Author: Philip G Hostetler
I met Maggie at an open mic in an art gallery. Well, I met her music first, if a distinction could be made. I didn’t expect such a big sound from such a small woman as she sat at the antique Ancient Earth piano. She pounded, no, attacked the keys like a Mongol horde descending on the Great Wall, and no master stonemason could devise a wall that would stand up to her vibrations. Her voice resounded like a howled funeral ululation, the light in the room poured into and emerged synaesthetically from her. It was dark in the room but for her voice. Light went in and emerged as a sonic phenomena that could be heard even in the vacuum of my heart.
The art gallery itself had been built on a rogue planetoid, so pinning down where and when it was, was a nightmare of trigonometry and telemetry. But it was worth it to hear her. The more I learned about her, the more intrigued I was. As though, like quantum mechanics, as soon as I thought I’d gotten an understanding, a new emergence would baffle and inspire me. That, perhaps, by the simple act of observing her, she changed and always in magical ways.
I’d been lost in the doldrums of plasma plumbing for so long that I didn’t quite know how to act. Inspired would have to do.
This was long before we’d met Dr. Maxell, and was a halcyon time of exploration, traveling by more conventional hypersleep transports rather than Dr. Maxell’s Disentangling Teleporter. We saw worlds, yes, but Maggie always wanted to find places that hadn’t been found, like being in a new place brought out a new ‘her’.
Those journeys are nostalgic for me now, now that I’ve lost her somewhere in the subatomic soup in the pillars of creation. She was always building something great. That was the problem of experiencing the universe from a subatomic perspective, you didn’t always come back together the same way, and a change, sometimes an aloofness about day to day life, would set in.
I’m still lightrope walking, still minding the plasma plumbing and wondering this time where she’s gone, what she’s feeling and if she’s alright. But I’m not worrying too terribly, because of course, it’s where she wants to be, and when she returns she’ll have such stories and sights to share and she’ll do so with eloquence and grace.