Here goes nothing! It’s the end of Floating to the Ground. Enjoy! 🙂
The restless nights continued, as well as my evening waking to sleep-created crashing sounds. I decided to get up and read to at least distract my mind from Norman until I could fall asleep again. I read about engines—it was a book that he let me borrow or have, depending how you look at it. All I had told him before he gave it to me was that I was sometimes having trouble sleeping. I knew he had some aviation books that seemed didn’t interest me, so I asked to borrow one. The one on engines caught my eye because it sounded like good sleeping material.
I read the book for about an hour before I started to get tired; I honestly don’t know how I lasted that long. I’m sure it didn’t help that my mind kept wandering back to him.
When I woke up the next morning, I felt hollowed out. I willed myself to school; I don’t remember what my professor said. In between moments of him talking about theories, I scrawled pebbles and other shapes that didn’t really look like anything. I yawned and blinked to try to stay awake; my notes were non-existent. Luckily it was just one class.
Later that afternoon, work dragged on. My boss was kind enough not to write me up when I forgot to write a report. I mentioned Norman to her a few weeks ago, and I told her about his deployment and the sudden decision of the Confederation to make his unit serve two years, instead of one. Everything that day seemed like a foggy haze of blocked memory; I even forgot to eat lunch.
My night improved around 6:00; Norman “visited” me (through DTC). It was great to look into his eyes again and hear his voice! I wanted to reach out and touch him, but I obviously couldn’t. He asked me how I was doing, already knowing the answer to that question. There was a longing in his eyes, but they were also strangely lit up with excitement. I guess the trip over to The Assignment, a bit of sleep and some basic training in the day had been good to him. I could have spoken to Norman all night, but they have limited DTC use, unlike here. After about twenty minutes, it was time to say goodnight. He said, “Marcia, I love you; I will be back—believe that. Then we’ll get married, start a family. It’s going to be okay.” He even wiped some tears from his eyes while I was wiping my own.
I said, “I love you too, Babe,” and then we signed off. Bed seemed like the only livable place to be after that. I couldn’t handle any more emotion or any more thinking. My chest was aching. It felt like my heart had been ripped open, exposed and pulsating whenever I thought about him.
At 10:21 a metal crash woke me from my sleep again. It seemed like this subconscious nocturnal ritual would never stop. It was odd because I was still hearing something, but I didn’t know what. About two minutes later, my doorbell rang; when I opened it, it was Jon…Jon who was supposed to be on The Assignment with Norman. Although his eyes seemed opened in alertness, his eyes sqinted as he said, “Come with me, quickly.” We started running down the stairs. My heart was pounding with questions and nervous excitement. When we got to bottom, he firmly told me to “look up.” I couldn’t quite make out the shape in the dark, but I saw something floating to the ground. Jon shined a high-powered flashlight on it; it was a parachute with a landing pod. I felt confused, like I was still sleeping and nothing was coherent. Jon said, “It’s Norman. Go to him.”
“What?!” I ran to Norman, as he stepping out of the pod. “What’s going on? How…?” I was crying and laughing, but still a little confused about what I was witnessing. “How are you here?” My tension was relieved, but my mind couldn’t accept reality.
“Come with us. Jon and some anti-Dominion citizens helped me arrange this. We can be together, but we have to leave now; there’s a borrowed plane waiting in Universal Park. We’re going to fly to the land state, Louisiana, where there’s an underground community that lives near an abandoned air force base; they’re expecting us.”
I had no doubt about what I needed to do that night. I loved Norman, and Ethereal no longer felt like home because of the widespread tentacles of The Dominion.
When we got on the plane the pilot said, “Welcome to the Underground” as he winked at me just like my dad used to; I smiled as I remembered my dad. Jon, Norman, and I secured ourselves for our immediate take off. Norman and I held hands when the pilot announced, “Prepare for take-off.”