What to ask of the waning Moon?
Where to watch the drifting Sands?
I will pursue You
to the ending Time…
Image: Michael Najjar, Sands of Mars, source: wired.com
I know the three of them well, as I crossed their lives at different times, before we met again, that February, in London. How I came to be in possession of those pages is, perhaps, the material for another story. Suffice to say: they trust me, all three, enough to share their most intimate feelings, hopes, and fears.
Above all else, I admire their honesty: what they write in those diaries is really how they see themselves and the others, how they relate to them, what their expectations and frustrations are. But what about me, you might ask. What is my real interest in all this, and why publishing their personal thoughts? Well, they are my friends, and I am a publisher, an entrepreneur if you wish. I admit also to being a crypto voyeur, with a sense of humour, perhaps an admirer of the other Marcel. When I read those pages I felt there was such a spectrum of human dignity, hope and disillusion in them, that I saw literature.
I only appear occasionally in their writing, which is about themselves, and for each one of them, about the other two. The small drama written therein is their drama, or their comedy, depending on how seriously you, the reader, take their words.
Their diaries appear to have been started at more or less the same time, perhaps prompted by the tremendous events of the year 2048, when the narrative begins.
I should add that I have concealed their real names. Just in case you thought you may recognise one of them…
Diary of Céline Jeurève, February 3, 2048
Our evening was full of delights. Charles was in extremely good mood, even by his own standards: I just admired his way with both of us, Monica and I, the perfect gentleman! Et quel charmeur! Monica, dear friend, was just glamour through and through, with this difference that friendship brings to her natural timidity. She was not on the catwalk, but with friends, and what friends! She was adorable, and Charles appreciated her conversation all evening, and so did I, and vice-versa.
We talked about the new fashion season, and Milan, and Paris. Monica’s enjoying her work, and I look forward to seeing her when she’s in Paris, in-between her permanent travels. She was keen to know what Charles and I were planning later in the year – of course we are equally busy, and we promised to keep her posted on our plans.
Then Mars came up, and the intentions of the BRICS Federation. Charles thinks that they will ensure a start of mission this year. After all, they have been working on the ships, around Space Station III, and recruiting and training hundreds of potential colonists on three continents, for the past four years. The Sino-Indian Space Corp. has a fleet of launchers already in Kazakhstan. The North American Union is contributing a strong team of scientists, and of course several rovers. The European Federation has mining experts and engineers lined up. Charles says that the first wave will be no less than two hundred people. We joked about me joining the medical team. Monica says she’d volunteer to be the local clothes designer there!
It is all deadly serious though. Colleagues at the faculty say that an entire surgical block is part of the payload. Someone said that a famous Chinese brain surgeon will be part of the team.
Dinner was just right, I am pleased to say, and Charles was happy with his handy work on the parfait, sweet husband! Monica had brought a bottle of Chassagne-Montrachet, apparently a present from “an admirer”, sublime. The three of us got suitably tipsy, and stayed awake just long enough for Monica’s taxi at two this morning.
Une soirée réussie. I am writing this before going to my eleven o’clock lecture on DNA testing. I must rush. Just one thing: during the evening I saw, at times, my friend’s eyes going a little misty as she was listening to Charles. Is Monica getting tender toward my husband?
Note to myself – Charles Jeurève, 1pm, February 3, 2048
Must send roses to C and M – now. They were perfect. What a couple they are. And for whose pleasure? Mine! You’re a lucky fellow Monsieur Jeurève. Be good!
Letter to Mr & Mrs Jeurève, dated February 4, 2048, posted from Milan
I cannot find words to thank you enough for a wonderful evening. As you know I am always nervous before embarking on a new show, and this was a perfect way for me to forget about my professional anxieties. Céline: I want to say that you were so beautiful, that black kimono suits you perfectly, I wish I could wear Asian chef-d’oeuvres like this with your grace, on you it looks magical, on me I’d look like a scarecrow!
Charles made me laugh, he’s such a good story teller, and has such a sense of humour. I write from my little cubicle in Milan, before makeup. It’s chaos here. But when I think of your place, near Vincennes, a haven of beauty and calm, I feel all relaxed again. I love you both, I will write again next week, after the show.
Bises to both,
I know, this will be unexpected, after all, old fashion mail has gone… a bit out of fashion, has it not? But this is Mars! The kind crew that gave us that invitation, when we wrote to them how pleased we were about the lunar probe – do you remember, only six months ago? Well, the same bunch invited me again, this time to fly to their Mars base, send you a letter, and fly back! They said the mail rocket would arrive ahead of us, and they would make sure you have the letter before I knock on our door!
If you look now, I am probably just standing at the door now!
Hugs… and more in a sec!
Language evolves. The meaning of a word can shift over time as we use it differently — think of “cool,” “heavy,” or even “literally.”
Yes, I have paged you, and, no, it has nothing to do with those bleeping little boxes of old: you are on my page, pictures, quotes, smiles and all – not only you have been added, but my page has captured “us”, our friendship, our love, the way you look at me and I look at you…
It may be the page of a blog, a facebook page, or a page in my new book: you are now immortal, for this page can travel in space, in time, transported in an aircraft, sent to the Moon or Mars…
You have been paged: we are now public, it’s official, everyone knows we are together.