Kavya and Tina are throwing a party tonight on the moon.
Wake up, friends ...
~ FIN ~
Under the Sea
A Memory of Memories of Love
Füd and Frans
You get there
Kavyantine on the Moon
Intergalactic Tummy Rumbles
What a Dream
Tôi Không Biet
Burgers in Outer Space
Love and the Cosmic Bridge
Niagara Falls
Less than 6 feet apart
The Damn Stove
Birthday on the Moon
table of contents

Birthday on the moon

I wake up feeling serene and peaceful surrounded by my cat and dog. In the background plays my wake-up song: “Moon Song” from our favorite movie. It suddenly strikes me that today is the day of our adventure with my lovely friends. Today is the day we’re celebrating Kavya’s and Tina’s birthday on the moon!

As usual, I set aside food for the dog first for fear that he will eat the cat food if I feed the cat first. Feeding them is my favorite part of the morning. I watch with a smile on my face as my furry friend licks his lips repeatedly to tell me he loved his food. As I let him out in the backyard, I pour out some of the cat’s favorite food and treats. She purrs in my direction to thank me. Satisfied that they’re both taken care of for the morning, I set aside space for their toys and fill their water bowls. Now to get ready for the day I’ve been looking forward to for so long!

As I shower, I realize I want to wear the dress that Tina and I both have. I think of the time that we went shopping together, took pictures with Aidan, took pictures with each other in the backyard under the bright afternoon sun. I think about Kavya feeling betrayed after that iconic game of Resistance and it still cracks me up to this day. I think of all the ATEC building games and Fish out of Water games. I think about all the movies we watched together during the pandemic. It’s always smiles and laughter with Tina and Kavya. I love them to the moon and back. I quietly dry my hair, play with make-up, and put on the dress with happy memories playing through my head. I make sure to pack the photo album full of Farf memories, all the boba, reusable straws, birthday cupcakes from Sprinkles, and Torchy’s Tacos. Can’t forget the candles that never blow out! I kiss my pets goodbye and lock up the door. I happily skip down the sidewalk to find my cloud waiting for me at the curb.

I gaze down at the earth as my fluffy cloud carries me up and up. The beautiful lake beneath me glitters and sparkles as the lazy waves break through. Wherever my friends are now in their journey, I love that we are flying together towards each other. When we finally break through the atmosphere, the warm darkness of space envelopes me. I dance a little as I feel the weightlessness without gravity pulling me down. The place I call home looks breathtaking from up here. I wait here a moment to fully feel and experience the Earth as I see it now from outer space. Satisfied, I trace circles on the surface of my cloud willing it to carry me to my final destination.

As I serenely gaze up at the moon, I notice it is glowing slightly today. Even the moon seems to be happy about our reunion. I suddenly notice Shiva’s pod shooting past me and wave at him. Earlier, I caught sight of Teja’s penis rocket but he was too busy staring at the cute woman next to him. I made sure to steer clear of that rocket. I notice Rachel waving at me from her Mars-Moon train. I suddenly feel all of the anticipation and excitement that I get to hug them soon!

As I step down from my cloud, I notice that they’re all lying on the moon. Happy birthday Kavya and Tina!

That Damn Stove

*Fuck fuck fuck fuck*
My alarm is blaring, and judging by the time, it has been for maybe half an hour.

*Fuck I’m going to be late fuck fuck fuck*
All I can think about is how quickly I’ll have to shower and change before sprinting out. Maybe I can get by with just deodorant? Na, I’d better shower, it’s a special day. Man, today of all the days to sleep in.

As I threw on the clothes I ironed last night, I wondered if I should get a new alarm. This one clearly wasn’t getting the job done, and may have almost ruined a day I’d been looking forward to. I couldn’t dwell on it, had to keep moving. I grabbed my breakfast pills (lasagna flavored, as usual), and threw them on the stove.

“Just add water”, the container said. Gotta keep it simple.

I made sure to scarf down the lasagna as quickly as humanly possible. I left the dishes in the sink, made sure I had my boarding pass, and grabbed my coat. Before my hands were even through the sleeves of the coat, I was already out the door. I hopped into my hover car and hit the boost to try and make it to the airport in time for my shuttle.

Screeching into the parking lot, I hear over the loudspeaker: “Boarding bay for shuttle KT2020 will close in 30 minutes”. I sprint through the airport security, save for the usual mild hiccup where I was “randomly selected”, but thankfully still made it through with minutes to spare. I meandered over to my seat and plopped down unceremoniously, still out of breath.

We prepared for liftoff. The shuttle’s rockets roared to life, thousands of pounds of thrust flinging this piece of metal away from the Earth and to the place I’d been waiting to go. The Moon. In no time at all, we landed and I called a Lunar-Lyft. I couldn’t wait to see Tina and Kavya for their birthdays!!!

Ah shit, I hope I turned the stove off.

