“Five hundred years in the future…would you really plan that far ahead?”
Lee looked at Guin, who had stepped up to ask him for a dance while Neil showed Karen the basic steps of salsa.
“Farther.” She had asked him if he thought Star Trek was real, having been raised by her father on VHS copies of the original episodes, as well as The Next Generation on the tellie.
She walked him walked through the basic box shape of the rumba, quick quick slow, quick quick slow.
Lee smiled. He immediately felt a connection with Guin that transcended what he had felt with anyone else before.
Guin smiled back. Lee reminded her of so much — her father, her brother, her sisters, her mother, a street lamp, a shirt mannequin, a puppy, a bobcat and many more.
“Do you believe in time travel?”
“Of course. You?”
“Have you been through the keyhole?”
“With a telescope.”
They stopped dancing and stared at each other. They realized they were raised in the same code of Ursa Minor, the children’s chapter of the International Order of the Hibernating Bears, also known as Ursa Major.
“Are you…?” Lee hesitated before finishing the question.
Guin’s eyes widened. “I am.”
Lee shook his head in astonishment, What could he say?
During the initiation ceremony of Ursa Minor, each candidate is asked to dig deep into their thought set to see the sets of states of energy that best describe the timelessness of bearhood. In your lifetime, the Chief Bear teaches, you will experience timeliness and timelessness. Timeliness is riding a bus, trusting the bus driver while your thoughts wander toward what someone said to you at school the day before and how you were going to react when you got to school that day. Timelessness is a conversation that never started and never ends — the conversation is carried on from knowledge millions of years ago and millions of years into the future, running in millions of directions — tangential, parallel, imaginary, real, quantum entangled and/or gravitationally bound. All of us participate in the timelessness conversation but most are so caught up in the timeliness mode that we miss how every action we take lasts forever.
They nodded at each other without saying a word. They were bound for life, able to operate with each other on multiple levels at once, at slow pace and fast, inside time and outside time.
Lee cleared his throat. “Glad to finally meet you.”
She blinked and crinkled her eyelids through her glasses. “It’s about time!”
Neil led Karen over to them.
“Okay, I think I’ve got Karen ready to try the salsa with Lee. Did you show him the lead part?”
“Umm, the lead part for rumba.”
Neil rubbed his chin. “You know, that might work. We could call it a ralsa.”
Guin laughed. “Or a sumba! Neil, I’ve got to go home and study for a rocket propulsion midterm tomorrow. Mind if I bow out of the rest of this quick lesson?”
“No, no. Go home. Your schoolwork is important, future rocket scientist!”
Guin waved goodbye to Lee and hugged Karen. “You guys are going to be great, I know it. I’ll see you again soon!”
Neil clapped his hands together. “Okay, we’ve got work to do. Which would you rather try together first, salsa or rumba?”