We are driving in the rain. Holding hands, happy, entrenched in a spirited debate about futuristic technology. We discuss self-driving cars and the progress being made; I say they’ve made great strides, he says it’s too slow.
“We’ll have teleporters by then,” he teases.
And all at once I am in a different truck — similar, but not identical, and yet it’s a truck I know. It feels familiar. I know the scratch on the dashboard; I know its unique smell of sawdust and metal and him; and I know the chain hanging from the rearview mirror. All the same, I’m aware that haven’t been inside this truck in years. In fact, when I turn to the memory of the man beside me, it occurs to me that he might not even own it anymore.
But it’s the one I remember him in.
“Life would be so much easier if you didn’t live so far away,” I remember him saying.
“I know,” I answered. “I wish I could just snap my fingers and be where I wanted to be.”
“I’ll build you a teleporter,” he offered. His crooked smile made my heart flutter.
“Oh yeah?” I tossed back. “Knowing you, I’ll be waiting five years before you get around to it.”
He winked at me. “Then it can be your wedding present.”
I remember not replying, because I wasn’t positive that he meant what I thought he meant and I didn’t want to assume. So I waited.
“When we get married,” he clarified, and though his tone was still casual I felt my heart skip, “I’ll build you a teleporter.”
“Right,” I remember answering slowly, acting like the idea that we’d get married wasn’t news to me. “But by then I won’t need one anymore.”
“Okay, so the teleporter will be an engagement gift.”
“Then what do I get as my wedding gift?” I demanded.
He smiled at me again, and I felt in that moment how overwhelmingly I loved him. “For our wedding I’ll build you a rocketship,” he promised. “We can take off in it after the ceremony is over.”
“Fair enough,” I agreed, and we both laughed.
“I’d rather have a rocketship,” I say without thinking.
He looks over at me, puzzled. “What?”
I shake my head, the ghost of a smile on my face. “Never mind.”