Romance Science Fiction Speculative

“Do you like coffee?” He asked, handing me a mug.

“Coffee? Coffee, coffee…” I repeated in confusion.

“It’s okay if you don’t remember… I didn’t remember for a couple of weeks either. You come from the early 2,000s and data says that they liked coffee.” He said while averting his gaze. 

The white mug was filled with a brown-hot liquid. I peered down and the hot steam smelled bitter, discomforting yet vaguely familiar. 

“I don’t think I like-” I felt an odd sensation, like a memory pushing up “-I don’t think I liked coffee. Are you my date?”

“Yes,” he said, looking at the floor “I know this is complicated. You don’t need to like me; I don’t expect it.” He drew closer and whispered, “they know humans were usually mated, sometimes for life, but I am not sure they understand the nuances of romance.”

“Obviously they don’t,” I said with a bite. “Why me? How did they find me?”

“Oh, they don’t tell me those things! I am not told any ‘whys’ or ‘hows’. But I can tell you what I know. I see myself as your…” he clicked his tongue “memory nurse. It is nice to talk to another person, and I gain nothing by having you hate me. Anything you ask, I will try to answer.” He sat up straight. 

“Okay. What is my name?” I asked. 

“I don’t know, maybe they don’t know” he said. 

“What is your name?” I asked feeling the fibers of a paper napkin, ripping it apart.

“Em Dhi Noaalen” he said excitedly.

“Oh.” I snickered. “That is not a real name.”

“It is when I come from”, he shrugged. 

“When do you come from?” I asked with my hands full of little papers. 

“I was born in 2,867”

“Okay…” I paused for a second, thinking about what was really important.” I want to know… but I won’t bite. When are we now?”

“No idea, but probably later than my times” he said. 

“Okay… where are we?” I asked.

“What I know is not very helpful, but is not our solar system. I also know that we are in a facility that is hidden from their general population. We are on a planet, and all around us there is just wilderness. At least we are research, and not a zoo” he said.

“Can I go out and see it?” I said with a thrill.

“You will; they treat us well. But, you have to get used to being here, recover some memories and a sense of self. They think that seeing too much will slow down your recovery. It is nice if you like nature” he said teasingly. “Do you like nature?”

Fine, I will play this game. There is nothing else to do. As I close my eyes I see the red of my eyelids. There is nothing as my chest lifts and falls. As my mind drifted, a hint of white wraps my thoughts. I see water ripples disappearing into the white, bright fog. Water, land a sky sharing an indistinguishable hue. Green conifers peaking softly at sporadic heights. Salt was in the air, suspended and evoking of the soft splashes of a tame sea. This is a place I have been to. I hear an invisible rain falling on the seashells, making music. 

“Yes, I think I remember nature. I think I like nature” I said slowly. 

“Oh great! So you come from a place with nature. This is a good start, you are doing great” he beamed. 

Despite myself, I felt my lips curving up. I guess there could be worse people to meet. It was only yesterday that I woke up in a hospital gown. First I noticed that I didn’t feel sick, nor did I remembered ever being sick. That’s when I noticed I didn’t remember anything at all. There was a note next to me. 


You have just been given a second chance at life. Please enjoy your stay and try to relax. In this computer from your era you will find media and news that are familiar to you. Enjoy at your pleasure and try to remember.” 

I felt a panic that was separated from my emotions. It gave the knowledge that I should be fearful and yet nothing stirred inside of me. I enjoyed TV, and felt no hunger, no thirst. It didn’t mattered to me that I couldn’t remember my name, age or a single person. 

This morning, I had awaken with a sharp emptiness. Something felt under the influence of a confusing oddness, in which my body laid separated from my emotions. This time I tried panicking, and yet my feelings were under a thick sheet of ice that could not be shattered. I would had felt melancholy, but there was no self to be melancholic about. Sensations of apprehension had no anchor without identity, and so I drifted. I had the vague notion that I should eat, like the people in the Big Bang Theory. Those people also had friends. I too should eat and have friends. My thoughts were interrupted when I found another note.

“Good morning, 

Congratulations, you have been selected to go on a blind date. Please enjoy a selection of clothing from your era. Your computer has access to current information. Please enjoy and try to remember.”

The first page on my computer was a portal to something called “The Noah Project”. It continue to congratulate me and pleated for me to “relax and try to remember”. It explained that they were “The Keepers” and they wanted to know about me and my time. In exchange they would provide “all my needs and happiness”. Which was boastful for an entity who had brought me to life without my consent. Who are they to decide who lives again? What right to they have to keep me? Certainly this called for anger; I should be furious, right? They continue to explain that they were akin to what we would consider aliens, but they meant no harm and they just wanted to ask some questions about my time on Earth. I knew I should be scared, horrified, claustrophobic. In place of these feelings I had a quiet urge to scream and no reason or desire to let it out. Mostly, I felt curiosity and wondered if I was glad to live again. 

I put on black dress and stared in the reflection. I could be anyone. I would had been unable to find myself in a photo. I, I, I. Relaxing wasn’t helping my memory. It was doubtful that a blind date would. 

