exactly of the ocean and not exactly of the land, where two worlds are colliding constantly! Don’t you see it? Don’t you see what I see?”

His voice was hoarse, tears starting to fall onto the silvery floor, some landing on the toes of his shoes. Her heart went out to him, trying to empathise with what he was feeling, “If you were so sad about migrating, why did you come in the first place?” she said, a little louder than she wanted to.

He faced her, his tears taking pause, an expression of disbelief, “Who said I’m sad? I am overwhelmed by the beauty of it all, don’t you understand? I am flooded to the brim with so much love because for the first time in my life, I am seeing everything I’ve ever loved, with one glance. I want to drink it in, to carve it’s likeness so that I will never lose this magic. But there’s more, see the cities?” He abruptly turned towards the glass again, pointing, “Do you see those grey patches? Those cities, nations and multitudes of homes?” He didn’t wait for her to answer.

“Therein lives everyone I’ve ever loved. Countless souls born, countless souls leaving, everyone a personification of the universe, of the big bang from the very beginning of time, so much beauty! There amongst them are engineers, retail employees, lawyers, doctors and pilots and so much more, keeping the world turning as it should, humanity throbbing and proud. Also amongst them are painters, writers, and musicians, those amazing souls who are giving a multitude of meanings to life itself. There, going to school, getting into bed, cycling to work, are the cogs and wheels of progress, the reason we are here, preparing to speed away to another new world. If that isn’t worth looking at every day, I don’t know what is.”

She didn’t know what to say. Her mouth was slightly open, her eyes drinking in the sight before her that was slowly spinning before them as they orbited the Earth, closing in on their exit window in an hour or two. She knew what he meant now, why it was so important now to just see, appreciate, and love what she saw, all of it. It was overwhelmingly beautiful, so serene and complete.

“I just needed to see her again, one more time, before we sped away into the dark to another world," he continued. "Mother Earth, aptly named, is everything beautiful about my life and I’ll be damned to ever forget even a single detail.”

“Me too,” she whispered, her voice barely audible. Tears ran down her cheeks, dropping onto the floor softly, doing art where it landed. “I’ve never seen Earth in this light before. Makes me feel like I’ll never be happier anywhere else.”

He faced her again as he said, “Oh don’t think of it that way, you’re forgetting one very important thing.” He continued as she looked at him quizzically, “Home is where the heart is, and that’s within us, and what’s more is that within this heart is where we’re going to carry Mother Nature too. Everyone down there as well, full of life and vigour, full of passion and perseverance. They give us strength, so for them we shall now be pioneers of a new world.”

They stayed in silence for another long moment. “I think I’m ready to go into cryo now, Captain,” the man said. She smiled, wiping away the tears and levelling her breathing again. “Let me lead you to your quarters Admiral, I’ll make sure we have a safe flight at least for the first four years I’ll be piloting.”

____________________________________________________________

After helping the man into his bunk, she now found herself in the cockpit. The exit window was mere minutes away now, and everything was going according to plan. As the countdown began, ringing in the last ten seconds of Earth orbit for everyone on the ship, she smiled.

She found romance in the fact that between her and certain death was a few inches of plexiglass. Such a flirtation with death, with the finality, with darkness and nothingness. She placed her hands not he controls, preparing herself for the ignition of the booster engines, feeling the ship pulsate beneath her fingers. She knew though, she knew now something she had always felt.

Wherever she went, she knew, she’ll always be home.