Kimbra was singing in her heart as she executed a series of flawless pirouettes. “We’re going to get married!”
She never thought Sebastian would ask her given the circumstances, and knowing he was a traditionalist, she was determined not to ask him.
But he did, he did, he did and she was walking on air and sunshine and then doing cartwheels. Kimbra had to stop because the crowds at the Village were getting too thick. She skipped and danced between the people, giggling and smiling at each of them, as if they were all the most wonderful human beings to grace the planet.
Sebastian was a total movie geek so the perfect place to have the wedding would be the Cinema. They didn’t have a large hall, just smaller party rooms, but they wouldn’t invite many guests. She still had to decide which of his three favorite movies they’d watch. None of them were romantic comedies which would make it tough, but she didn’t care if he wanted to watch Jaws as long as they watched it together on their wedding day.
“Yes, Ms. Steen. Right this way.” Raphael Bowie, one of the day managers of the theatre escorted her through the lobby. All of the movies being shown and those advertised to be “Coming Soon” were light-hearted comedies for “the young and the young at heart.” Movie houses always showed funny movies when real life wasn’t very funny.
She could hardly contain herself and decided not to, so while “call me Rafe” solemnly led the way, she skipped behind him like a schoolgirl.
“Here we are.” Rafe unlocked one of the party rooms and opened the door for her. Kimbra skipped inside and then hopped around the parameter of the long banquet tables. The walls were decorated with movie posters, the latest film from Pixar, a space comedy from Disney, something called “The Laughing Superhero,” but she couldn’t tell if it was DC or Marvel, a dozen others she didn’t care about. Then she stopped hopping and landed right in front of the manager.
“Yep, yep, yep. Looks great. We can bring our own cake, right?”
“Why yes, of course. We can cater as much or as little of the event as you’d like, Ms. Steen.”
“Soon to be Mrs. Koehler, Rafe.” She saw his eyebrow shoot up for a second and realized he wasn’t accustomed to hearing the archaic title.
He probably wasn’t always this serious, but she was so effervescent and she never stopped smiling for a second, so he likely thought he had to be her counterbalance. Good luck with that.
“And the other special arrangements?” She was still moving up and down like a latter-day “Tigger.”
He consulted his smartphone. “Ah yes. I believe we can accommodate Mr. Koehler. We’ll make one of the side entrances available for the Bride and Groom and these doors are double-wide so that won’t be a problem.”
“Yes, I see that here. Not to worry. We can adjust the temperature and humidity to the required specifications, both here and in the theatre. It might be a little uncomfortable for you and your guests, but…”
“Just as long as Sebastian is taken care of, Rafe.”
He looked up from his phone. “You must love him very much, Ms. Steen.”
“Love doesn’t even begin to cover it, Rafe. He’s the most everything I’ve ever wanted.” She was still smiling as she watched his expression shimmer between melancholy and pity. “Hey, none of that, Rafe. I’m going to get married. This is the happiest day in any girl’s life. Enjoy it with me.” Impulsively she hugged him and after a moment he tentatively patted her on the back.
“Gotta go, now. Wedding dress to buy and tux to rent. Cake to bake and invitations to send.”
“Let me show you out the side. It will be where you and Mr. Koehler will enter next…” he looked down at his phone again “…on the twenty-second.” He closed and locked the door behind her and then walked down a different corridor. Kimbra skipped behind Rafe and was tempted to run circles around him just for giggles.
“Okey dokey, Rafe. Ten days. I’ll be getting married in ten beautiful, glorious days.”
She couldn’t see his face but she could imagine what he was thinking, that she was out of her mind for loving Sebastian, that she was wasting her time, money, and energy. But loving was never a waste and her beloved’s transience made him all the more beautiful to her.
Back in his apartment, he was sitting and waiting. He kept his mind occupied with a neural link to the internet. What Kimbra called his “souped-up thermostat” kept his rooms at a constant thirty-seven degrees celsius with a seventy-nine percent relative humidity. His heart, lungs, and most of his other internal organs continued functioning due to a combination of cybernetic implants and customized pharmaceuticals.
Everyone in the world had heard of Sebastian Koehler, the inventor of the Apilaire Field. He had saved the lives of millions when the other side launched their nukes at us and our side retaliated. The Field made nuclear fission impossible for a total of one hundred and nine minutes but it had a limited range. He couldn’t save the other side, halfway around the world, but he saved 200 million people in our country. Unfortunately, another 123 million perished.
That was four years ago and the world was slowly recovering. All the nuclear nations had signed non-aggression pacts in the aftermath and the planet was leisurely spinning toward a peace.
The world was slowly recovering but Sebastian Koehler never would. He insisted on being the sole operator of the device in the shielded control chamber. The Field was far from perfected and although the nuclear suppression effect was harmless to those in the targeted areas, the secondary field generated by the projector began the slow and inevitable process of decay in every cell in the physicist’s body. He had three months to live.
To say that Kimbra had always been in love with Sebastian was to deny her complete devotion toward him. Yet he never managed to see that in her, even when they were children playing together in kindergarten. Now that a sedate and painful death was looming over him like a shadow, his vision became startlingly clear.
Kimbra was going to marry the person she fell in love with when they were five years old and her euphoria was a tangible force, like an ocean’s wave crashing onto the shore or a gale bending the world to her will. Nothing could stop them from getting married and she longingly anticipated the joy of spending each minute of her life with him until death do them part.
There would be time enough for tears after that. Until then, there was only the joy.
I wrote this for the Sunday Writing Prompt #241 “Euphoria” hosted at Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie. It’s a simple challenge that requires the author use the word “euphoria” as the inspiration for writing a poem, short story, or other creative work.
I also used a term from today’s Wordle:
Wabi Sabi – In traditional Japanese aesthetics, Wabi-sabi (侘寂) is a world view centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō), suffering (苦 ku) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空 kū).
What’s “euphoria” without its antonym? Kimbra is an irrepressible personality and although she has always loved Sebastian, the short time he has left has made him even more beautiful in her eyes.