“It’s not you, it’s me.” Her words hung in the air as if a cloud; hovering, moving ever so slightly, but not really going anywhere anytime soon.
Some things don’t change, not even after hundreds of years.
I looked out of the bubble that was my window into the sky. Except for that I was in the sky. I was the sky.
Another question that has never changed. And that never will change.
She looked at me. In the eyes for the first time since we had begun this conversation.
She was beautiful. Especially when she looked me in the eye because it allowed me to look into hers.
“I’ve found someone else.”
Of course. Wonderful. Exactly what I had known was coming. And still, my stomach sank and rose inside of me, all at the same time. Human hope springs eternal, lasting until the last second. Especially in relationships. She had just dashed the last inkling that I had of any.
“Who is he?” I feigned interest, not so much to find anything out, but rather because I could not think of anything to say. I could not think.
“That’s not important. What is is that I won’t be living here anymore. I’m going back to the surface at 1400 hours.”
“Back to the surface?” The thought of not ever seeing her again made my eyes tear up. I wiped them, pretending to have an allergic reaction. Even though there were no allergens at this altitude. Living on top of a cloud takes away a lot of excuses.
“Yes. I’m not happy here anymore. And frankly…” She paused, breathing, obviously trying not to become agitated.
“What?” I asked, getting angry. I didn’t shout the word, but only because we were not alone in the cafe. “Frankly what?”
“You should think about going back too. I don’t think that either of us were…”
“I know, I know! How many times do we have to have this discussion? I told…”
“I know what you told me!” Her turn to become upset. “But you haven’t been listening to me! And I think that it is about time that you listened to someone!”
She got up and stomped off, over my embarrassed protests. I slouched back into my chair, face in my hands.
Why did everyone that I cared about have to leave me?
Why couldn’t I ever find anyone that loved it up here as much as I did? Everyone else seemed to think of working at SKY-station as a job; for me it was a dream, a life. Suddenly, it was coming apart at the seams.
I stormed out of the restaurant, not caring what anyone thought of me.
My room overlooked, well, wherever our clouds happened to be for the week. This week, I could look down and see what used to be China, it’s now three-millenia-old Great Wall embellished with a covering of gold, a testament to the replicator system created by Funkshying. He discovered a way to convert carbon to gold.
But no one had ever discovered a way to change a woman’s mind. Not after it was made up anyway.
I knew the futility of trying to talk her into staying. I loved her because of her decisiveness; we had been dating for a few months now, and, I must admit, perhaps it was my apparent indecisiveness that had caused her to make the decision that she had.
I opened the window. The pressure began to leave the room, and the computer chirped the same warning noise that it always did when I removed the screen that covered the outside.
I needed to breathe. The oxygen levels were low, yes, but I didn’t care. I needed fresh air, nothing replicated…
Looking down from where I was standing, I could see all the way from the Eastern coast of Africa until the Western tip of Japan. I loved it up here. Nothing on Earth could replace this feeling. This elation.
This knowing that, if I took one step forward, and closed my eyes, the last thing that I would know would be the world. Beneath me, as were all its ways. Only one step…
My head was in the clouds, and that was where it was going to stay.