The Imaginary Friend
Justin was troubled by the emails, first one, now numbering in the dozens. He wasn’t sure how to approach this; was it a fan in a circumstantial crisis, or a fanatic trying to get between him and his wonderful, beautiful and gorgeous fiancé?
The fact that the person clearly indicated and acknowledged his concerns from the beginning was what caused his doubts; the anger, the fear, the resentment. “A normal life...” , his life was normal now wasn’t it? Taking in a deep breath of air from the balcony off his condominium was refreshing to say the least, barely any hint of salt in the moisture of the air from far down below.
He could imagine so many ways this might be negative, but even more that should work out better if he was involved, and no matter what he had involved himself in, in the past, he had always considered the good against the bad, the pros and the cons side by side, the risks with the benefits; then, why was this any different. Then the embrace of his fiancé erasing any and every doubt, leaving him with a smile by the time he turned around with: “Hey.” and returned the hug.
The drive to his mother and father’s house would give him enough time to consider the hypothetical future of this Blasar Incorporated. The research would have been funded by him, wouldn’t it? The amount and scope of the projects involved would mean that he had made the choice to trust this person, this Asterick Epsiton.
But, was it Asterick? It was one person and the possibility of a business. What if he did agree and ended up with Quetzalcoatl, Quetzalpapalotl or Tuk, or any other number of Blasar associates...
After saying hello to his father, who was busy as usual with his hobbies, still restless with retirement, even so many years later – a drive he admired every time he recalled.
The fresh baking in the kitchen had beckoned to him the moment he stepped into the house and had urged him to run to the kitchen as he had in younger years, but, through the years he had been taught to be respectful and mindful of his father, even if he didn’t turn to look, or seem not to be paying attention, he was.
After sampling the spread of baking a desserts with a glass of milk he was a little more relaxed, checked the doorway to see if his dad was joining them this time.... coast was clear.
“Umm.” he started, then clearing his throat and starting again, “When I was younger, did I have any imaginary friends?” He had thought about the question for a few months already, and had finally picked the words on the drive over.
She laughed, hands to her hips and sighed like so many times before, impressed with the sentence which would start hours of conversation:
“You don’t mean Asterick do you? The trouble you two used to cause, the grief you caused your father and I that summer...What did you used to call him? Ahh, yes, Ast the Alien from ‘Q’-something.
“Quasartia?” Justin asked and blurted at the same time.
“Yes, that was it.” She comment, more testing his memory than her own. Looking for that mischievous tongue sticking out the side of his mouth, what a long ordeal that was, just to break him out of that habit. If she had a nickel for every time she had corrected him with: “Keep your tongue in your mouth.” The over active imagination, the hyperactive moments, which had required an outlet for his boundless energy, thank God for the entertainment industry. Even mentioning the name “Asterick” to her husband would turn his face beet red with frustration, that poor vehicle he had worked on for so many years... she shook her head.
“So, here’s the thing,” he started, then, again, clearing his throat... but she had already known what to say in this situation:
“Whatever it is, don’t worry about it, focus on the wedding. Your career has been blessed, everything is going in the right direction.”
She smiled warmly, then they made some small talk the rest of his visit, fine-tuning travel itineraries for family and family-friends...normal stuff...
On his way back home he had gotten the call from the ‘fashionista extroidinaire’, the dress was ready. An evening dress, it was just an evening dress he had to keep repeating to himself the rest of the drive there. That the design came from Blasar Incorporated didn’t matter, how she reacted was what mattered.
He expected a smile and a thank you for the flowing rainbow design with bold black accent borders, what he got was playfully tackled onto their bed with: “It’s great!!” then she continued: “Left it on the hanger, I’m cancelling the wedding dress, I’m marrying you in that dress...”
He went to the office then next day on a mission... the wedding present. After twenty or more calls to aquarium designers he finally found one that would be able to work with the extensive details of the waterfall edging along the stairs, the causeway over the art showcase gallery and the final water fall and flow into the main aquarium, the tube extensions to the other levels had to be modified to a square pattern with metallic reinforcements every four feet, but would still be “...the finest artistic work of my career...” or the so the tropical aquarium designer had commented.
He emailed the condo specs to the designer, as well as the idea specifications, but most importantly, her favourite colors for the metallic accents and the fish selection. The construction would take place while they were on their honeymoon and hopefully she would have the same reaction as with the dress.
Deleting the incoming emails from Blasar Incorporated in favour of not worrying, being happy and living a normal life was easy, liberating even. He’d be talking to the web designer about a block address feature during the next overhaul.
Imaginary Friends Continued…
Ast from Quasartia had really gotten on the nerves of many of Justin’s family and friends, he had spoiled dinnertime, upset neighbors, ruined friendships, but overall, The Interface had calculated it to be for the ‘best possible calculated outcome’, which had always been good enough reason for Justin and Asterick.
However, the painting of Justin’s dad’s leather seats in his nice car, Ast had gone too far… Justin explained again and again, that it was Ast from Quasartia and the Interface had calculated for the ‘best possible calculated outcome’; which angered his dad to no end, what possible outcome could come from an oversized symbol in white paint on his new caramel leather seats.
“It was a spaceship design by the Intergalaxy.” Asterick explained to Justin who retold it to his dad, but, his face kept getting redder and redder. Not only that, a prototype computer system from the air force that had been stored in the car was now missing. He would be dishonourably discharged in the morning when he was supposed to be doing the initial report, and not a single excuse that Justin was giving him was going to remedy that situation.
Well, the next day, his dad returned with his box of personal effects from work, moved the car into the garage for ‘fixing’, which was now ‘off-limits’, a term his mother and him would be getting used to over the coming years. Justin was relocated into the basement with a plain bed and bedding; and would be joining a television show one of his dad’s co-workers had found for his young troublemaker and his imaginary friend, Tuk from Gardenetopia. When he had settle with his few personal effects, his mom said to him: “You’re going to make me a rich mommy! A few days and you can fill this room with anything you could imagine… but nothing about space or symbols.”
Every so often though, Justin would mention something about a constellation or planet, after he was 19 of course, and check the reaction of his father, face would still turn red, even after all these years. He had bought a new car for his dad, a spaceship air freshener which immediately got thrown out, to which his dad immediately started in with: “You are a very successful person, and what choices you make are yours to make…”. “Whoa, where did all this come from, it’s a car.”
“Next you’re going to be bringing me a quantum computer template.” His dad said, changing the subject.”