Less than 6 feet apart

Unlike the past two weeks, today I sprung out of bed. It’s finally happening, the day I can SEE and HUG people. You see, the virus hasn’t reached the moon yet because it can’t survive in outer space and it’ll be really nice to take a break from this pandemic.  I thought about how surely some of the other 7 or so billion people on this planet might have our idea of hanging out on the moon and that it would get WAY too crowded…but then I remembered that as co-lunar queens, Kavya and Tina reserved it for their birthday!

As I walked out of  my house and into the “I Love You to the Moon and Back” pod that Elion Musk conveniently built in my neighborhood, I realized that this would be my FIRST time leaving EARTH!! And what a great time to be doing it too. It definitely pays to have friends in high places. I strapped in and reminded myself to ask the birthday gals how exactly they came about ruling a piece of the solar system.

The kind woman on the screen told me to don my N-photosynthesis mask –which  resembles an N-95 mask but has plants on it so that I could breathe –and told me to keep my tray table up and seat in the upright position. A steward bot would be serving complimentary drinks shortly. As I gazed upon the stunning view that was the ENTIRE earth, I thought about how wonderful it is that amongst all of this, that we are still able to get together for such a special moment. I mean…a site like this would make anyone feel totally and completely sappy! My mind ran into other thoughts like how I am incredibly thankful to be able to connect with new and amazing people in a time that I need it the most.

The pod landed ever so smoothly and I already saw a small group gathering outside and <6 ft apart. Kavya and Tina were looking regal AF and were also rocking some beautiful looking crowns. I stepped off the pod and onto the rocky surface feeling high on life and couldn’t wait to wish both of them a VERY happy birthday.

Niagara Falls

“Mah fookin’ ‘ead!” I shout as my body bounces once, twice, thrice, and finally a fourth time upon the floor. I’ve fallen out of bed again. It was the nightmares, as it always is. I dreamt of space.

When I imagine space, I imagine an infinity of darkness. It is my fear of heights extended in every direction. Rumors say that if you fall off the San Francisco Bridge, you’ll die on impact with the water. If you fall off of Niagara Falls, the waterfalls will drown you before you reach the bottom. If you fall into the Grand Canyon, you’ll die of starvation. But space? You’ll die of loneliness.

It is today that I must face my fears, and I know this to be the cause of the morning’s unrest. As I remove my soiled linens from my bed and bid my mother to clean them, I marvel that I might be the bravest man ever to have walked the Earth. Sure, men have done greater things than I. Men have given their lives for their nations, explored uncharted continents, and boldly fought for the values they know will improve the case of humanity. But those men had grand reasons behind their grand actions. When your reason is sufficiently grand, your actions are not driven by bravery -- it becomes morally obvious to act in the name of your grand reason. It is the only possible course of action.

My reason is small as sh*t! I just really love birthday snacks. I think I heard there will be Ants-on-a-Log at this birthday smash. I don’t know whether it will be with peanut butter or with cream cheese, but I have a good feeling there will be both types of Ants-on-a-Log provided. This is reason enough.

My jetpack whines and sputters as my mother’s house fades into the distance. America comes into view, and then Earth. She was once my home yet will not have me again. I know that I will call out to her on a cold lunar night. Pleading. She will not hear me. I am hers no longer.

A tear crystallizes as it falls from my cheek. It reflects the Earth and I love her one last time.

I give myself fully to the moon.

Love and the Cosmic Bridge

I hear a chime. Not a full, resounding, majestic Tibetan Bell or anything. More of a fuzzy flattened digital sort of chime. Pleasant. Well, maybe a teeny bit on the annoying side.

Wait. Am I awake?
     No, I'm not quite awake.

Am I asleep?
     Somewhat.

It's that foggy halfway place again, where I can choose what reality I want to participate in. The dream world is as captivating as ever. A strange but attractive reality. I want to nestle into its warmth.

But wait. What's this tingle? A tug of energy, pulling me away. Slowly ... but faster now. Am I falling or rising? I don't know. I have no control. But somehow, whatever this force wants, I want. I let go. I forfeit. I surrender.

I rise.

The chimes continue. I sit up and start pressing random buttons on the alarm clock till I finally get it to stop. The UX leaves much to be desired, but I feel an affection toward it for being so authentically itself.

The day's begun.
Let's start.

a deep inhale in

one
  two
    three
      four
        five

         and a deep exhale out

        five
      four
    three
  two
      OH!

That's right! It's the day! The day I depart to the moon. The day I get to spend with Kavya, Tina, and the rest of the gang. Woo! It's gonna be a good day.

I roll out of bed, change my clothes, and indulge in a morning nature run, and my soul seems to rise with the rising sun. After several hours, when I'm in the shower, I give my respect to the Goddess of the Cold, and she grants me beautiful powers untold. A dreamlike evening goes by, like a beautiful lie, and I look at the moon, and think of what looms.

