Katya came to congratulate him on Tuesday afternoon. She gave him a hug with her shoulders, her black hair tied up tight behind her head. She gave me a hug too. I could feel her heart thumping against me.
“It is amazing isn’t it?” Aidan said. “Aidan Jones going to Mars.”
Katya agreed it was amazing.
I asked her what she was up to these days.
“I’m teaching physics part-time.” Katya said. I have a wee boy – just turned three.”
It seemed only a few years since Aidan was that size. Aidan left to check to his messages, while we were sharing toddler stories. I saw Katya out.
That night I went outside, to look up at the stars. Aidan had looked out the door at me. I was going to tell him how much I enjoyed those evenings long ago, standing outside with him leaning against me, smelling the wood fires, feeling the chill against my face and staring up at the myriad of stars. Aidan hadn’t come outside. He was not used to Christchurch’s temperatures after California.
We went to the University on Wednesday for more speeches. Katya was sitting at the back, with a little boy driving cars around her feet. Aidan glared at him when he dropped a car on the wooden floor as the vice chancellor was finishing his introduction.
I played with Katya’s little Theo while Aidan caught up with his old lecturers and then suddenly he was calling me to his next appointment.
The whole week was one event after another. I began to feel like his secretary.
On his last day he had no more appointments. Now was my chance.
5 Favourite Sights Seen
- 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
- 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
- 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
- 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
- 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.