“Is it easier for you to deal with people? At least you look normal.”
“Yes and no. I’d be completely useless without Hubert. He lets me keep up the charade about my age since life is just easier that way. However I can’t escape anything during work.” She sighed.
“Work? What do you do?”
“I’m one of the few remaining experts on Xalvian technology. Not who I intended to become but it just happened that way.”
“Is there much call for Xalvian technology?”
“Nothing new certainly. However Xalvia covered a lot of space before it dissolved. Given that it covered so much space there is remnants of their technology all over the place. Things don’t break very often but normal engineers don’t weren’t training for that kind of technology. Lots of the time it just gets replaced instead of being fixed but sometimes that isn’t an option. When that happens I’m one of the people that is contacted to make everything work again.”
“And when that happens you have to explain yourself.”
“Yeah,” Esme looked down as she spoke, “Most of the time it is fine but sometimes old grudges get in the way or they dislike people like us. Those times I regret my choice of career but I know it wouldn’t really be better elsewhere.”
Sarita growled in understanding. Even in the middle of nowhere it was impossible to completely get away from who you were.
“Well, if you ever need to get away again, you can always come back here to the Poseidon Resort.”
“Thanks, but does that mean you aren’t going to go off and hide for the rest of my visit here?” Asked Esme with a quizzical smile.
“Howww… how did you know I was going to do that?”
“Guess and processes of elimination mainly. You disappeared almost as soon as we first arrived and then this is the only other time I have seen you. Besides you left your large but just inside the door. I would have to be blind not to notice that.”
“Ah, I suppose so. I guess I’ve never really been good at hiding things from people.”
“It seems like that.”
“I’ll have to leave my research expedition until after you leave then.”
“You can tell me some more stories about the ocean.”
“Wouldn’t it be better just to go out and see for yourself?” Asked Sarita.
“Ummm….” Said Esmeralda hesitantly. “Only if you go with me. I don’t think I could do it alone.”
“A promise then.”
“I’m going to regret this aren’t I?”
“Congratulations Daddy! Your book is done!” Said Esmeralda as she pulled the cord on a small party popper. Confetti sprayed out of it and she and Clemens began to clapped. They were all sitting at one of the booths in Diver’s Delight.
Hubert was looking embarrassed as he waved his hands in front of his face. “No no no, it isn’t that impressive. The book was going to be done sooner or later. There isn’t that much to congratulate me for.” Although his appreciative smile countered the words he was speaking.
“I can’t wait until it gets published to read it Daddy!”
“Can’t you read it while he is writing it or just after it is done?”
Esme looked pouty while she folder her hands and looked down, “No, Daddy won’t show me anything until after it has been approved by his editor.”
Hubert looked even more embarrassed, “Listen without my editor to look over everything it is really rough. It is tough enough having people read what I wrote after it has gone through editing but before? Impossible, I would die of shame.” It sounded a little insincere coming from an older bearded man.
“What is your story about? If it is alright to asked before it goes to the editor.” Asked Clemens.
“I suppose I can share a little. It is a piece of historical fiction. About life that happened before the dawn of space travel. Most of the works concerning that time period where written near or during that time. That can make those stories difficult for a modern reader. For example some readers do not correctly understand how the concept of money works and most of the stories just assume the reader understands. In my books I like to explain how things are different in a way that is understandable.”
“That sounds fascinating. I’d love to read it when you finish publishing it.” Said Clemens, “Do you think you could send a copy here when it is finally done. Since you wrote a bunch of it here I think this place should have a copy of your book.”
Hubert nodded, “Yes, I would like for both you and Sarita to read it. It will probably still be a few months before everything is actually fully done but I’ll make sure to send a copy.”
“Does that mean you two will be leaving soon?” Asked Clemens.
Esme frowned and said, “Yes sadly, I’ve gotten a new request.”
Hubert put one of his hands on Esme’s hand and nodded grimly, “Yes, it looks like our vacation will end soon and I only just finished my book. We are going to be leaving in three days.”
“It will be much more quiet around here without the two of you.”
“Then are you planning on continuing to stay here?” Asked Hubert.
“Hmm, for now at least until I figure out where I want to go next. Although if I’m waiting for you book then I will stay here until it arrives.”
“Well good luck figuring out your path in life. Things have be difficult if you don’t have a direction to continue to walk in.”