Wait.
    Shit.

It's already time?! Damn! The day went by like poetry. I still need to account for important practicalities. Like .. how am I even gonna get up there?!

Scrambling for a solution, I grab my phone … but it's dead, and I'm too impatient to charge it up just to not know what to do with it. So I swing the closet door open in desperation, hoping that maybe some kind of plan will strike me if I expose myself to new spaces with different stimuli.

The wooden box in the corner catches my eye. My SentiBox, the vessel of all that is nostalgic! I look inside and, atop a pile of polaroid photos, storybooks, and old license plates, I'm greeted by two familiar but forgotten friends: a tiny papery packet and a cute little plastic vial.

That's right. I remember.

The packet of seeds Kavya gifted me long ago. I don't quite recall what she said they'd grow into, but I can feel her nurturing, mother-earthly energies radiating from it. I want to hug her and tell her just how much I respect and admire her. How fun it is to be around her and how like-minded I feel about so many things.

And the vial of Tina's tears, a curated collection from bouts of her laughter, cute whines, and cathartic criers. Little did she know I was secretly collecting them (I'm a nosy-ezz boy). What a precious person I've had the blessing to see in so many beautiful dimensions.

That's right. Now I really remember. What this is all about. What everything's all about. What pulled me out of bed this morning.

An enchanted invisible force strums my soul-strings, and my hands, somehow in my control yet not at all, gently pick up the packet of seeds and vial of tears and place them into my pocket.

Another strum, and my legs begin to walk my body back toward the nature trail.
It is dark. I find myself surrounded by trees and blanketed by a starry sky. The moon is full. I look at it and it looks back at me.

Strum.

Gently again, I rip open the packet of seeds and scatter them atop a healthy patch of soil near my feet, after which I pop open the tiny vial of tears and pour it into the mix. And then I feel the tingle again. The same energy from this morning's tug-o-war of consciousness, but this time from below.

There's a rumble. I can feel something coming. Slowly ... but faster now.

Rumble.
     Crack.
          Boom.

The ground my feet stands on shatters, and from it shoots a giant, colorful, cosmic tree. It propels upwards with the speed and force of lightning. There is no time to think. My instincts take control and like a koala, I clamp onto the closest branch and ride the rising roller coaster toward the cosmos. Within a matter of seconds, the trail I was once treading along looks like a Google Maps Satellite View of itself. A few more seconds pass, and I'm thrown into a violent barrage of clouds. I'm moving even faster now. I see a flash of the ocean. Even faster now. It's loud. It's hot. I feel like a comet. All my senses are saturated. My eyes can't keep up, so I close them.

And before I can think a thought —













everything is still.








I breathe in


one
  two
    three
      four
        five







           and breathe out


        five
      four
    three
  two
one











Still koala'ed to my branch, I gently open my eyes and look down to see the Earth, now a delicate quiet blue-green marble floating peacefully in a sea of stars.

I tilt my head forward and notice that the branch I'm holding onto is extended thousands of feet outward and rests upon the glowy grey cratered surface of the Moon.

At last.

I stand up, see the silhouettes of my friends, and walk across my cosmic bridge to be with them again.

Burgers in Outer Space

Beep bEep bEEP BEEP BEEE—
“Ahh.. fuck!!!!!” I curse myself awake as my phone slams me in the face. “I’m up! I’m up! What now?!” I violently sit up in my bed.

“Good morning, Rachel. Tina and Kavya’s Birthday Party is today. You have an invitation from the moon.” A robotically perfect voice answers from the floor.

“Oh shit, it’s today?!?”
“Yes, Rachel.”
“..damn it I have NOTHING TO WEAR.”
“..Please stop cursing, Rachel.”

That’s it. I wield all the rage inside me and turn that sucker off. Elion Musk needs a better product development team.

I look out my window to the reddish-brown Martian city. It’s a beautiful day! Ever since landing, humans have been developing this place like madness. I set out to the shops. What would Tina and Kavya like? I stroll around the different stores in my compound. Sometimes this place reminds me of the residential areas built during communist China. I wonder what life is like on Earth and the moon for my friends.

Tina is a huge burger fan, so I settle on some Martian burgers. At the exit, I grab a box of Martian Ice Cap Water Wine for m̶y̶s̶e̶l̶f̶  the party. They ran out of beer and I almost got escorted out by security because they suspected I had ‘unhealthy habits’ to be an inhabitant on Mars. Elion is too rigid. You gotta have some fun!

I vaguely remember someone telling me about Kavya’s obsession with Taco Bell, so I go to their Martian branch and ask for.. I don’t know. It dawns on me that I’ve only been to Taco Bell once in my life.

“Uh.. Give me your biggest food item. Please.”
“In terms of weight, ma’am?”
“Sure. Uh no, no, no, in volume. It’s got to look big. I want it very grand.”

