"Aura! What the hell are you planning? What’s all this mess?"
My roommate was going crazy, and this time it was not because of drugs. I had turned our apartment upside down, packing for a very lengthy trip. It would happen. I knew I was getting on the aircraft that led to the outside. I was hunting for Julian. I would find him, if I could stop thinking of how vast the universe was.
The registration department had informed me about all the documents and other amenities, I would need to travel and manage life on the other planets. I had a time limit of 6 months. I was leaving in winter… by the time I returned it would be summer… probably.
There was a bigger problem that lingered in my mind… but it would arise only if I found him. I hoped such a problem would arise. Intergalactic marriage regulations were not well formed.
I found myself feeling insanely as I sat in the cab that took me to the airport. This flight would take me to the center that held the portal to outer space for non-research purposes…
My ample savings and abundant inheritance was coming in very handy when money was vacuumed away from my purse. But it would all be worth it when I found Julian.
Through the flight I clutched the file containing my documents, cards etc. that was to be deposited before leaving.
I was scared… of meeting his grave instead of meeting him. I’d rather search for him all my life than meet a confirmation of his death.
I believe I was the only passenger with more baggage than the amount they normally allowed to carry. According to the officials at the Portis Galactica, the ‘dock’ for aircraft and ships from outer space, I was the last entry on this month’s flight. There was one aircraft per month exiting earth. I had read about the wonderful service on board the ships as they were called. It sounded like a cruise.
There were people around me, and I had no idea about any of them. But then it was just a flight. I was going to a place where I had no idea who or what was around me. The only thing that kept me ticking was finding Julian. I knew he was from a planet called Hebi, which was part of a planetary system that was known for its cultural and traditional values.
I also knew that there were many originals (those who were born and brought up outside earth) who thought low of earthlings.
My worries seeped away to nothingness as I slept through the flight, dreaming of the first time he took me to coffee.
It had been the beginning of monsoon and the nights had started turning chilly. I had stayed back working at the institute. By the time I wrapped up my files and started outside the gentle drizzle had converted into a heavy rain. I stood shivering in my t-shirt and jeans. I wanted to call Julian and tell him to come pick me up. But it had been less than a week since I had confessed that I loved him. Of course he did not make anything awkward for me. But he did not answer me either. So I found it rather awkward to call him. April, my roommate and I were not on talking terms. I hated her new habit of doing drugs in our apartment, even though I was rarely at the house.
Maybe I was purposely cutting out my options so that would leave my psyche with a single option.
"Calling Julian Dior…" My screen blinked.
My heart rate increased with each passing microsecond and I would have passed out, had it not been for the car that stopped near the gates. The headlights glared at me for a moment before the car turned towards me.
Worried that I was probably disturbing him at this time, I hurriedly ended the call. Great I was stuck in the rain. It was either spend the night in my office or get drenched. I began walking towards my office when I heard him calling me from behind.
I turned, almost tripped and heard myself say breathlessly, "Uh… Hello sir… good evening… You're here?"
He rolled his eyes, his lovely eyelashes, casting small shadows over his cheeks.
"You called me, mademoiselle… and then cut the call, thinking I was being disturbed, didn’t you?"
I was not someone who stuttered and was praying to my lips to cooperate with my head, "Yeah… it was raining and my roommate is unavailable so… I… well…"
"I was on my way to pick you up anyway…" The smirk on his face denied a lie.
"Oh… why? How did you know?"
"I knew it was you who picked up the phone when I called the office…" I remembered picking up the ringing phone in the office, receiving crackling almost an hour back.
"You want me to drop you back?"
"Yes, that would be very nice."
He smiled a close-lipped smile, his eyes crinkled slightly when he smiled like that. I noticed he had rolled up his sleeves. What really was the point of wearing a full-sleeved shirt when you are never ever going to wear it down?
I placed my bag and laptop in the backseat and sat next to him. I wanted to remember this moment forever. I was giddy with happiness at his thoughtfulness.
"Would you like to stop for coffee?"
I nodded hoping he didn’t see me blush. Who blushes at a coffee offer by the way?
He was smiling and I didn’t have to look at his face to know that. We stopped at a Barista cafe. We walked into the cafe and I could feel the chill in the air disappear as the warmth engulfed us.
We sat by the window as the rain picked up again. I didn’t want that night to end. There was a small silence, but it was not uncomfortable by any means.
Julian looked to be in his early twenties… I admired him from the corner of my eye as he went through the menu. He was not very tall but looked so because of his slim built. Gentle eyes and a nose with the hint of a small injury, perfect lips and curly hair, if anyone would look closely, they would probably see nothing beyond his godly eyelashes, as if God took an extra hour making them… his lips… were another matter. It must have taken an extra day.
We placed our order and chatted about the most useless topics. The usual weather, office, fast food, love for coffee, weather.
He quietened after we returned to weather, so did I.
"You never asked for the answer to your umm…"
I completed for him, "…confession?"
He nodded. I smiled, looked down in my coffee cup and said with as little conceit as possible, "That’s alright, I just wanted you to know… you don’t have to necessarily answer me so soon..."
"Oh… I was going to answer you today… but since you think it’s too soon… maybe some other day…"
I looked up at his face, surprised by this sudden change of topic. He laughed at the incredulous look on my face.
I mumbled out, "I would like to know, but it’s your wish…."
Uugghh! Why was I such a sissy around him? Where was my usual aggression?
"First of all, thank you for saying that you love me. It means a lot that someone like you would feel that way for me…"
Why was it sounding like a polite rejection now?
"I have liked you since we have worked together…"
Was he purposely drawing this out?
"See! This is what happens when you know you are nervous… unnecessary things make their way out…" He sighed and continued, "I like you too. And yes, I’d be willing to give the ‘us’ here a try. But I don’t want you hurt in the end… our situation is a bit complicated."
Complicated? Such an understatement… he was from a planet trillions of miles away and I was from Earth.
I was smiling like a madman and must have looked it too, "You know we can think of it when the time comes… for the time being, thank you… sir…"
I giggled and we laughed together at our nervousness.
I had wanted to kiss him then. But then it would be too early.
His smile then had been shy and gentle. And nervous. And wondered if I were alright with it… probably thinking whether I was happy… like I was thinking the same about him.
We talked about funny little experiences… I talked so much… he just listened to me… he was not very expressive but his eyes compensated for it big time.
The last scene I remembered from the dream or rather that particular memory at 1 am in the night, our sofas next to each other, the coffee cups together, and the feeling of love in the air.