Space Girl Blues
by Bruce Pavalon
A young man with a troubled past falls in love with a young woman who believes she’s been abducted by aliens and that one of her alien abductors has fallen in love with her.
Chapter 19: She’s Not There
Aaron waited for Laura to arrive and relieve him. He then left the bakery and went to Dorothy’s Victorian mansion. He took Anini’s stun gun and laser with him in a hand-knit bag. He walked up the front steps to the front door and rang the doorbell.
Dorothy opened the door. “Yes?”
“Is Anini there?”
“I mean, Annie.”
Dorothy leaned toward Aaron and squinted through her scratched bifocals. “Is something wrong?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Earlier this morning, she ran in and out of here as though the world was about to end, and on her way out, she was wearing a backpack.”
“A backpack?! Do you know where she went?”
Dorothy shrugged. “I wish I knew.”
“Well if you find her, can you tell her my television reception is much better?”
“I’ll be sure to tell her that.”
Aaron turned and walked down the snowy stone steps of the Victorian mansion. He went to his and Bud’s apartment, trying to think of where Anini might be: bus stations, train stations, airports, truck stops; she could be anywhere in the greater metropolitan area. All he could be sure of was that she was on her way out of town.
Aaron entered the apartment still lost in thought about where Anini might be and everything that had happened that morning. Bessie greeted him as she always did with a lick across the face.
“She’s gone,” announced Aaron.
Bud was sitting at his computer, watching a video on YouTube. “Come over here,” said Bud. “There’s something I want to show you.” He got up out of his chair and offered it to Aaron. “Sit down and watch this video. My professor showed it today in psychology class. I think you’ll like it.”
Aaron unbuttoned his jacket. “I don’t have time to watch a video. I need to find Anini.”
“First, you need to sit down and watch this video.”
Aaron sat down.
“Now count how many times the people wearing black shirts pass the ball between themselves,” instructed Bud.
Bud hit play, and Aaron watched a video of two groups of three people passing a basketball between themselves. One group was wearing white shirts, and the other was wearing black shirts. Aaron carefully counted the number of passes of the black shirted group. The video lasted forty seconds.
“So how many times did the black shirted group pass the ball?” asked Bud.
“I think twenty times,” responded Aaron. “I don’t see what this has to do with anything.”
“That’s the problem. You aren’t seeing the whole picture. My professor called it inattentional blindness, but it was originally called ‘selective looking’ by Dr. Ulrich Neisser when he did the experiment back in 1979. Now, watch the video again, but this time, don’t count the passes.”
Bud hit play on the video, and Aaron watched the video again. This time, toward the end of the video, Aaron saw a woman carrying an umbrella walk through the people passing the basketball. Aaron was stunned. He hadn’t seen her the first time he watched the video.
“You see,” said Bud. “You aren’t seeing everything.”
Aaron stood up. “You’re right, Bud. That’s shocking. I just wish I knew what I wasn’t seeing. Can I borrow your van?”
“I need to spend some alone time at the igloo with Bessie and think things over.”
“Sure. Just don’t get abducted by aliens again. I’ve got a morning class tomorrow.”
“If the aliens come, I’ll be ready.”
“Somehow, that doesn’t make me feel comfortable. Just don’t let an umbrella-toting woman walk past you without noticing.”
“I’ll try not to.” Aaron grabbed Bud’s keys off the table, whistled for Bessie and opened the door. Bessie ran out the door, and Aaron followed.
Aaron couldn’t help himself. He had to look for Anini. He went to the Amtrak Station, the Greyhound bus station, a couple of truck stops and the airport. Then he faced the truth and admitted his chances of finding her were slim, so he did what he said he was going to do and went to the igloo.
* * *
Aaron found himself once again examining the Alien Triangle that was etched into the ice wall of the igloo, wondering what had really happened that night. His hand-knit bag with the stun gun and laser lay on the ground beside him. Bessie watched him faithfully. He shook his head and lay down, and Bessie cuddled up to him. Deep in thought, he closed his eyes. Would he ever really know the truth about anything? Was it even possible to ever really know the truth about anything? He fell asleep, pondering reality.
Anini awakened Aaron. She leaned over him looking into his eyes. She had stuck her open umbrella into the frozen ground in the middle of the igloo. At first, he thought he was dreaming. Then she reached out and touched his cheek. Her hands were cold.
“Anini, what are you doing here?”
“Does it matter?”
“How did you know I was here?”
“You have my laser.”
“How did you get here?”
“I have my ways.”
“So you know the truth about Nikoli?”
“Can you really know the truth about anyone?”
“I don’t know, but I know that your stun gun is broken. Nikoli faked being shocked.”
“I know.” Anini kissed Aaron. “Thanks. You’ve helped me more than you realize.”
“We should stop him.”
“I can handle things from here.”
“So you’re staying?”
“We should go get Nikoli right now, blast him off this planet.”
“Do you really want to talk about Nikoli right now?” She kissed him again.
“I guess when you put it that way...” He kissed her back. He still was unsure what was going on, but he liked the feel of her lips against his lips. He touched her waist and pulled her closer to him. She unzipped her snowmobile suit.
“I’m grateful for all you’ve done for me.” She kissed him again and grabbed his waist, pulling him even closer.
“What have I done for you?”
“You believed me. You believed in me. I needed that.”
He could feel her body through her thin shirt. He slipped the top of her snowmobile suit down to her waist, and they embraced. Physically, it was the closest they had ever been to each other. It was what he had longed for. He never wanted to let her go. They rolled onto the blanket-covered floor. Bessie moved to the far side of the igloo and curled up into a ball.
Aaron still had so many questions, but at this moment, none of the answers mattered. To Aaron, what happened next was much more than sex. It was the filling of the void, the void of the bagel, the void of his life, and for that short period in time, nothing else mattered.
Copyright © 2015 by Bruce Pavalon