With that, I bag up my utilitarian gifts and wait for my MM (Mars – Moon) train to land.What are others going to bring? Just the thought of an interstellar gift exchange gives me goosebumps. But honestly, I haven’t seen my friends in months, so just seeing their faces would make me so happy.

As the MM train approaches the destination, I catch glimpses of the Earth and its many wonders. Sometimes I do miss it.

“Dear passengers, we have arrived at the moon. Please make sure to wear your Martian badge when you shop at any of the Moon malls for 30% off on most merchandise. Thank you.”

Right, that reminds me – I can still buy some proper party wear before I make it to the party.

Tôi Không Biết

Dawn. Last year it was ukuleles and beignets over sunrise. Apparently NOT ENOUGH for these two. So today I’m going to the Moooooooooon!

I leave today. Spent the last month installing 3 rocket engines to the car, along with heat shields, fins, and an upgrade to the nav system. Elion Musk sent over the parts. What a guy.

Before hopping into the car, I finish my gelato and check snapchat quickly, expecting to get a snap from Tanner. Nothing. Corona must have disrupted his supply thank GOD...

I’m tired AF from standing so I sit in the driver’s seat, and configure the control panel for take-off. Glancing over next to me at the box of Krispy Kreme glazed donuts I bought for the party, I think, Better eat my share before Tina does for me. That girl has rage, best watch out.

Doors locked. All systems go for launch. Countdown initiated.

10...9...8...7...6…
*engines ignite*

...5...4…3......
Ugh could go for a second cup of gelato......

2...1...
LIFT OFF!

I’m realizing now that I never did any astronaut training so I cannot handle these Gs and my face is falling off. Damn...should have prepped on Hagrid’s motorbike a few more times. As we rise above the atmosphere and things calm down a bit. As I press my forehead up on the now frosty glass window I begin to see the curvature of the Earth, and I watch it shrink. I think of the failed socialist revolution in America and how small all of our problems seem. I wonder if Kavya’s still obsessed with Pete Buttigieg. I may never know.

I pull out my thermos and take a sip of the smoothie I brought for the ride. Ew. Why do I fall for these every time...I decide to use it to water the plants I have in the back. Yeah, I brought all of my half-dead plants. I start to second-guess myself but then I remind myself that Kavya’s like the pigeon lady from Home Alone...but for plants. I know she’ll love reviving these. Hufflepuff.

I think about the next few days alone in space. Hope I don’t spiral. I wonder how Teja’s getting to the party. The KT2020? How’s he taking care of waste removal in space? Is he using public facilities? I’m sure he’ll be fine…As I ponder his plans I drift off to sleep....

3 days later~

I jolt awake as the car begins to rumble. I check the window and I see an expanse of craters and gray in every direction. I’ve made it to the moon!

As the car lowers to the surface, I wonder what it’ll be like to meet them both after many months. And Tina – after everything – she knows I know what she knows, and I know she knows what I know. So how’ll it be? Tôi không biết.

Who invited me, why am I here, where’s my invitation, you might ask? I’d say it’s the receipt I got in the mail. You know it’s real when they’re spending postage on you for dumb shit.

What a Dream

What planet am I on? They say I'm on Earth, but I don't buy it. If this was truly the great Terra, there'd be some solid ground to stand on. Not that I'm complaining or anything. I'm caressing the fluffy clouds, improvising a melody with the singing wind, and I'm about to have sex with...

Oh shit! It's past noon. Why didn't my alarm do its job? I'm gonna tell everyone on Familee that I'm not going to make it to the moon party. It's not like I'm in any condition to socialize anyway. My mind is still on that weird song I was making last night. Speaking of that, maybe I should... no! Focus, ezzhole!

If I leave right at this second I can make it in time. In time to see Kavya's resting bitch face make way for that endearing smile. In time to see Tina jumping on people like she's a soft bundle of feathers. In time to celebrate with everyone, together.

Alright then! Screw the beard trim, the shampoo, and the compulsive need to present myself. That's not at all what this is about. I'm gonna fire up the Nissan Spacemonkey and rock these night clothes and this messy hair all the way to the moon! To infinity and beyond! I'll crank some Ritviz and contemplate on the writings of Tina Dam on the way there. I can’t wait! Wait, who is that at my window with a gun? Oh shit dude, I didn't have sex with your...

What a pleasant alarm sound, rightly chosen by Preet. It blends perfectly with the ambience of space. Looks like I'll be landing on the moon in 5 minutes. I’m a bit groggy, probably because of the crazy dream I had. I can’t remember what it was about but I know it’s got nothing on the view of Earth from up here, and the wonderful group of friends I'm about to see.

Intergalactic Tummy Rumbles

I wake up. It’s still dark out. I go back to sleep.

I wake up (again). It’s light out, but just barely. Meh. I go back to slee—NO wait!! Today’s the day!!!

