A promise that she had made back when they had planted this very tree. Not exactly planted it. Spat out the seeds rather. They had been feasting on sweet tangerines that day, under an orange sky. It seemed like yesterday... As a
matter of fact, it WAS yesterday. 'This tree has grown rather fast... in a day. A few more hours for the tree to start bearing fruit,' chugged his train of thought.
His reverie broke with a flash of something. WHAT WAS THAT? A torch? A strong, almost cruel white ray shone into his eyes. She was here. Again, after years. Again, after yesterday. Time seemed warped.
'I hope she's brought sandwiches,' he thought to himself, as she switched off what seemed like fog lights. 'Why would she use them in the day?' he wondered. Actually he didn't. She was never like the other women he knew. "What's life without a little drama?" she'd say. Even now, as she walked toward him with the picnic basket, she seemed to be performing. A surreal stage; her feet one, perhaps two feet above the ground.
She hadn't aged a day since yesterday, or from a few years ago. With her quick, light steps she walked over to him, and held out the basket. He could see the Chardonnay wrapped in a towel. Wine there had to be. They needed it to lose themselves, to find each other. The real world wasn't for them. He whipped out his Burmese army knife and expertly popped the cork. Some birds took wing, protesting loudly at the sudden sound. She could hear music even in the angry chirping of the birds. His presence made everything beautiful. They raised a toast, drank and nibbled at the sandwiches. It would be a lovely day...
They sat content for a while, then she leaned over and kissed his cheek. The smell of his sweat mildly intoxicating her. A kiss, a touch, a caress, an embrace. The summer morning would ripen their bodies again with heat and lust. Love would have to wait. A gentle breeze blew, tousling strands of his long, raven black hair across his face. "The markets open in an hour" she said. The urgency hit him in the gut. She had these gentle-cruel reminders of forevers that end.
They made fast, furious love, squeezing in a million pleasures every moment. Time was little. Tomorrow might come years later. Bodies entwined in a slow serpentine dance under the double suns. Sweat poured as they rolled in the throes of manic ecstasy. Time stood still. Time flew. The clock tower in the market warned them ten times. The lovers would have to go. Wait for interminable centuries... until tomorrow.
"Reports say Earth will be habitable again in a less than a year," she said, as she slipped into her little, lacy red panties. Then she dissolved into the light, as dramatically as she had arrived. They weren't fog lights. He walked to the market, basket in hand; the leftover Chardonnay still cold. He reached the market, sat in his little curio shop - the quaint little spaceship model always by his side. 'Wonder if she'll bring sandwiches tomorrow,' he thought, as he slipped back into a patient slumber.
(Co-authored with Satish Lakshman - @tishman)