BEAM ME UP!
Things don’t happen in one day but we never perceive the sequence of events that culminate in one single act. When you are a child, your imagination always creates worlds of its own. That’s o.k. when it stays in your childhood and your fictional world doesn’t cross the boundaries of adolescence.
“Beam me up!” Richard shouted opening an old make-up powder box from his mother while I was pretending to press buttons here and there to make the teletransport machine underneath the trap of Richard's parents' house work. We played every week, during summers and winters, during falls and autumns. There were always places where no man has gone before and we were eager to discover them. And so this went on till my parents told me that we were moving to London.
“Don’t cry,” Richard’s soft voice tried to comfort me while the tears were rolling freely down my face. “We will always have our communicators to talk and the teletransport machine will put us together in a blink of an eye”.
I couldn’t resist his attempts to make me stop crying and smiling I replied: “Yes, we will keep the channels open”.
We grew up and our lives got more and more apart. The frequent letters got more spaced. I knew it was my fault. My work as a translator at the United Nations in London kept me too busy, allowing me hardly any time to myself. First his letters came every week. Like our plays they were full of Star Trek jargon. Later they began to be scarce. Of course in all of them the main theme was our intergalactic adventures and I realized that our fantasy world was mainly the only thing we had in common, plus the fact that we were born in the same city. Richard never told me about his life. The only small thing I could extract from his letters was the fact that once he had a wife who left him.
Then, one day, by chance, I met him in The City. “Richard?” I called the man wearing a yellow T-shirt who had just crossed me on Trafalgar Square.
He turned back and I could with no doubt see that the man in front of me was indeed my old friend. He was dressed in the Star Trek crew’s uniform: yellow T-shirt with an Enterprise logo on the right side and black collar. Black were also the pants and boots. I was in front of Captain Kirk himself. Even his hair was combed like the character's.
Seeing my astonishment he told me he was joining a Convention and he had graduated to the rank of captain. I laughed with him but his laugh had a different sound in my ears. I was laughing about the situation and for the pleasure of having met him. He was laughing to join me only. Richard told me he was in a hurry. “I need to be beamed up,” he said and we said goodbye.
During many months I didn’t receive any letter or heard from him. I really did my part this time. I wrote two or three letters but got no reply. Then one day I received one letter. It was not from him and not even from anyone I knew, but my name and address were correct.
Dear Ms. Krone.
You certainly don’t know me but I’m sure you know Mr. Richard Cornwell. I know also that you are very good friends and that you have a job as translator in the United Nations Office. These two reasons brought me to write this letter.
Richard needs your help, or better saying, we need your help. Could you please come to see us at St. Joseph Hospital here in London?
Thanks a lot in advance.
It was signed by a certain Sister Agnes. I left all my questions and wonderings aside and ran to the Hospital. There I was welcomed by a nun that led me to the presence of Sister Agnes.
“I’m pleased you came,” she said. Her voice was stronger than her appearance. The small nun conducted me through a corridor full of cells. Shouts and strange noises came from the locked rooms. Seeing my worried look, Sister Agnes comforted me: “Don’t worry, my dear. They are just trying to call attention. Richard is at the end of the hall.”
“What happened with him? Why is he here?” I couldn’t wait anymore to ask the questions that were burning inside my head since I read the letter. What I was looking for, in fact was a little bit of preparation to whatever I could be facing in the next minutes.
She looked at me with surprise. “Richard comes here frequently. Didn’t you know that?”
“Here? No, I didn’t know.” I discovered then that the little I knew about Richard was less than I ever thought. “But this is a hospital for junkies.”
“We don’t call them that around here.”
I could feel the disapproval in her tone. “I’m sorry.”
“Mr. Cornwell is a person with drug problems.”
“How can I help him? Does he need money to keep the treatment?”
“No, the problem is not this.”
“What’s the problem then?”
“Look.” She pointed me to the room on the left end of the hallway. The door was open and Richard was sitting in an upright position looking to the entrance. He didn’t seem to have seen us. His eyes didn’t move or blink.
“Richard, look who’s here!” Sister Agnes got out of the way so I could enter in the cell.
“kai, nuqneH”, he answered.
“What does this mean?” I looked at Sister Agnes, now behind me.
“That’s exactly the problem. We can’t understand what he’s saying. That’s why I called you here. You’re a translator, right?”
“qaStaH nuq?” asked an impassible Richard.
I looked astonished to him.
“But this is...” I stopped my phrase. How could I explain to Sister Agnes that Richard was talking Klingon?
“Do you know what he is saying?”
“No. Well, maybe. Can I stay alone with him?”
She agreed and left. I looked at Richard and I could see a small shine in his eyes.
I approached as he asked and put my hands over his hands.
“luq,” I agreed. Richard was beamed up to a place where only a few had gone before.
© Copyright 2006 Nanda (UN: ftrinta at Writing.Com).
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