I yaaaaawn, streeeeeetch, and stare at the ceiling of my hotel room for a few minutes, just thinking about the day ahead. I figure Tina’s already up and about, responding to burrdai wishez on Messenger, but I bet Kavya’s still asleep—she was up studying pretty late after the Netflix party last night. Thank God we got all our tears out yesterday so we can just focus on having a good day today.  =]

I eventually roll out of bed and drag myself into the shower. Preet reminded us about the power of cold showers in the call yesterday, so I take a few quick breaths and squeeze my eyes shut as the ice water jolts me fully awake. Showered, shaved, and dressed, I sit down for a few minutes of meditation.

Ahhhhh ….. that familiar calm finally sets in.

There’s something extra exciting about going to the moon today, of all days. Usually it’s cheaper to teleport to the moon, but today I’m taking a space shuttle! I flew into Denver last night ‘cause I’ll be lifting off from the spairport here today. It was one of those last-minute birthday gift ideas… I pull the window shades aside and line up the first shot of the Rockies: I can only glimpse the foothills, but even those are so large and impressive from this angle. click!

My phone buzzes—time to get going! I teleport to the spairport and make my way into the shuttle; Frontier charged me an arm and a couple legs to get a window seat, but it was worth it. As the space shuttle peels away from Earth’s gravity, I look down: my feet are resting on a clear pane of glass, and below me I can see the mountains recede as the rest of the world comes into view… click! Eventually the edges of space become visible, click!, and soon the Earth is just a small marble in the distance. click! click! click!

The shuttle decelerates and rotates in preparation for moon landing. I mail my holo-photos ahead to a photo-processing center—they’ll be arranged into a neat holographic projection display at the party—and just as the shuttle touches down on the moon, my tummy starts to rumble. I haven’t eaten anything all day, but I say a little prayer and thank God we catered for the party today: nothing quite like some Taco Bell and McDonald’s to celebrate KavTin Day.

I step off the space shuttle and bounce onto the moon.

Kavyantine on the Moon

My friend Kapeeshwar, a graduate student from the 'Void'- an experimental research lab near Mount Shasta in California, invited me to his lab. It was a multistory building- meant to teleport humans with a flotation device for interplanetary travel. The difference was the building was meant to act like a spaceship with the shuttle engine at the bottom. The flotation device was a miniature transparent oval-shaped shuttle at the bottom of the building, located in the middle of the floor. Apparently it was ancient technology being revived from clay tablets recovered from Central Asia.

Kapeeshwar could not divulge how he decoded the tablets but would be willing to help me with teleportation as he had helped many of his friends recently. Surprisingly, none of them wanted to come back since they liked it there much better, so- so much for reviews. But he said the clay tablets had 10 page long testimonials and I would get lifetime access to the lab with free travel, being an early adopter.

After looking up while seated in the shuttle seat, I could see 8 floors above me, each with their own unique bright light almost like a rainbow. It seemed the shuttle was like an elevator meant to travel to the top within the hollow tunnel running through the middle of the building.  It had thousands of bright red color crystals outside the shuttle on the current level. Probably the other levels had similar arrangements as I could see similar lights from other floors.

Kapeeshwar said he would personally be activating the fuel for the journey which was based on clean energy i.e. the free energy from the atmosphere as devised by Tesla. It involved him going about the 9 story building in an elliptical pod within a spiral loop, while I was seated at the lowest level. The movement started generating electromagnetic waves, as I could see on the computer screen in front of me within the shuttle. The rhythmic movement of the pod generated energy in a similar pattern, and thus the rise of the shuttle was like a hovercraft taking off.

As I rose through the floors, I saw bright orange color on level 2 from other types of crystal- all vibrating and reflecting the light generated by the electromagnetic waves flowing in the building via the movement of the pod. The shuttle started producing bright white light and an orchestra of sounds- like a symphony of bells, whistles and conches, albeit the most pleasing and melodious sound.

Level 3 was a floor with bright yellow crystals and exceedingly warmer than the other floors. The shuttle got much stable with this transition from it's rocky hovering. It seemed like a spaceship was ready for takeoff. But the shuttle kept moving upwards to the next level.

Level 4 was all bright green in color with different crystals shining the green light. The shuttle was now coming and going out of existence. Seemed legit working of a teleportation device, but I thought of double checking with Kapeeshwar. By now the guy was just whirling around like a ride in the amusement park and it seemed to be hard for him to hear my calls.

This was it, and I hoped he had tuned me into the right planet, so it would not end up like a wrong year traveled to, in time travel movies. All the lights, sounds, heat, waves of energy seemed to reach a crescendo and bleep, just like that it all disappeared into pitch black. I seemed paralyzed as I could not lift my arms from the seat in the shuttle. Forget my arms, I was not sure if the shuttle was there itself. Had I truly teleported to the Moon or was the offer of lifetime access to the lab- too good to be true? This silence stayed for quite some time and I played along with it.

