Your friend said, over a cup of coffee and in one of those friendly advice ways, that we should get out more, get away from the stress of the family unit from time-to-time, take some time to reconnect, and so soon enough we did get out more, we went out all the time and we went everywhere there was to go, to restaurants, to nightclubs, to hotels, to holiday resorts, to the ends of the earth. We met all the people possible (barring those who never got out themselves) and then we befriended them and did everything they were doing too. This helped, at least I thought so. But your friend was none-too-impressed with our escapades, so we heard from abroad. The grape vine seemed to be conveying a tone of ‘what about the kids?’ or even the clichéd ‘the money they’ve spent could feed a third-world country…’ We decided to ignore the opinions of others. This was to become our new ethic. We went ever further and found ourselves in a secret location, possibly somewhere near Russia, training to become astronauts, perhaps to even make a mission to the Moon. The gossip was harder to come by now but we still felt we should keep in contact with the kids. ‘We’re fine’ they would say down a secure line. ‘People think you’re both on drugs’ the youngest said. We were on drugs and apparently some measure of performance enhancement is quite common in astronaut training. But we felt the need to abandon the course of drugs deemed necessary for our survival and obtain a course of recreational drugs instead. It was difficult, yet in the local village it proved possible. In this way we both confirmed the unfounded opinions of others while giving the appearance (at least to ourselves) that we didn’t care. We were so nonchalant. The drugs made us laugh a lot and also enjoy sex to an unusual degree. I imagined we were becoming closer and it was all due to an intellectual decision – I labelled it ‘the power of imagination’ and patted myself on the back. The thickly accented aeronautics scientists, they all knew we were a risk, but they sent us into space anyway. I think they needed the money. We were tired, unimpressed with the starkness of space. ‘I should never have listened to you,’ you said, while not looking at me. I had my own thoughts. What implicit statements were clustering down there in the mix of blue and green? We tried vainly to lose radio contact and avoided each other by finding distant corners of the space-shuttle. Your mobile phone wouldn’t stop ringing. I was surprised that you’d brought it and a little less surprised – though still surprised – that you could get reception. You talked in a low voice and wouldn’t say who’d called. I didn’t care anyway. I decided to live my own life from then on. That decision was important. It was in the past: this turning point mitigated our safe arrival home and other various intrigues of the interpersonal-relationship variety. The negatives thusly mollified. We were still together, but now we were over drama and content to simply be together, holding hand in parks, discussing how people at our separate mundane workplaces really shouldn’t be in that line of work. Then someone said you should talk about your life more and so we did, all the time, sentimentally.

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