Two souls are kept apart by the terrible thief of love that is time. Now rewritten, they reflect the insecurity of life, even in a parallel universe.
Will Aidelle and Phillip's dream of being reunited ever have a happy ending?
The union of a man and woman was always meant to signify a new spark of life, even if not every relationship succeeded. In one of two continents that lay warring across a band of ocean, which, known to both and considered property of both, had been given the name of ‘the Big Sea’, servants still worked in a hierarchy of ants for the upper-class, despite the turn of a new century, considered fairer by most. There, time was meant to run between two people in a just way, but for one couple, in particular, the eyes of time had split.
A sunlit street stretched its shining tarmac, and two footsteps echoed in the hum of the late morning, followed by the low tones of a soft voice.
“Sixteen steps forward,” a woman murmured, giggling as she took those steps carefully, her eyes covered by a pair of hands, softly resting on her face.
“Don’t worry, you’re in safe hands,” the owner announced to her, his words sliding softly.
The woman was led over both grass and concrete. Along the way, her guardian pushed past a slice of newspaper that thwapped against his leg in the day’s light wind. It was a page from the previous month, reading ‘July 2010, scientists claim that motorcars and motorised taxicabs are suitable, and safe, for all, not just the rich’. The headline and its subtext were typically extravagant hyperboles of the corporation, but it highlighted the issue that had been steadily rising from the beginning of the year.
The man watched the paper float away, flying higher, and he noted text pasted to the reverse: ‘women still not allowed to fight in battles or war-zones, despite government passing the freedom of clothing act more than a year ago.’
The man shrugged; it was old news. He had a different duty now, away from choosing a path ahead according to the daily mails. His new life was beckoning with open arms.
As the small gale raged up, he twisted the girl in his hands so that her long hair did not whip against her face.
“The hands make all the difference,” he remarked with a grin, as if it was necessary to continue some unspoken conversation between them.
“Many hands make light work?” the lady recited, having favoured the proverb for many years; but already her partner was busy unveiling his dreams.
“And…open your eyes…”
The lady, who had been graced with the name ‘Aidelle Masters’, did as she was told, and her eyes widened in joyful surprise.
“Oh, Phillip, it’s beautiful!” Aidelle gazed around the two-storey building; as well as the little flower garden residing out the front, Phillip knew that there was a large grass lawn spreading out behind the house, bordered with a patio for the heat of summertime; the walls were brick, a red light enough that it was bordering on becoming a shade of sunrise, and each window had a neat white-painted cross-frame.
“Oh, it delights me! No imperfections here,” Aidelle remarked, her voice fading to be dreamy.
Phillip watched the woman, noting the way her eyes soared over the building and the blue sky, focusing on nothing. When Aidelle’s eyes had completed their roam, Phillip turned his curious gaze on her.
She had been daydreaming again.
“What is it that’s there on your mind?” Phillip pestered.
“Nothing,” Aidelle replied. However, it was obvious that she was lying.
“What? Come on, you can’t lie to me.”
“Well, it’s nothing, really. But…when I was waiting for your taxicab to pull in, I noticed another of those women- you know, those pretty socialites- watching me with a sneer on her equally-proportioned face. I don’t know what it is about me that they hate so much… Unless, it was that she thought I looked odd…again.”
“They’re bitter, and don’t know any better. Ignore it. You certainly don’t look odd to me. I hope you treated her to a maths problem. They may think that a smart frock can grant any attention, but women of this time don’t care for the pursuit of knowledge. Unfortunately, I certainly know of that fact; my sister-in-law and mother are just the same. You haven’t met them yet, I believe, but you’ll see. Just…please try not to upset Mother. She can be…stormy.”
“Phillip…I know what you’re doing. Don’t distract me.”
“I only do so if you must linger on things past. Just ignore them. Or show them that you’re better, no matter what you look like.”
“I couldn’t just stop. I wanted to throw myself at her, but there seemed no point.”
“Good. Aggression should be concealed, not led to thrive.”
There reigned silence, in which Aidelle rubbed a thumb over her flat lips, thinking.
“Phillip, I don’t like my nose. It’s too crooked.”
“Neither do I, but do you see me complaining?”
“You are most certainly gorgeous! You do not have to worry! As for me…”
“Steady good looks and ‘smooth features’ are not-”
“Don’t say what are think you are about to! Please. If society has seen your family as being high class in not just money…”
“Why are we even bickering in this way? Aidelle, I don’t care what you look like; it’s your heart robed in gold that helped me fall in love with you.”
Then woman sighed alongside him.
“I just wish I could be as good as them.”
Still pensive, Aidelle cast her hazel-shaped eyes across their travelled path, gazing back a distant stretch of grassland that jutted, unusual, from the concrete moulds of land around the house. She felt Phillip guide his hand through her tangled hair, already frizzing up in what chill there was in the summer sunshine.
“It’s going to be a mess later,” she remarked, mostly for her own benefit, as she tossed her head, ready to grow in expanding inflorescence life. Long gone from the cusp of budding, now Aidelle flourished in her self-contained sunlight.
“Does that matter even a bit? Now wait until you see the interior.” Phillip grinned and pulled her along by the hand.
He slipped a silver key from his pocket and fitted it into the lock of the door. Aidelle grinned, her heart filling with rich happiness; she was finally going to see her new home, a place which would complete her. And what a grand home it was already! Even at a first glance of the interior design, the young woman could tell that this was the building that was perfect for her new life. She tried to examine the exact height of the ground floor in comparison with her own height, but the beauty of the furnishings distracted her. Aidelle’s eyes, sharpened with natural intelligence, betrayed her way with numbers; a calculating mind gave her face a deeper look to it, but if a casual onlooker doubted her powers of persuasion, they would find themselves being wound in the middle of them.