But there it was, the sound of Tina's laugh and Kavya's 'hey dude'. I still couldn't see them but in the very next moment I was sitting there in the middle of the gang on the moon, eating nachos and playing jackbox.

You get there

When you’re invited to a birthday on the moon, you go. Especially if the guests of honor are two dear friends. Through science, magic, or a combination of both, you get there. I put on sweatpants, a t-shirt, and a hoodie. I like being comfortable, the party doesn’t have a dress code, and space is cold.

I leave my apartment and begin running up the stairwell. As I did, I ran my hand along the concrete walls. This building has existed for thirty years. In that time, countless bursts of emotion had soaked the apartment down to its foundations in the form of magic. Magic that I could use as energy for the first part of my trip. I drew upon it through my fingertips. With every inhale and exhale of air, magic filled me. Goosebumps spread across my skin and I felt the hair on my scalp rise. When I made it to the rooftop, I was buzzing with power. I ran towards the edge, expending the magic I had drawn in to speed me up. The edge neared. My smile widened.

Life passed below me, ignorant of the guy in the hoodie soaring over them. Those among them with keen ears would have heard my curse as I stumbled on the roof I had jumped to. Magic didn’t make you anymore athletically talented. Ah well. I wasn’t hurt. I continued my run, jumping from building to building with the World Tree on the city’s edge as my destination. But we’ll get to that. Right now, I was at the very last tall building with some miles still remaining to go until the World Tree. I sighed and jumped down to the sidewalk, refraining from doing the superhero kneel when I landed. I held a hand out and luckily managed to wave down a taxi quickly. I’m not going to talk about this portion of my journey. It’s the science bit I mentioned in the third sentence and it’s boring. Everyone knows what it’s like to ride in a car.

I paid the fare once I arrived at the base of the World Tree and looked up. The magic I had left would get me halfway up. I moved to a spot where there were plenty of gaps in the branches, aimed for the white branch that marked the halfway point, and jumped. Wind played with my hair as I soared straight up and it was my luck that very few branches whipped me. I didn’t stumble this time when I landed but I didn’t pause to congratulate myself since I’m running out of room to write. I called out to Robby the Rainbow Raven and he responded immediately. Eager to rid himself of his debt to me, he quickly agreed to carry me to the moon and back. Since I promised him a slice of cake, he grew less grumpy about going into space without the protection of a hoodie.

Wind returned to play with my hair as we flew up, perhaps eager since it would lose me to the vacuum of space. I didn’t pay much attention to it since I was focusing on drawing in magic from the air around us. The thing about the vacuum of space is that it also lacks oxygen. Not very convenient for humans like me. Luckily, I’m a human that can use magic in place of oxygen. Robby the Rainbow Raven can do the same.

The space part went by quickly, thankfully. Again. It’s a vacuum. Ooo amazing it’s all empty and dark! I see the party before the party sees me and I smile. It had been a long time since I’d seen the beautiful faces of the guests of honor. The other guests are beautiful too. But today isn’t about them. Today is about Kavya and Tina. Two dear friends celebrating another year on Earth...Hmm. Celebrating another year of life on Earth by going to the Moon. Seems about right when it comes to those two. Robby and I burst through the protective bubble put in place and I breathe in the artificial air generated by the bubble itself. As per usual, I was neither the first one there nor the last.

I smile and say my first line of dialogue, “HAPPY BIRTHDAY TINA AND KAVYA!”

Füd and Frans

The excitement of tomorrow had taken over my entire body and I couldn’t get myself to sleep. Thoughts of what to prepare for Kavya and Tina were running through my mind. A cake? Cupcakes? A cake AND cupcakes??? Why not? After all it was their birthday celebration tomorrow and they deserve to enjoy some of their favorite foods. But, in order to cook tomorrow I needed to have my energy. So, as excited as I was thinking about all the amazing dishes I wanted to make for them…I somehow managed to get myself to fall asleep, dreaming about all the tasty dishes to make the next day..

The sun crept in through the blinds, slowly getting brighter and brighter. As much as I wanted to sit in my bed and bask in the warmth of the sheets pulled over me, I couldn’t, not today. Nice though it is enjoying the morning sun rise, today was about the moon. It was the trip to the moon to celebrate the infamous KavTin’s birthday!

The excitement from last night came into full force as I jumped from my bed  straight into the kitchen. What to make for both of them though? There were so many options. Kavya really loves Korean food, and there were so many recipes from Maangchi that could be made. And Tina? Well, she just loves food in general so I think she’d enjoy anything really.

