Love Across Decades


Dear Euan,

By the time you’re reading this, I’d already be working on my third novel. I know you’re not happy, but boy oh boy, the future is one heaven of a place.

Piloting his Chevy around a corner, he waited for the lights to change.

Bella’s ebullient penmanship hasn’t altered a notch; her vocabulary still rich, the diction still appealing and the articulation still intact.

Ironically, it was the words which wrenched them apart and led to the reversal of six years’ worth of their life.

A memory poignantly raw in his head; the call from the publishing house informing her that she’d been selected (for the honor of being teleported to the future and writing and publishing her story upon arrival); the squeals of laughter, tears of joy, the taste of her lips in his mouth, and the uncanny sense of saudade already starting to kick in. 

Careening across a junction, he sluggishly accosted a building that he had only known to loathe.

Prior to this, he had visited the institution to see her off. Her eyes piercing his as the windows of the machine slowly locked into place, all other voices drowning out; resisting the urge to run across to her, the feeling of impotence profound.

The doors clanged shut and wiping away a tear, he turned his back to her as she spiraled into an unknown future. 

It has been ten years since.

Tomorrowland, Independence Day, Westworld, and the other flicks did nothing but hoodwink us. Remember the time we contemplated life on Mars (stupid us; why travel to outer space, when Earth is burgeoning with potential?) after watching Martian?

My first day was as gauche as the day we first met; me bumping up awkwardly against the conventions of a new world, my bootcut jeans and shell top clashing with vibrant ensembles and it turns out that the 2030s are all about geometric vegan dresses. Brilliant, isn’t it?

Who would ever think that Vogue’s haute couture would be curated out of hemp and bamboo?

And heads-up young man: Thought Clothing, tentree, and Amour Vert is the new vogue. (See, I was always futuristic.)

He let out a chuckle. Bella was always keen on not leaving any carbon footsteps in her wake. 

Back to the first day. It seems like the only flick that got closest to predicting the future was Black Panther.

Electric cars bustling past, high-definition holographic projections draping skyscrapers, high-speed maglev trains tearing across the rails, an immaculate river thriving with biodiversity whispering past, streaks of flora hemming edifices and establishments, drones gliding over our heads along with a delightfully mismatched orchestra of juncos and tufted titmouse, the vibrant hues of sunlight landing with a whisper on a city in remarkable harmony with nature. 

After what seemed like an eternity, I finally felt wonder; surging through my veins and bubbling within my blood, resuscitating a creative spirit that was otherwise in the doldrums.

You’d be forty-two when you receive this letter and I believe we still have time to fall in love all over again; me receiving you at the institution; you teetering off-balance after the grueling supersonic ride; you collapsing into my open arms, the weight of your head melting into my shoulders; a cwtch rekindled by years of absence, both ensconcing themselves in each other’s warmth as self-piloted aircraft and automobiles roar dull in the backdrop. All just silly little gnats buzzing far, far away.

A zero-emission self-driving car would escort us to my solar-powered smart home while we make love in the rear seat. At home, I run you through the mechanisms of the smart lavatory, but you still panic when the water from the smart shower turns red (an indication that you’ve exceeded your daily usage limit.) You gape at the 3D food printer which cough out sustainable sizzling hot pizza onto a bamboo plate, while I get lost in the look of wonder in your eyes.

Utopian romance is an uncharted territory that I’ve still not explored and is open to exploring with you.

Or maybe not.

You may have moved on and found something to make your last ten years worthwhile. Why wouldn’t you? 

But I am incapable of loving anyone else, Euan; maybe with much persuasion I might move on, but I’ll not be happy. Some moronic part of me still thinks you’d come.

Well, as the adage goes: life moves on and so should we.

As I sit under the bamboo table lamp penning this letter, the oblong of light falling onto my table turns blue, heralding yet another splendid evening. A part of the day I can’t stop admiring; now more than ever before.

The horizon a crimson red, air alight with the melodies of an opera I haven’t heard in ages; a pair of thrushes chiming in with the chorus of chirping crickets, cicadas, serenading frogs, and twittering sunbirds. Lively conversational noises of families rippling and swirling through a cloudless sky whilst I slowly absorb and feed off the ethos of a society kindled by love and compassion—a sterling mankind living by the mantra we’ve all grown to love: all Gods speak one language; the language of love.  

Even as I write this letter, I do not know whether you survived the COVID pandemic. If you did, well, I’d receive a response and if you didn’t (God forbid!) …  I don’t know. 

But somehow, I know you are alive. I can still feel it—I can still feel your heart pulsating.

Love Always,

Bella Duncan

Tears ran in rivulets down his cheek. Perhaps he was too quick in shutting her out from his life.

Now on the first floor of the building, the teleportation machine slowly materialized before Euan’s eyes, suddenly appealing.

“Mr. Carson,” a gruff voice greeted from behind him.

“Mister?” he riffled through the layers of his memory, trying to summon his name.

“Pierce,” he replied, proffering a sheet of paper to Euan.

Scanning the paper, his gaze rested on a highlighted statement: I, Bella Duncan, demand the provision for the teleportation of my spouse, Euan Carson, upon his consent.

In his mind’s eye, he could see his lovely suburban home under a moonlit sky—his wife Molly preparing his favorite spaghetti Bolognese, his daughter playing with the Legos set, waiting for daddy.

“Well, would you like to go?” he asked, raising a brow.

If only he could.

If only he had waited for her.

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