Stargazing with the Bossanova Man

On her way to her office floor, Nova found herself in an elevator with one of her colleagues who had recently joined. Nova is usually so in her head that she rarely realises her own surroundings, but that day she came to her senses when she heard the man say her name, Nova. She asked him, “Did you just call me?”

“Sorry, no”
“But I clearly hear you say nova.”
“Oh no I was saying Bossanova.”
“You know the elevator music? It’s Bossanova.”
“It’s a type of brazilian music, this elevator is playing The Girl From Ipanema.

That’s when she heard it; music was indeed present in the elevator. And stopped abruptly to pronounce the opening on the 17th floor. Nova quickly started moving, not trying to look at the man after their awkward encounter. 

The next day Nova met the same man again on her way up to her office. Before the man could open his mouth, Nova announced, “Bossa nova?” Her tone had a hint of question to it, not sarcasm but rather a genuine inquiry. Which the man had picked up on and replied by nodding,

“It’s Antonio Adolfo’s How Insensitive. A great piece.”
“You seem to know a lot about Bossanova”, Nova inquired.
“Yeah, my father was a big fan. I’ve been listening to them since childhood.”

As they both walked out of the elevator, they continued their conversation.

“That must’ve been a colourful childhood.”
“It was until a time.” 

The next time Nova met the man, they were in another elevator but not in their office building. They were going on top of an observatory. The man was gloomy as ever; Nova could feel her heart start racing. To ease the tension, she asked frantically if the man liked space. To which the man replied with a simple yes. When the elevator finally reached the top floor, Nova breathed in relief. But to their astonishment, the roof was completely empty. Nova started thinking out loud,

“How can no one care about a meteor shower!” she exclaimed.
“Isn’t that next Friday?” the man replied.
“I’m pretty sure it is today. Why else are you here?”
“It’s not today, and I like smoking in silence.”
“Your roof doesn’t have silence?”
“I also like the moons.”

The man went over to the railing and pulled a cigarette out of his pocket, just then the electricity went out, and it was pitch black. He lit the cigarette with his lighter. Following the light from the fire, Nova came near the man. Under the lights of both moons, the man’s face looked more alluring than ever. Nova thought this night was feeling like a dream. This beautiful Bossanova man, the beautiful night, just him smoking this cigarette, both of them silent; something felt very serene to her. Nova asked for a cigarette from the man. When he gave her one, he also gave her a cassette. Nova asked him what the cassette was for. 

“It’s a mixtape of my favourite Bossanova pieces. I’m giving you a part of me.”

Nova took her walkman out, gave one side of the earphone to the man and started listening to the cassette. 

“It’s Look To The Sky by Antonio Carlos Jobim, maybe we should.”

They both looked at the two moons up in the sky. One bright, one faded under clouds. 

The next time they met, it was in their office elevator. Antonio Carlos Jobim’s Remember was playing. Nova could instantly recognise the song from the mixtape, but when she looked at the man, she could see no reaction. Nova asked if he recognised the song. To which he just replied I remember. 

The next day they met in the elevator when Naomi & Goro’s Council Meeting was playing; the man only looked straight. Frustrated, Nora asked if he was mad at him, but the man gave no answers. 

For the rest of the week, Nora looked everywhere for the man but couldn’t find him. Nora didn’t even know his name, and no one could seem to identify a man based on her descriptions. Until the night of the meteor shower. When after all the people had left the roof, Nora could see a man in the back; it was her Bossanova man. 

“Hey!” Nora shouted and started running after him. 

The man didn’t respond, but he wasn’t moving a muscle. When Nora finally came up to him, the man spoke, 

“You know what I want to do?”
“I want to feel music again.”
“Do you want to listen to the mixtape you gave me?”
“No, I gave the last of me in that. I can’t hear it anymore.”

After a long silence, Nora pointed to the sky and said, “Hey, look, it’s like you can’t even see the second moon.” 

“Anyways, what’s your name?” asked Nora, still looking at the sky.
“Akay, it means moon in turkish”

Still looking up, Nora saw that the second moon was now coming into view; it wasn’t as bright as she remembered from before. But when she looked down, Akay, her Bossanova man, was gone, never to cross her path again.

“Scintillating Pearls” – Photography contributed by Mehrab Islam.

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