8. En route


It’s not possible to come down to breakfast with a spring in your step in zero-G so we did the next-best thing: we crossed to the galley hand-in-hand. If Beau and Kimi noticed, they gave no sign.

After breakfast I fired up my laptop:

Mary: There was a big heart episode on your telemetry last night. Meena’s too. You OK?

No privacy!

Lol (you): MYOB!

It would be at least three minutes before I could receive a reply, so I got stuck in to social media. It was now Day 21 and the volume had tailed right off. The world had shifted its attention to other concerns. Would the latest climate change talks amaze everyone by resulting in effective action? Was nuclear fusion going to be commercially viable any time soon? Was peace in the Middle East going to happen this time round? What would the TV industry do now that the public was tiring of reality shows (ironic for us, participants in the ultimate reality show)? I did try to keep up with the news, but it increasingly felt like watching a play set in an unknown distant realm.

Mary: MYOB???

Lol (you): Mind your own business!

I reviewed and sent off the latest blog posts, hoping they would be in time for tonight’s weekly show. Beau had done Top 10 space tortilla recipes (we thought chapati might confuse the Americans in our audience). Kimi had done Space tennis – a beginner’s guide (“1. Get weightless…”).

Mary: So you *were* doing it! Ha ha! You just won me $10 with that!

Mary: Gonna tell the guinness book of world records? Write a how-to blog post? I’m a teeny bit jealous!

Lol (you): I draw your attention to WORLD in the title of that book!

Kimi had also done a brief progress report on the horticulture project, which I signed off. I had done a pretentious thought piece about what you can and can’t learn about other cultures from their movies which I deleted. Meena was a bit overloaded and we’d decided she should skip blogging this week.

Mary: Thanks. Carmela handed over the 10 bucks this time

Lol (you): GTG

After closing the message window I angled my webcam so I could unobtrusively study Meena, beyond my left shoulder. I wanted to stroke her hair, kiss her neck, put my hands down the front of her shirt. And see whether that led to more. I was like a teenager just after his first time. I’d never had a relationship with someone I worked with before, and working-hours self-denial was hard.

I decided I could properly go over for a chat at least. Meena showed me her message window:

Carmela: Your heart rate went crazee last night. How are you feeling?

Meena (you): I’m feling great!

Carmela: Mary has this theory that you and Lol ... you know

Meena (you): That is very interesting

Carmela: Grr!

Meena (you): Prr!

Carmela: What does that mean?

Meena (you): Sorry, got work to do

We cackled surreptitiously over this. Then she whispered, “Tonight?”

I nodded.

I kept my hands to myself.