Heather December was oh so excited. Aarav Rohan had finally decided to show her India.
“Tritons can’t prism, but they can decide to spend time with people,” she kept informing him.
“Don’t worry,” he told her. “We’ll get to it.”
Aarav found Heather in her Theatrium the next day as promised. Her Theatrium was barely attended, as usual.
“My princess,” he said upon arrival.
Heather was oh so happy to see him.
“You remember how I’ve been promising you I’d take you to Mumbai and show you around as it looked when I was growing up?” he said.
“Of course!” Heather knew she could go visit Mumbai in any time period whenever she liked, but without Aarav the trip would be bland and pointless.
“Well, it’s time to go,” said Aarav. “I’ve even prepared a song for us.”
He opened his Tag. Sweet licks of fingerpicked guitar were heard, smooth slices of electricity. Heather recognized it right away. It was from a band they’d both bonded over, a globally famous group that both a Swedish girl and an Indian boy could recognize and appreciate.
The winter doesn’t want you, it haunts you
Summer serenadings a long way
from this frozen place, your face
He danced with her around her Theatrium tables, on the many casino games set up. They danced towards the Theatrium exit.
Our teacher, our preacher, it’s nature
and like flowers growing in a bomb crater
from nothing, a rose, it grows
He opened a phase portal out of her Theatrium and led her through it. Arid heat shimmers were on one side of the door and steam was on the other.
I been thinkin bout the west coast
not the one that everyone knows
We’re sick of living in the shadows
We’ve got one more chance before the light goes
For a summer of love
“Summer of Love by U2, may their voices live on,” said Heather into her hand, paying tribute to the boys from Ireland.
“Your verse, my princess,” said Aarav, as they stepped through the phase portal onto a street made of baked bricks. He held a hand out.
Heather accepted it and stepped through. She sang.
Freezing, we’re leaving, believing
that all we need’s to head over somewhere
in a summer to come, so we run
They walked down the street, shops and sights all around them. The ocean was ahead. The place was packed with people. They all parted for Heather and Aarav.
I been thinking bout the west coast
Not the one that everyone knows
We’re sick of living in the shadows
We’ve one more chance before the light goes
for a summer of love
They sang the bridge together, in the middle of the street, holding hands and looking into each other’s eyes and harmonizing. People swarmed around them.
Oh and when all is lost
When all is lost we find out what remains
Oh the same oceans crossed
The sun’s pleasure
The sun, it’s pink
They sang one more chorus, skipping the line about the rubble of Aleppo which wouldn’t make any damn sense since that’s in Syria and not India.
Heather appreciated the sentiment. U2 was how they’d first met. They’d had their first conversation in the Grand Entrance, the topic being whether Bono was as big an ass as he was portrayed. Aarav thought the man was worse but his music was too good to ignore, where Heather maintained his charitable endeavors had been sincere but his music was just okay. Heather’s first words to Aarav were, “You’re full of shit.”
They walked down to the beach, Heather in her white corset and Aarav in his white belt and jacket. Jewels glimmed at their throats.
Heather December was oh so pissed.
Aarav had started complaining about how he still couldn’t find a gay male Exclusive who was willing to settle down with him. Heather hated that. That wasn’t the point of the Palace.
The beach was clean. Aarav said that in heavyspace the beach would’ve been full of garbage and worse. Heather wasn’t that impressed with Mumbai after all. She’d built it up in her mind too much. And it was too fucking hot.
The city rose from curve of the coast. They were alone and yelling at each other. The waves were their only other conversation.
“You need a straight friend,” said Heather. “A straight, male friend who doesn’t want to fuck you so you can’t ruin it.”
“Why don’t you shut the fuck up for three seconds, bitch, and talk about zodiac signs,” Aarav snapped. He’d had enough of Heather’s self-righteous diagnoses and suggestions. He didn’t want her to do anything except listen to him vent.
“I already did that,” Heather snapped back. “With Bai Bai and that one guy from Iceland.”
“I’ve had more dick than you’ve ever had, bitch.”
“Yea, that’s why you’re alone right now.”
“I’m not alone. I’m picky.”
“Well, I eat bunny rabbits for breakfast,” said Heather.
“I’m not drunk, I’m full of cum.” said Aarav.
They laughed at their inside jokes which wouldn’t make sense to you even if I tried to explain them. Their lives didn’t have to make any fucking sense. No one was paying attention anyway.
This was why they were friends. They could go into a nasty fight and come right back out of it again.
“Just think, we’d never of met if it hadn’t of been for the Maya,” said Aarav. “A 40 year old boy from Mumbai and a 34 year old girl from Sweden.”
“Excelsior,” said Heather.
“What do you think of Mumbai?”
“I think it’s poopy,” said Heather.
“It is, isn’t it?”
They sat and watched the sunset over the Indian ocean.