After a few minutes of deliberation it hit me, and with that I went into full force. For the next three hours, I went into a cooking frenzy, running on pure excitement thinking about tonight. Birthdays always bring a certain sense of joy. A lot of people normally dread the day because they turn one year older, or are just plain ol’ apathetic because it’s just another year. But, it’s such a wonderful day. Birthdays are an opportunity to celebrate the people we care about. And with Kavya and Tina, there is so much to celebrate. A beautiful friendship and so many sweet memories to reminisce about. Tina and I have recently made a lot more memories together since I moved to Virginia. With a quick 5 hour hop on the MegaBus we can now visit each other in no time! Every time we meet I’m so excited to see her, partially because Tina appreciates food and I now have a KBBQ buddy (pronounced K-BUBBA-KWA), but also because of how much fun it is to be around her. And then there’s Kavya. I don’t have as many memories with Kavya since we haven’t hung out as much but there have been a few sweet ones sprinkled around. One that sticks out to me was when we video chatted each other to try and do homework but ended up talking about how much we both love Korean food and Maangchi’s videos on youtube. To this day, we still haven’t had Korean food together! But tonight, that was going to change.

When you get swept up in the memories time flies so quickly, cause just like that, the füd...was... ready!

Thankfully it didn’t take nearly as long to get ready as it did to cook the food. I was running late, as usual, because 3 hours of cooking may have turned into 5 (it’s all about the details). The doorbell rang and I peeped through the blinds to see the lyftship parked in the driveway ready to pick me up. As I grabbed the bag with the food I took one final look in the mirror and thought of the excitement on Kavya and Tina’s faces when we’d all arrive. Fingers crossed that they like the food!

I opened the door, locked it behind me and walked into the spaceship. “Ooo, something smells good, what’d ya make?” the driver asked. It was tempting to pull the dishes out of the bag, but instead I took out my phone to show the pictures I took beforehand that I would later post on Instagram (#KavTinBday).

“It’s for a friends’ birthday! For my friend Kavya we have some Kimchi fried rice garnished with fresh scallions, some sesame seeds, and a fried egg on top. And for Tina we have a McFlurry ice cream cake with a replica of the golden arches in French fries with the caption “Happy Birthday Kavya and Tina!” written in red icing, you know, to symbolize ketchup. Because what are French fries without ketchup? They’re so amazing together, the same way Kavya and Tina are to each other. And with that, lyft off to the mooooooon!

*immediately texts friends that I’m running late*

A Memory of
Memories of Love

How do I see the shadows of my fan blade, against the darkness of my ceiling, it’s like 5 AM. I start to question every little random thing, asking questions I even know the answer to. I do that when I’m excited but also worried, it’s a special day today; the kavyaXtina collab birthday. I’m making sandwiches for them. It's their birthday tomorrow, we getting Moon-Litty.

Jelly on the edges of bread, but the edges alone. The rest is guacamole. And when done right it’ll look like a jelly sandwich, but it’s guac. It’s my thing, giving a gotcha moment. But it doesn’t end there, a 3 slices of banana inside as well. But it doesn’t end there its fake plastic banana. 3 slices of plastic, classic.

It’s a throwback to the time Tina gave me a plastic banana for Christmas, and if she chokes on the plastic, it’s a throwback to the time I made her choke on a skittle. Psyke, I wouldn’t do that, I love my friends Kavya and Tina. And I can’t give unequal presents, I’m not that brand of asshole. I didn’t put plastic, I put paper.

I put a love note, because folks, I fucking love these two. I’ve always loved them, I always will. A love note; taking us back to Summer 2013. The summer where we lived in basically one apartment, and they watched me cry on a basketball court and we pondered what is love, and baby don’t hurt me. *casually cries about Pravallika.* Through all the years these two have been constants for me, always ready to wipe my tears, always ready to calm my fears, I’m always ready to drink some beers. To a lifetime of friendship, cheers. Memories are truly the greatest gift you can give eh? This is where you choke on tears.

It’s 7:00, I wait watching Youtube videos of cutting cheese and moon landings. Crazy how the American flag is still there, only now it’s French. My LiveWire arrives moments before my casual impatience is no longer casual. I grab my hoodie, cap, and sunglasses. They’re simulating Fall on the Moonhub and self inflicted oppression has been my fashion sense lately. *cries about eh* I attach my bag, hop on, and ride through the dawn.

I pull up to the New Shepherd Space Elevator, the vehicle drop off line is long. I check my itinerary, Space Elevator to the Interstellar Space Station, and then Space Train to the Moon. I wonder if there is qt3.14s on with the same booking but prolly not bcuz I bought thru Priceline. I look up at the Space Elevator, I can’t tell of Elion’s a troll or a penis really is the most optimal shape to pierce through the atmosphere.

I m claim a seat near the front, and put on my VR headset. I hear announcements, but mostly I hear my own breathing. Peanuts are served.  I hear my inner thoughts, I hear the red piercing sounds. Why is the sound red? I start to question every little random thing, asking questions I even know the answer too. I do that when I’m excited but also worried, it’s a special day today.

