A drop of water smacks me square in the middle of my forehead, as I watch Lola plunge into the fountain’s water. Her curly hair quickly turns into a stringy mess beneath the water. “Lola, I really don’t think you should—“, I begin to be shushed into silence by Alejandro her brother and guardian. It is surprising he permits her to frolic in this fountain, especially considering how protective he typically is especially concerning germs.
My Rottweiler jumps in after her to begin pouncing about the fountain to escape the heat. Eventually, his clumsiness gives way and he smacks into the fountainhead. Lola wastes no time o begin splashing the water in Einstein’s direction to see his goofy gallop triumph his fall. He’s always been playful ever since I can remember.
“Hasn’t it been nearly two years since you got Eins…it really doesn’t look like he’s grown-up well? Maybe, he has a condition?”, Alejandro inquires, while awkwardly placing emphasis on the word condition. His expression contorts into a sort of inexplicable sadness and gratefully he decides to change the topic. I can’t decipher if it’s because the thought passed all together or not. Hopefully, it did.
As Ale bends down to lift up Lola, his Virgin Mary necklace jingles against his bronze skin. His faith made me avoid the truth and stick to the side of caution. I love his optimism and yet I hate it. Lola, on the other hand, is a mystery in the aspect of religion. She starts to grope around in the bag slung around Ale’s shoulder to reveal a Physics test. “Aunty tía Antigone, look I got an A-!”, she exclaims searching for my approval. The combination of languages sounded like Dihydrogen Oxide. That wonderful little compound so incredibly vital to the world.
“It is absolutely astounding. Someday, we will invent the next flying car together.”, I say smiling.
Her face changes to a contemplative smirk and she replies, “The world needs more cures like for cancer and world hunger. Don’t you agree?” Eins stops circling around Ale’s feet, instead he tries to avoid his presence completely. My friend has not appeared so disoriented since his parents’ anniversary’s death. His eyes search for something blankly, but I can’t quite put my finger on it.
Lola yawns tenderly and nuzzles her face closer to his bearded face, as he continues to look contemplatively towards the stars. “Do you ever imagine a fountain of youth? At least, a fountain to protect your health, until a certain age.”, he says. I realize it was a rheutorical question, as he enters prayer passing a church. Churches destroy people slowly. They offer some false sense of hope and then some bullshit answer, when it falls through.
“Churches are only¬—“, I stop as he shoots me a look through tear-ridden eyes. I look I’ve never seen from him and hope to never see again. We’ve had our fair share of conversations on religion before. Although, I know where he stands, I can’t help but try to bring him over to the side of science 100%. Anyhow, isn’t that my job?
Ale closes in prayer as we approach his door ending with a burdened sorrowful amen. He fumbles for his keys and proceeds to place the wrong key in the slot repeatedly. Eventually, he drops them altogether with Lola remaining asleep in his arms.
I crouch down to silently unlock the door as he mumbles a disgruntled “thank-you”. His eyes meet mine in a pitiful attempt to have me follow without saying so. He gently places Lola in her bed and slumps down in his hand-me-down sofa.
“You know what I want in all this world?”, he asks.
“I’m sure it’s not the usual money, fame, and sex.”, I reply.
“Mi Lolita. That little girl in the room next store to live longer, stronger, and happier than me. I don’t ask Jesus for much. Hell, I’ve only asked for Science and family. He seems he can’t bare to see me with the latter.”, now would be a shit time to scientifically analysis that statement.
“What’s wrong?” , there’s clearly more to this and my little niece is too young. My heart sinks into my throat with that eery feeling your insides can just rearrange themselves defying all logical law. Yet, everyone knows children fall prey to this world just no one acknowledges it through their playful ways and seemingly immortal lives. We just don’t accept it.
“Fountains flow and continue flowing…if there was just some chemical, magical, youth saving number. I could save her to keep her flowing. We could save her. We don’t even direct our studies to anything that applies to Real life. You’re a genius wasting away your talent.”
Ein’s glances over with a sleepy expression, he is exhausted. I can use him as an excuse to bolt, but Ale is like a younger brother. He can attack my life’s work without his knowing the results of it. Three year Eins is a product of my work with his un-aged body physically and mentally.
Ale paces back into Lola’s room to check up on her. As he enters the living room again, I inhale a deep breath. I love Lola, too, but I can’t predict the course of the world, if I prematurely give her the drug now. Perhaps, I can alter the drug.
Ale runs up to me with the keys to the lab leaving a note toped to the handle of Lola’s doorknob. “I refuse to accept fate. Antigone, we’re going to the lab and not returning until some progress is made.”, he announces grabbing my hand. I can find another apprentice I suppose: once without a deeply rooted passion to save his sister or I can harness his emotions to further the progress. I’ll observe this passion and see where it goes.
Bus stops…I’m beginning to realize why people reject this eco-friendly alternative for their cars at times. Ale looks nervously about until he finally collapses in the middle public. I try to console him remembering the days of my mother’s broken heart and scarred arms. Nostalgically, I wrap my lanky arms around his slumped over frame.
His face peers uo at the sound of the screeching bus. I wipe the tears from his face and ask: “Ale, are you sure you’re up for this?”