The Story of Emma & Jack (Finale) — Day 34 of 99 Days of Wander
Jack woke up that day full of energy and enthusiasm, but also a little anxious and nervous. After all, it was his first appearance on TV. He wasn’t the TV kind of personality and didn’t love the cameras much but today was important. Today is when he was being interviewed by the “big guys.” It was his chance to gain public attention for the new invention he’s been working on for years in urban planning.
He had already won a couple of high achievement awards for his revolutionary designs & plans for the city. And now that he already had a couple of big money clients investing in these projects, the camers wanted him everywhere. He had even appeared on the cover of the “UCity” magazine as the “Urban Man of The Year.”
He was laying down on the couch, barefoot, sleeves rolled up and his tie a bit messy (always a sign of deep thought and hard thinking.) He was getting ready for the interview. In a moment of distraction, his mind started wondering and his eyes found themselves fixated on a photo frame on his desk in the middle of the room. He felt a sudden inflow of warmth and smiled. “She looks exactly like her mother…” he thought briefly and savoured in the anticipation of seeing them both tonight.
After 33 minutes he was ready. He proceeded his usual ritual of five deep breaths, ten pushups, 15 jumps and was ready to go. He glanced at his iPhone and made a note of Sarah’s message coming up on the screen:
“Don’t forget, tonight 7.30 P.M. Liberty Hall — Jess’ gymnastics show. Please don’t be late.”
— “They’re ready for you. Do you need anything else?”
— “Ok great, yeah, could you make sure I’m on time for Jess’ show tonight, I don’t want to be late. No one wants to deal with a disappointed 6-year old.” he winked at his assistant, Lisa.
— “I’ve already organised the car as well as the gifts for your little girl. João will be waiting for you downstairs.”
— “Awesome, thanks.”
He took a deep breath and walked into the conference room turned into a TV studio full of lights, chaos and people running around like crazy.
He hated chaos. Overwhelm was something he didn’t deal with very well ever since he started working on this crazy invention and growing his company. Lisa was the person keeping it all together, without her he wasn’t sure where he’d be by now. Employees and payrolls, negotiations and deals, loans and investments, government regulations, patents and new technologies — all of that was sometimes too much to handle. His only escape were video games and meditation. Sometimes even Sarah and Jess were a little too much. He had spent as much time as he could with them but unplugging from the world had become a necessary luxury for him. He needed his alone time. He was grateful to have Lisa by his side who could just understand and not ask questions when he sometimes disappeared for hours.
The TV people had showed him the way to the red comfortable couch where he would be interviewed. Two glasses of water, a couple of magazines on urban design, architecture and planning were placed on the table for the interview set.
“Let’s hope this will be over soon. I just want to get it done and get back to work. What a waste of time…” he was thinking while staring at the redhead being prepped up for the interview before she entered the stage. He thought she looked familiar but then he’s been meeting these gorgeous women left and right since he became “famous” that he didn’t pay much attention to superficiality anymore. But this one had a familiar body shape and an even more familiar arm gesture that reminded him of…
Was that her? How did he never hear about her being the anchor on the biggest youtube lifestyle channel in history? How had Lisa missed this important detail? He was taken aback and frustrated for being caught by surprise. He caught her eyes and she smiled in a way that someone smiles at a really really old friend who hasn’t been in touch for eight years.
Relief. Wonder. Curiosity.
He immediately noticed the black birds spreading their wings and turning green on her left wrist… That was an interesting choice for a tattoo on her pale white skin. He looked at her décolleté and her yellow chiffon blouse. “She still looks great in yellow,” he thought. Some sort of a secret geometry symbol was hanging off of her golden necklace matching her earrings and her ring on the ring finger. Interesting. Her classy black pants sitting tight around her thighs gave him an uncomfortable feeling. Her red hair was a perfect finish to this whole “Emma ensemble.”
There was something about her that he couldn’t quite put a finger on. This exquisite woman definitely looked like the girl he loved eight years ago but she felt like a different woman now. There was an immense energy of freedom, thought and openness in her. She must have been around 32 by now but her eyes and her energy were so mature... She looked like she knew everything, and yet had so much to discover. She was fully grown, yet had a strange flair of fragility and weakness. Her confidence was fierce, her words were sharp and yet she managed to maintain a delicate taste during the interview. He felt like an invitation was being extended to him. He had a hard time gathering his thoughts and didn’t really know how to handle this…
He felt a rising emotion to not only accept her invitation but also extend another one in return. He felt an instinctual urge to take her right there and then, to tame her an cover her with his body. His blood was rising from the bottom up. He felt himself mechanically reaching for her thigh but managed to get his senses together and only accidentally touch her right hand.
He knew she was feeling it too. Everything became blurry. A mix of excitement, melancholia and regret has started to rise deep inside.
He didn’t make it to Jess’ show that night.
— “I am experimenting. They knew I was coming home for a couple of weeks and asked me to bring a “breath of fresh air” into the show (I guess because Singapore is so much more ahead of the cool urban trends) so I said “YES” to doing couple of interviews while I’m visiting home…
And yes, I knew I would be interviewing you but I thought it should stay a surprise. After all I quite enjoyed your reaction.
Thanks for the interview, by the way. You did great. A true rising star of modern urbanism.” said Emma explaining herself.
He took her for dinner to the most expensive rooftop restaurant overlooking the harbour. They dined like old friends, talked about everything and laughed about their college years. He drove her in his black Tesla Model 3 to a hidden little bar in one of the hipster neighbourhoods which was so in his style. They smoked a joint in the car. He was wearing a different kind of perfume now with a sweet smell of sandalwood. He was everything she imagined he would be when she’d come back.
They were chatting like old friends without actually talking about what was on their mind. The voltage was high and the currents were strong. They were enjoying each other’s company and time was flying fast. But they both felt that there is something missing… they just didn’t really know what it was. She was looking at him and wondering how strangle life can be. How it can toss and turn you around only to bring you to the same place yet again.
The white sheets, the pillows and the towels were spread on the floor mixed with clothes, keys and wallets. They have entered another dimension and they’ve used the short time they had to its fullest.
He was tossing and turning her around exactly like she had imagined. She had already forgot the count of the times she had imagined their meeting and their night together after so many years. His body was much stronger than she remembered, his grip was more confident yet his touch was even more gentle as before.
In the morning they were drinking lactose free lattes, eating gluten-free pancakes and croissants with strawberries and mangoes and looking at the view from their hotel room on the 36th floor. He was feeling content, calm and just a little confused.
Baby, I’m so sorry I couldn’t make it tonight. I had crazy interviews all night and ended up at this party with Frank & Nathan. I’ll be home late. Kisses to you & Jess. X
She was feeling a strange sense of completion. Like she had finally closed the chapter, locked the door, took the keys out, threw them away and was free to go.
There was no need for words or explanations. They understood it. They felt it. They loved each other even after so many years. They were two souls intertwined in each other’s memories and feelings of the past but they didn’t have to make them a part of their present. It is what it is.
She kissed him on the cheek, looked into his eyes one last time, open her door and got out of the car. They both felt a pinch of regret but they both knew it was all in the past. Now there is love, present and an exciting future of possibilities.