Mia has just paid eighty percent down, and signed the contract. Now she is waiting.
The room is huge with big glass windows. Outside the window is a ginkgo tree whose leaves are deep green, rustling in the window. Mia sits down at a red sofa drinking a cup of iced coffee. She tries to keep her glances at the door 30 feet in front her as causal as possible. But from her slightly raised shoulders, she is aware of her expectations and apprehensions. On the floor, shadows and lights from the ginkgo tree jump, clash and embrace each other. Mia feels her heart beating at every jump of the light. She looks around. The room is empty. She lowers her shoulders, and sips the coffee from a straw.
It feels like quite a long time after, the door opens. Mr. Norman appears behind the door, and next to him is this tall, lean and slightly tanned man who is not young, not old, but seemingly ageless.
“Tristan”, Mia thinks, standing up. “This is Tristan.”
They are now walking toward each other, looking at each other’s face intently, and smiles with their eyes.
“This is Mia, and this is Tristan,” says Mr. Norman.
“Hello, Tristan, nice to meet you.”
“Nice to meet you too Mia.”
“Okay. I NOW pronounce you free man and woman, and you are allowed to leave the facility and explore the world. May God bless you with a happy future.” Mr. Norman speaks with a dramatic tone, as if he were on a stage performing.
“Thank you.” “Thank you.”
Outside the facility is a narrow path leading to a sand dune. The dune blocks the vision but from the humidity of the air and the smell, Mia knows that the ocean lies beyond. She looks secretly at Tristan and is curious if he has had any experience about the ocean. Knowing that Mia is looking at him, Tristan turns his head toward her and looks at her eyes, smiles and goes for her hand.
Holding hands, they are walking the long path silently, feeling each other. At least that’s what Mia is doing. She isn’t sure if Tristan is also trying to feel her, how he feels, and what he feels if he feels at all. But he must feel, because he says to her, “it’s a warm day, why is your hand a little bit cold?”
“I don’t know. I guess my hands and feet are always cold, or maybe I am a little nervous.”
“Why are you nervous?”
“I am not sure.”
Silence, and walking, their shadows following them are becoming longer and longer. Clouds behind them gather and scatter, reflecting colors from the distant sun that they are about to see when they get to the top of the sand dune.
“Do you have expectations?” Mia asks.
Tristan thinks about it for a second and says, “Yes, I do. And you?”
Mia laughs, “yes, as human beings we always have expectations. I am one of them.”
“You are joking?! Yes, fortunately or unfortunately we shall see, but yes, I am one of them.”
Now they laugh out loud and become more relaxed with each other.
Before them, the ocean waves rushing in and out, and the sound of waves suddenly loud, especially when they hit the tremendous rocks. In the far and far distance, the sun is setting with orange-red glowing. They each take a deep breath. Mia feels as if time has turned back for thousands of years, to a primitive age, she asks: “Tristan, may I ask if you have a past?”
Tristan is still taken by the scene. He stares at the waves and follows their movement, then looks into the distance, and turns his body 180 degrees, raises his arms, and yells out, “this is unbelievable! It’s so beautiful! Thank you Mia.”
“Why do you thank me?”
“Yes, I thank you that this is all real.” “Oh, sorry, what did you ask?”
“It’s not important. I am just wondering if you have a past.”
“Is six months considered past?”
“I think yes. Not very long but in your time, I don’t know how it measures.”
“Mr. Norman had asked me to choose, and I chose not to have a past at the time. From my limited learning, it seems that you human beings are burdened by your history. I prefer to come to this world fresh and new like a baby.” Tristan is getting excited and his speed of talking is getting faster.
Mia looks at him, his eyes are so clear as were two lakes, glacier-time lakes. Once again, time seems to have turned back to when Adam and Eve still lived in the Eden, but she is also very aware, “no, we are far away from that era.” She does not share her thoughts, words instead utter themselves out, “You certainly have a strong PERSONALITY!”
Tristan is already running toward the waves…