A message popped on my screen letting me know that my date was in 30 minutes, then 15, and finally five minutes. Right on cue on the white door to my hospital room opened. The next room had a couple of empty round tables, a counter with glass-covered pastries, and faintly familiar machines. A male figure appeared from behind one of the appliances. He stared at me nervously for a second before walking towards me. All I could see were his eyes, with their soft blend of dark greens and light browns.

“Do you like coffee?” he asked, handing me a mug. 

My strange body is here now. Talking to a handsome man from the future. Is this the worse that can happen? Curiosity nags at me, keeping me in the conversation. 

“What will happen when I remember? Who are they?” It was so hard to choose questions, I was bursting with intrigue. 

“They will ask questions… I have never seen them… I have been alone; they send me messages through my terminal. They use my technology, in the same way they use your technology to communicate. They ask me questions, ask me about the accuracy in their data. They ask me philosophical questions, my interpretation of things. I used to be a philosopher and ask myself questions…” he paused to grin widely. “Now I answer them. In my mind, they are scholars.”

“Wait. How long have you been here?” It wasn’t fear, but it was a glimpse of empathy. 

“One of your years”, his eyes focused on an invisible point. “I can’t lie to the first person I meet. I am very happy to meet you. It has been odd, I didn’t want to be alone anymore”.

I found myself wondering what is the difference between empathy and feelings? “Wait! You said they created me because ‘humans are mated’. Did you asked for me…?”I know I should be mad, what if I didn’t want to live again? But I am not. What if I did?

“I guess I did… I didn’t mean to,” he stared at his own hands. “I asked if they were other humans, I asked if they were women. They asked me many questions about human relationships and love, and I answered. Yesterday they told me to get ready for a blind date with a ‘millennial woman from Earth’. I am sorry if this is not what you wanted."

“Wait!” I stuttered. “Are we alone?”

“Yes,” he touched his curly hair and looked away.

We sat in silence. I was unsure how to process this new information. The man sitting in front of me was the only human I would ever see. How could I know if I wanted a second life if I didn’t remember my first one? My thoughts were muffled; I should be having complex emotions. I realized then that feelings are a reaction to previous experiences, and I had none. Curiosity was my only drive.

“Do you know who you are?” I said.

He looked puzzled, “does anyone really?” he said with a smirk.

“No, I mean it.” I couldn’t help a chuckle. “Do you remember your previous life? Do you miss your friends?”

“Is not like that… maybe is different for you… is like a movie. A movie can make you cry, but you move on. Is like a very good book, the most detailed one, with characters you love. And yet you move on, you are able to dream of the things you want, for your futur-

“Like a woman,” I snapped 

“Yes,” his eyes darted away and then stared straight at mine. “Like I dreamed of meeting you.” 

“Not me in particular, but a woman.” It was said without malice, but it sounded like a jab. “It’s okay, I don’t expect you to like me either,” but I couldn’t help a smile. “Besides, what are the chances they found a woman that actually wants a relationship?” 

And yet after saying it, I felt a pang of loneliness that didn’t belong in this reality. I could sense I've a desert flower once, blooming only briefly. I am nobody and I feel adrift. There is the memory of being touched with weariness and distrust; feelings being kept at arm’s lengths. There was also the need for a sensation I could not pinpoint; I want for something intangible. It made me want to know more, it made me want to write about the enigmatic man from the future.

“This is risky, because we could never be strangers” I hesitated while I stared at the table full of small paper pieces.

“We have time, you have time. We can talk, we can walk in silence too. But I would like to get to meet you and… well… just know that I am not going anywhere.” He slumped looking at the papers and then at my eyes. “And if you think I am weird, it's because being completely alone, in an alien planet, does that to people”

“I used to be dead a few days ago; I feel weird too”. I said, contemplating how much of my empathy was just the fact that I was also on an alien planet, with a complete stranger trying to seduce me. “Did they chose me for you?” It seemed like I should be offended, but what would be so wrong if we were meant to be and he had been a couple of hundred years late?

“I don’t know, I said I would answer questions, but I don’t know much” he took a sip of his own coffee and squinted. “This is not good. I researched where to take you, and it seemed that a coffee shop would be the best place, but you don’t like coffee,” he sniffed the brown liquid, “and neither do I.”

“What do you like?” I asked genuinely interested. This was a second chance at life. I had no where to be; and here was someone who seemed to have nothing else to do but to talk to me.

“I like nature,” and his face lit up. 

February 15, 2024 19:52

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John Rutherford
07:25 Feb 19, 2024

Interesting. A blind with a stranger on an alien planet in the future, after dying. Did I get that right?


Nina Yaney
22:39 Feb 19, 2024

Thank you! Yes. A blind date in an alien planet after being "resuscitated"


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Rachel Ives
14:47 Feb 23, 2024

It seems like the two characters are having to get to know themselves as well as each other in a strange new environment - that's a really good metaphor for a blind date.


Nina Yaney
16:00 Feb 26, 2024

Oh I love that perspective! Each of us are different depending on who are partner is and what are our current circumstances. Thanks for the comment!


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AbiGayle Miller
17:25 Feb 22, 2024

Does the character from first person have a name?


Nina Yaney
18:12 Feb 22, 2024

She does but she can’t remember it yet. Thanks for the question


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