Later that night, the woman opens her eyes again to find the younger man in the chair by the bed. His eyes are shut while very strange noises come from his open mouth as he breathes.
His light hair—that’s what they refer to as hair, right?—frames his face, while more light hair surrounds his mouth and covers his chin.
He’s definitely quite nice to look at—for a humanoid. Well, I guess that’s what I am now, too.
She looks around the room. Where are all the spectacular colors of Earth? The only splash of color is from the beautiful flowers that maybe the man had brought with him. The rest of the room seems to be white on gray on white on gray. The machines are at least shiny with flashing lights and have fun, familiar beeping sounds. Everything else is white. And gray. And some more white over there. With more gray.
The star isn’t shining into the room—the planet must’ve turned away from it as it does—but she remembers a quick glimpse of the outside as the star was setting and just seeing more variations of white on gray on white on gray outside, too. Oh, perhaps the celestial ceiling was blue. And the star setting had cast glorious pinks and oranges on the white, fluffy gatherings of crystalized droplets. What are those called? Oh, that’s right…clouds. Oh my universe—what happened to all the knowledge I gained after studying for so long?
She stares at her hands—front and back, front and back. She slowly lifts her arm and moves it back and forth in front of her, as if she’s pushing it through…Oh, what’s that interesting word Earthbeings might call it? Oh, right…sludge. “Oh! No wonder you beings are so grumpy!” she says aloud, to her own surprise.
The young man startles awake. “Missy? You talkin’ to me?”
Missy starts to speak again but then touches her throat. “Very…dry.”
He grabs the cup on her bedside table, but it’s empty. “I’ll go get you some water.”
As soon he leaves, Missy addresses the air. “Is anyone there?” She pauses for a few seconds. “Can anyone hear me? Something went terribly wrong!”
“I’m here,” comes the old woman’s voice from the other side of the curtain.
“Missy, you calling fer me?” the man asks as he returns to the room.
“Who are you?” she asks.
He sets the water down and takes her hand, a strange wetness welling in his eyes. “My name’s Matt. I’m yer husband.”
He holds the cup to her lips and, when she seems to not quite know what to do next, he gently pours a little bit of water into her mouth. The cool liquid delights her tongue.
That is called a tongue, right?
After a moment of difficulty with her first time swallowing, she relaxes back on to her pillow. Ohhhhhhhhh! She feels the water slowly slipping down the back of her throat and then down into this body of hers like a living being itself. Cool meeting warmth, wet meeting dry, slipping down, down….
Could anything else in all the universes feel so heavenly? Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.
“It’s like you’ve never had a sip of water before.”
Oh, you have no idea.
Matt lets out another strange noise.
That must be a laugh. But his eyes didn’t laugh.
“Are you feeling good?” she asks. That’s not the right way to ask that question. Let’s see, what was it? “Are you okay?”
“Yes, Missy, I’m great, now that yer back.”
His eyes don’t match the words he’s saying. Plus, what a strange accent he has.
“Why do you talk so funny?” she asks.
“I don’t talk funny.”
“Your name is Matt?”
“Yes. Do you remember me at all?”
She looks at him as if she’s trying to remember his face. You seem very kind but you are not who my project was supposed to be with. “You’re my husband, you said?”
"Yes, darlin’, I am.”
She thinks for a few seconds. “What’s a husband?”
Matt’s face falls.
After he leaves, she calls out, “Can I please come home?”
A nurse who’d been just down the hall sticks her head in the door. “We’ll get you home just as soon as we can.”
“Thank you,” Missy says. The nurse leaves. Missy addresses the air over her bed with a much quieter voice. “Right now? Please?”
The old woman in the bed on the other side of the curtain responds, “Make that a double. I’d like to go now, too, please!”
Please? With starlight on top?
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