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Chapter 27

Back at the lakefront, he’s holding and rubbing the necklace around his neck, looking up and smiling to high heaven. “Do you remember that day, Andrei? I don’t think I will ever forget it, even after all these years,” he speaks in Russian, “you saved my life twice that day. Haha, I guess I have to learn to let it go, huh? But you’ve always looked out for me. Who’s the hero now, Anastasiya? You’re probably already lying dead somewhere. Or maybe the creatures got to you and absorbed you too. I wonder what you would say if you were here.” “Maybe he would tell you to stop moping around being sad and start hanging out with your friends, haha,” Alexandra suddenly speaks from behind. He turns around to see Takashi and Olivia standing there too. “Oh…hello,” he says. “Sergey, are you okay?” Olivia asks him. “Yes, yes, I am fine. Just…was just remembering something from a long time ago. Something Andrei and I experienced once,” he explains. “Sergey, losing a friend is difficult. It takes time to heal.” He sits up on the railing, “I know. It is alright. I am…actually handling it quite well. I have learned to deal with these kinds of situation.” “That’s good, man,” Takashi adds. He nods, “Well, at least we stopped the creatures and saved the world. That is what matters.” Olivia walks over and gives him a hug. “Haha, thank you for that,” he replies. “You’re welcome, my friend. Now let’s do what she said and stop moping around and have fun,” she says to all of them. He agrees and gets out of his slump to do just that.

The sky’s finally clearing up, letting the sun’s rays through. “Ahhhh, that feels good, yes?” Sergey says. They take a moment to absorb that light and take in the moment, swinging their arms wide open. Afterwards, they take a deep breath and exhaled, letting it all out. Takashi is still having a little difficulty letting it all go, but he can do it. Just let go, right? he thinks. “You alright, babe?” she asks him. “Yeah, yeah. Let’s just…like you said, you know. Let’s just have fun and enjoy the moment,” he tells her, determined. “Alright,” she says smiling. “So what do we do now?” the cosmonaut asks. Olivia puts on her thinking face for a moment before suddenly taking off her jacket and running to the railing and jumping over it, flying just above the water to create waves as she flies past. She then flies up, screaming, “Wooo hooo hoooo!!!” before falling back down into the water. Takashi watches as she does so, realizing that not everything has to be perfect right now. In fact, it may never be perfect, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t enjoy every moment. It’s those precious little moments that make life beautiful. Sure he had some troubles in the past and will probably have some more troubles in the future, but that’s just the way life is. And he has to accept it. Life is not about being perfect…it’s about living. So let’s live, he thinks to himself, just enjoy the moment, right? She flies back and clings to the railing, sending the water from her flying to them. “Ohh, come on. Really??” they speak out. “What?? You’re gonna get wet anyway.” “And why’s that?” he asks. “Cause you’re gonna swim with me. Come on, the water’s great.” Normally he would say something to avoid that or make up some excuse, but this time, fuck it! He smiles, takes off his jacket, and then flies up and over the water before jumping in. “Whoooooooo!!!!” he screams. “You guys wanna join?” she invites them too. “Haha…” he was about to politely refuse the offer, but you know what? What the heck, he thinks. “That’s the spirit! Do you want me to carry you or…?” “Why not? Fly me over,” he says taking off his jacket, bandana, and pants. He gives the car keys to Alexandra for safekeeping. “Nice boxers,” Olivia refers to his striped boxer and giving a ‘thumbs up’. “Come on, let’s go.” She grabs him and they fly over to Takashi’s spot, but she passes him to give Sergey a first-hand tour of the sky. The experience is amazing, especially now that they don’t have alien creatures to worry about. Takashi flies back to land to offer Alexandra the same thing. “Oh, no no no, it is alright. I don’t really feel like it,” she respectfully declines. “Oh, come on. It’ll be fun,” he tells her. “Thank you, but I have had enough excitement for one day. You guys go have fun.” “Alright then. Let me know if you change your mind.”