As Hubert spoke the meal delivery robot arrived and rose up to like the tray full of plates onto the table. “But if you continue to have good food like this here I’m not surprise you don’t want to leave.” Hubert grabbed his own plate and put it in front of him and then grabbed the smaller children’s meal to place in front of Esme.
They continued to talk while enjoying the meal.
After a while Hubert excused himself from the table saying, “I’ll be right back” Leaving just Esmeralda and Clemens.
Once Hubert was out of sight Esme said “If you want anything to change between yourself and Sarita then you really need to say something to her, just stalking her is not a good idea.”
“I’m… I’m not stalking her.” Clemens stammered.
“No? Pining wistfully then? Either way is not healthy.” She had her child sized fork stuck is a small yellow vegetable and was waving it in front of herself.
“People can come to all kinds of arrangements, like mine and Hubert, but you need both parties to accept them. Even if you just want to live down here and have no interest in her then you should still talk that out with her. She had been living down her for a long time and has made this place her home.”
“You are right, I know that, but still.”
“This” She pointed the fork at him, “This is what is keeping you directionless. I can’t tell you how to live your life but even the the prefect direction appears if you don’t follow it then it might be lost forever. I think the saying goes, ‘Better to have loved and lost then never to have loved at all’. Choosing to abandon a path you are unhappy with is one thing but never following one is something else.”
She then took the fork and placed the vegetable in her mouth before chewing, “But that is just some advice from a kid.”
About that time Hubert returned from the bathroom while carrying a small plate of deserts, “The robot was delivering this to the table to I decided to grab it and save the poor thing the trip.”
“Welcome back Daddy, ooh, is that a piece of cake shaped like a shell! That is the one that I want.”
“Yes, yes, here you go. But you shouldn’t act so spoiled, other people might get angry at you.”
She just stuck out her tongue and proceeded eat the cake.
Both Hubert and Clemens laughed at the display.
“So you are really going to be leaving tomorrow?” Asked Sarita.
She and Esmeralda had taken over the private theatre in the resort had been watching some movies. Either taste in movies were almost completely different but they still enjoyed each others company.
“Yes, it is very sad. However work calls and if I stay on vacation any longer I think I am going to go crazy.”
“I guess I understand that. Still it will be more lonely around here without you.”
“Well, all visits pass with time. But I’ll make sure to send you some messages and I know Hubert is planning to send this place a copy of his book when it is finally finished publishing. I’ll even force him to sign it for you. My job never takes me near here but if I find myself with an excess of free time I’m make sure to stop by, maybe the next time Hubert is struggling to finish a book.”
“I’m not going to go anywhere so I’ll be right here when you want to come back and visit.”
Esmeralda nodded, “I’m glad to know that I’ll continue to be welcome here however I would like to give you a little advice before I leave.”
“I know I look really young but I have a bunch of useful tips. The first is that you aren’t nearly as averse to people as you think you are. You opened up to me extremely quickly. Sure I know we share some situations but that still isn’t enough to explain it. I feel like you are lonely down here and occasionally need some company.”
Sarita turned her head not really wanting to accept what Esmeralda was telling her.
“When there are other guests try talking to them, even a little. Maybe tell them about the ocean. I’m sure your enthusiasm about it will spread to them too.”
“I’m not so sure about that.”
“Oh at at least make some small talk with Clemens. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t hate you and if he is also planning on staying here for a long time then you should not always try and avoid him.”
“I don’t try and avoid him. We just live on different schedules and I spend a lot of time out at sea.”
“Hmm. It looks like things are more complicated here than I though. Even putting Clemens aside remember what I said about other guest. Most people who would head out to a place like this are probably at least a little open minded. Honestly most people don’t mind us it is just some loud outliers which are the exception, remember that.”
“I’ll try to keep that in mind but still…”
“I know it is hard to change a lifetime of experiences but you were able to talk with me so small steps. And if you have difficulty I’ll try to stay in contact. I know interstellar communication is slow but I’ll respond the best that I can.”
With that a pact was made between the two woman.
Soon enough the last day for Hubert and Esmeralda had come and gone and it was time for them to leave the Resort. That had taken their bags out to the main entrance room. Both Clemens and Sarita were their to bid them goodbye.
Sarita passed over a small necklace to Esmeralda. It was make from a variety of colored shells, “I know it isn’t very well made but those shells can only be acquired here. A true souvenir from the Poseidon Resort something you can’t get anywhere else.”
“Thanks, I’ll treasure it.” Said Esme in the tone she used when speaking like a child.
“And I would like to thank the two of you for letting us impose for so long.” Said Hubert.