I feel pressure on the back of my head. I start to exhale easier than I could breath in. This was lift off. I see earth slowly fading through my VR headset. It’s a camera feed to my VR headset so it feels less real. But people back at home see a dick shooting into space and that's gotta look even less real lmao.

Docked to the ISS, I rush out to find the Space Train, Luna Express. First come first serve seats, space travel and they still call themselves Southwest. Low-key wish they’d turn down the artificial gravity here, seeing dogs and grandmas floating past me would be memorable. I sit next to cutie 3.14 on train bcuz she’s the real view. She notices me and tells me she’s married, I tell her it’s chill I don’t mind even tho I do. I just stare out the windows, seeing my reflection, and the moon behind that. Seeing the reflections of my memories, and the moon behind that. I see my age, I then saw everyone’s age. I get notifications of people landing, Shiva, Soumya, Rachel, Jai, Preet. Starting to feel like it’s my birthday to be honest. I check my backpack for the fourth time to see if sandwiches are still there. They’re still there.

We come to a halt. Moon Base Catalina. My LiveWire comes to me, bag attached. I let a tear fall because I’ve always wondered what tears do to Moon sand. I’ve always wondered what a Bike’s tire does to Moon dirt. I hop on, rev the motor and ride through the dawn.

Seeing the reflections of my memories, and the moon behind that. I love you my friends, here I come.

Under the Sea

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Fuck. It's all black around me. I can't see anything. My head's pounding. I can't breathe too well. I flip on the car headlights. I'm at the bottom of the ocean. Fuck. My calculations should've worked. My car was supposed to have launched me all the way to the moon. I don't remember what happened...I remember a crash...and now I'm here....What if I don't get to the party on time? What if I don't see them again? What if they forget about me? What'll happen to me down here? My head’s pounding, it's getting loud, it's all going black. 

Drip. Drip. Drip.

A school of fish pass by. I wipe the tears from my face. I can't believe I messed this up. I turn on the lights in the car and look to my right. A bag of turkey bites, an invitation and 48 Belvita wrappers are piled on the passenger's seat. I brush aside the wrappers and pick up the invitation with Kavya and Tina are looking up at me.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

I look at Tina and a warm feeling comes over me. It's so much nicer when she's around, I'm not in my head as much, I can just....be...without worry. My eyes shift over to Kavya, kind and understanding, being with her made me feel like I was home, no matter where I was. Their warm smiles and twinkling eyes look up at me with love and understanding. Even when they're not around they're making me feel better. I close my eyes as I let a deep breath enter my lungs. My heart slows down and the voices and fears in my head quiet down.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

I wasn't going to stay down here. I had to see them again. But...how? How the fuck was I going to get from the bottom of the ocean...to the moon? My eyes are drawn to the card again as I think.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

A faint glow approaches the car. My body tenses up, there are two shapes...approaching, fast! It's getting brighter, and I squint my eyes. The light dims and I'm able to see two dolphins in front of the car. We stare at each other. 

Drip. Drip. Drip. 

I hold my breath as one of the dolphins slowly starts circling the car. After a bit, the dolphin stops in front of the car again. The dolphin straightens up, almost as if it's standing. And then...starts to snap its flipper and groove to a non-existent music. As the dolphin kept dancing there was no doubt in my mind...it was doing the dance that Joey did in Friends when he said he had dance experience on his resume. And sure enough, the dolphin ended its dance with jazz hands and a brilliant flash of light. And all of a sudden, there was only one dolphin left. But there was an air bubble now around the car. The other dolphin looked at me encouragingly and slowly an understanding dawned upon me. The two were here to help me get to the moon. Or...maybe I was crazy. Maybe being down here in the dark for so long and with so little oxygen was making me insane. I didn't know anymore. I didn't know anything. I took a deep breath and shut down all my thinking and with all my strength I opened the car door and braced myself for the worst. But nothing happened. I slowly open my eyes and take a breath. I was able to breathe, easily! As I move around, the bubble moves with me, keeping me at its center. A bewildered smile comes across my face as I look up at the remaining dolphin. But it’s off in the distance. Confused, I follow it. We swim for what feels like ages in the quiet and dark ocean, but I'm not alone and I'm not scared. Off in the distance we see a large rock formation in the water. As we get closer, it becomes clear to me that this was a portal. I see carvings of the moon and lunar phases. I look to the dolphin who is looking at me already. The words come to my lips without any thought..."West on the Curdz."

A warm glow envelops me and the dolphin disappears. This was it. Something was happening. Something was definitely happening. I was going to get out of this hell hole, I was going to see those two again. I just knew it. And all of a sudden, everything went black.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

My eyes open slowly and I see Kavya and Tina in front of me. I had made it. I was on the moon. I hadn't let them down. Kavya's looking at me with concern and asking me if I'm okay and Tina's looking at me with a blank expression.

"Where are my turkey bites, bitch?"