He flies up to join Olivia and Sergey. They fly high up in the air before stopping and they drop down, also giving him a free skydiving experience in the process. “WHOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!” they all scream at the top of their lungs. The feeling is amazing. It’d be difficult to explain with words. The wind rushing past their faces at incredible speeds as they fall, the sensation of flying without—well, at least for Sergey, since our two heroes can actually fly—still, it feels good to just fall, and not to mention the view that comes with it. Seeing everything from above gives them a whole other perspective on things, everything seems so small and tiny. They slow down just before they hit the water and they dive in. Splash! That splash of the cold water hits their faces and it feels very good, refreshing. They surface and float there for a second, waving their arms and legs to stay afloat. “Alexandra did not want to join?” Sergey asks. “Oh, I asked her, but yeah, she didn’t wanna,” he answers. Olivia does a backstroke for a few meters before just floating on her back, enjoying that sun and the feel of the water on her skin. They all followed her example, though Takashi couldn’t do it the first time and nearly sinks down. “Oh shit!” he exclaims, somewhat unintelligible cause of the water. After resurfacing, he tries again for the second time, successfully. It’s very nice…relaxing. “We did it, Andrei. You didn’t die in vein,” he speaks to his friend, quietly and privately.

As they enjoy themselves and have fun with the swim, Alexandra sits down on one of the benches and pulls out a book she has been carrying. She brushes the hair out of her eyes as the wind blows. The book looks pretty old, with the cover a little crumpled and wrinkled, but still good nonetheless. She opens to the page where she bookmarked and continues reading—she had started reading it on the space station. It was a good way to pass the time when she had nothing to do; she brought a few books with her to the station for that purpose. She stops for a second to see them swimming and playing in the water, akin to children swimming at the pool. She smiles. There’s nothing wrong with that. She then proceeds to continue reading.

It’s nearing sunset now and they finally get out of the water. They’re soaking wet and their hands are a little pruned up, but that’s half the fun. Yay! She stops reading and makes sure to bookmark the page before putting it away. “Well, how was it?” she asks them. “It was awesome!” Takashi answers. It’s at this point that they start to shiver from the cold. “You guys do know that we do not have any towels, right?” she tells them. “Oh, come on. There’s gotta be some around here…right?” Olivia assumes, shivering. “Maybe there are some in the car or rather in the trunk, I mean,” Takashi adds. “I do not think so, but I can check.” She heads over to the car with the keys and unlocks it. Just as they had suspected, she returns empty handed. “As I said, we have no towels,” she repeats. “Oh fuck!” Sergey exclaims. They look around and Takashi spots a small store-like building. “Yes!” He flies over there in a flash. It seems like a clothing store, though unfortunately it’s locked. Smash! He smashes the window and enters. Towels, towels, towels… Where are the fucking towels?? Olivia and the others have just reached the place, but he’s nowhere to be found. There’s a crash at the back. She goes to check to see him going through boxes and boxes trying to find the object that could bring about their salvation from this cold. But alas, he can’t seem to find any. So he decides to use one of the clothes instead. “Ah, these are…those things you wear around swimming pools, right?” he asks. “Yeah, I think so.” “Good.” He then uses it to dry himself off. It’s not a towel, but it’s working just fine, to some degree, so it’s sufficient.

While Olivia goes to the storeroom, Sergey grabs one as well and dries himself off. “Yes!!” she screams. They both go to check what’s up. And to their surprise, she found the towels, or rather, a towel. It looks amazing, almost glowing, in their eyes. They wanna touch it. “Ohh, sorry, boys. This one’s mine,” she tells them. “Are there more?” Takashi asks, half-crying. “Probably,” she rummages through, “oh yeah, there’s more.” Sergey and Takashi quickly drop the clothes and jump to the pile, grabbing one towel each. “Oh, fuck yes!!!” they shout out. It feels so much better than the clothes. Alexandra just watches from outside as all this happen, smiling and laughing. She’s glad that she didn’t decide to join them in the water. After all that ridiculousness, they go back outside to watch the sunset. The red hue looks amazing as it sets on the horizon. It looks quite big now when they compare it to the buildings, which seems small in comparison. “Not counting the queen hitching a ride with us and nearly killing us, this was a good day. Fun,” she says. “It was a good day,” Sergey adds, “the first in a very long time.” They then take a moment to just appreciate the scenery and what’s happening around them. The quietness is nice and peaceful. “So what do we do now?” Alexandra asks. “I don’t know. And isn’t that great?” Olivia says, smiling, “we’ll figure it out. For now, let’s just enjoy the moment.” Takashi smiles and thinks about it, but then stops. She’s right. They’ll figure it out. For now they should just enjoy being here and being alive. They lean against the railing and continue to watch the sun go down, waiting for it to completely set.

The End
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