Ali didn't seem nervous in the slightest, even though she had to do all the hard work of portal jumping. Portal jumping, for crying out loud. Jordan’s stomach was in knots just thinking about it, though all he had to do was not tell anyone.
“I hate you, Jordan. Why are you such a jerk?” Ali laughed, bringing his attention back to the situation. Jordan laughed too, because he was too sad and nervous to say anything else. He leaned awkwardly against the brick walls of the alleyway.
“Well J, I'm gonna miss you. A lot. But remember that I see you for the first time in about three months.”
“Yeah. I remember.”
“And don’t forget that I'm going to be wearing a purple t-shirt.” Ali said, smirking.
“Ali, I’m not going to forget you.” Jordan said softly. “I just wish things could have been different. Literally any other way would have been better.”
“No, don’t say that. We’ll see each other again.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
“I’m always right.”
Ali and Jordan laughed again, even more painful than last time. Ali gave Jordan one last hug, and Jordan only hesitated for a second before embracing her back.
“Bye Ali.” He whispered in her hair. Ali smelled like strawberries. Jordan was going to miss her. Ali pulled away.
“I gotta go.” She swiped a tear from her eye. Turning to the brick wall of an art studio, she pressed her pointer finger onto the brick with the triangle-shaped crack.
The bricks trembled, as if caught in an earthquake. The ones in the middle slid into the wall, forming a solid doorway. Ali gave a sad salute, and disappeared through the portal. A moment later, the bricks returned to their original position with a crackling sound, and Jordan leaned his head against them.
How in the world was he going to survive without Ali? The next time he saw her, she wouldn’t even remember him. And just when he had started feeling things for her, she had to leave. Jordan liked her for so many reasons, he couldn't even name them all.
Ali was futuristic. She was like a supernova in an expansive, bland universe.
It didn't matter to him that Ali wasn't from this time period. Nothing mattered anymore.
Stupid bricks. Stupid portals. Stupid, stupid, stupid everything.
Good thing he was going to see her in three months instead of three years. God, three years would have been torture.
Something wet landed on Jordan’s cheek. It was starting to rain in the alley, but he didn't feel like moving. The weather matched his emotions. He didn't feel like doing anything except think about the girl with the strawberry-flavored hair….
The next morning, Jordan was almost happy. But then he remembered Ali. School was hard, not only because he didn't have anyone to talk to, but no one there seemed to remember her, which only made him mad.
Later that night, Jordan must have seemed tense, because his mom asked if anything was wrong. He said no, but it was a lie. He couldn't even finish his homework because he was so worried about Ali.
What if something went wrong, and she couldn't come back to her future self? What if she never remembered anyone? What if…..what if she was hurt…...or worse? Ali had told him about people like her who had gotten stuck, a bit of them on one side and a bit of them on the other. Forever.
No, he couldn't think about that. Ali was an expert at time travelling. Even the words time travelling were hard to think about. Jordan remembered the first time he found out that she could do that. No, Ali hadn't called it time traveling. She had called it….Morphing.
It made sense, now that he thought about it. Time traveling sounded like it was from a cheesy movie where kids had to save the planet from aliens or something.
Morphing was much more sophisticated, and futuristic, and somehow, in some crazy way, even more realistic. The word supernova swam into Jordan’s mind.
Jordan was guessing Australia is still around in 4567 because that's where Ali’s from and her accent certainly showed it. Other than those two facts, Jordan didn't know much else about Ali or her time. All she had told him was she would get in big trouble if she did tell him.
So Jordan never asked. He wasn't even supposed to know about which year she was from. But he was glad she told him.
Two whole months went by. Jordan was beginning to see things in black and white. Only his dreams were in color, and you can guess what was in them. Beautiful things like strawberries and supernovas.
Jordan’s grades were dropping, and he had skipped basketball practice more than twice. His mom was too busy to notice, and his stepdad didn't care.
Jordan’s stepdad didn't care about anything, and Jordan liked it that way. If he were to talk about Ali Greene, a seventeen-year-old girl that had no hospital record, no driver’s license, or any proof of existence in general, he wouldn't have even looked up. Jordan could tell him anything, knowing that he wasn't going to remember it.
But he couldn't risk it. Ali could be in big trouble if any other Morphers found out. And the last thing Jordan wanted to do was get Ali in trouble.
Finally, the day arrived. Thursday, May 29, 2020. The day Jordan had been waiting on for weeks.
He arrived at school on time for the first time in days, repeating in his crazed head what Ali had told him months ago.
Don't try to get me to remember. Let me remember by myself.
Jordan barely recalled Ali’s breathy-soft voice, so unlike his own.
I'm going to be like a completely new person to you. I might be mean. Don't take it personally unless you deserve it.
And after she said that, she had kissed him. Standing together in the shadowy brick alleyway by the art studio and the portal, they had kissed. And it had been perfect.
Jordan arrived at school, trying to chill his racing heart. He was filled to the brim with emotions at the memory, and he was so excited to see her. No, that was wrong. He was so stuffed with longing that he thought he might die if he didn’t see her soon.
Everything was going too slowly as Jordan trudged through roll call and the first few periods, counting the minutes until lunch. When it finally, finally came, he sat in his usual place near the trees and kept his eyes glued to the door.
She was late.
Hope was slowly deflating like a too-full balloon being released in his chest. Ali was never late. Her people basically invented time.
A disgusting wave of shock ripped through him. Ali was stuck. She could be gone. Jordan wanted to die.
the door opened one last time.
And it was her. Jordan rushed up, spilling his stuff everywhere, basically flying to the door. He came to Ali and wrapped his arms around her faster than he had ever done anything in his entire life. And to his utter disbelief, she hugged him back.
“Ali.” he said in a satisfied way. There was nothing else to say. Her head sunk on her shoulder.
“I remember everything, Jordan.” she said, her voice wavering. She was crying. “I think I did something wrong. This wasn't supposed to happen. I’m so stupid.”
“You’re not stupid, Ali,” said Jordan.
“You're a supernova.”