The bright sun shone through the purple canopy high above the heads of the walkers in the ancient forest. Both young and in their twenties, the man and woman strolled across the violet grass and yellow dirt. He was tall with his mechanical legs glinting in the sunshine, she was willowy and graceful. The ground beneath their feet gave a shudder.
“I really want to meet you, in the real world. Please?” she begged again. “How else are we going to figure what is going on?”
“Alright… I suppose,” he murmured, sounding resigned to some dreadful fate. “Come and find me when you wake up…”
She beamed brightly, making him smile briefly. The ground groaned as it split open.
Beep beep beep beep!
She woke with a start. She snatched for her phone. Opening her maps app, she typed in the address that was quickly fading from her dreamy memory. As soon as she hit go, her stomach tightened worrying, if it was all just a dream and the address was entirely imaginary, which did not disappear, even when the address was found. Would he be there? Was he real?
She got up, filled with apprehension and got dressed. She stepped out the door into the bright hot sunshine of the tropics. The buses were slow and not on time, yet far too soon she stood in front of an apartment building, and staring at the intercom system. She took a shaky breath and pressed the button.
After a moment, a quiet male voice answered.
“Ah… Hi, it’s me…? We spoke last night…” her confidence abandoned her. What should she say?
“Come on up,” he said, and the door opened.
She stared a moment and then hurried into the air-conditioning. The elevator ride was nerve-wracking. The hallway on the fourth floor was long, and unwelcoming. The door she found herself staring at was frightening in it’s unremarkableness. She knocked.
The door swung open from the force of her knock. She poked her head around the door and called inside.
“Come on in,” the male voice replied.
She carefully pushed the door closed behind her, paranoia inspiring a check that it did not lock behind her. She gripped her phone in her hand tightly as she made her way around the corner to the main room. There a man was sitting in an armchair, slimmer than what she expected, yet a familiar face.
“Hi,” she smiled.
“Hey,” he replied.
“I wasn’t sure you were real,” she said, voicing her main concern.
“I wasn’t sure you were…” he replied. “You look a little different,” he offered.
“Not in a bad way,” he hurried to add.
She glanced around the apartment, trying to find something to do to make the awkward feeling go away.
“Take a seat, please,” he gestured at the couch next to his arm chair.
She tried to navigate her way to the couch gracefully, but failed as she bumped into the table. Giggling shyly, she perched on the couch.
“Not quite as elegant as I am in the forest,” she said blushing, feeling rather embarrassed.
“Nor I as mobile,” he confessed, appearing nervous, as he reached around the chair he sat in, pulling out a walking stick. He rose carefully leaning upon the stick, almost wobbling as he managed to balance himself.
“Come find me when you wake up”