4 Feliz Cumpleaños.

Every moment adds up to the reality you and I live in contemporarily. Every insignificant detail, feeling and action in the present can reshape and hack our future. But sometimes...

No matter what you do, things would lead you to the same path over and over again, and that is the universe's will. That's your fate. The sacrifices, the indifferences, the happiness or nothing at all would matter at that moment.

The smallest details, like waving at a stranger or being stuck in the traffic, wearing the wrong hat or hiding your internal emotions, can lead up to something exquisite or something terribly tragic. That is the significance of the butterfly effect.

That is the magic or logic, whatever it may seem to a sceptic's eye, behind this very moment.

Place yourself in a position where you had two choices, but you picked the one you didn't make.

How would your life be now?

Where would you be?

What would happen differently?

Whereas sometimes no matter how many wrong decisions you make, no matter how limited or extensive your options are, you will continue to be in the same spot. And that is what your chosen purpose is. But I beg to differ.

How much time could god even have to monitor everyone's life?

The universe comprises planets, stars, asteroids, moons, black holes and so much more and we aren't even a per cent of what exists in the cosmos, nor have we seen the endless galaxies that live above in person. Everything seems like it's normal, it's just how life is and the beautiful sky at 3 am would be something you could never see up-close...

It feels impractical, doesn't it?

And then you meet people. Not those who drain you off completely...

I'm speaking of those who will make you absorb all their energy. Where your energies will vibrate at the same frequency and feel as if you are both together, the sun and everything that's resplendent is revolving around you because of how beautiful everything in between is.

It makes your heartbeat at the speed of light. It makes your eyes twinkle like the brightest star. It makes you vulnerable because every dent that could damage your bond would feel like a meteor crashing against your tiny little heart, ripping your arteries out and burning into nothing but zilch, but that connection also makes you feel secure and loved which is why you trust them so easily, out of everyone else.

Where you see your reflection in them even when you're two completely different people. Where you rise in love while lifting each other up no matter how thick the odds might be.

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Your love is stronger than gravity itself, your bond is mysterious like the big bang. And despite all your fears, you fight to exist. You like each other shining bright and when the one lacks luminousness, the other grants them their light to light up the darkest parts of the universe. Imagining a future without them feels like planets without gravity.

And when they leave, you feel a void that resembles the black hole, sucking everything that's close to you like a strong uncontrollable vacuum into nothingness.

Into the darkness where you don't know where to go but exist without the stars, the galaxies or anything that ever existed before. When you miss their warmth, their tenderness and aura.

You miss how the lines of their hands felt in yours, how they giggled, how they made you smile, how their lips tasted and how blessed you felt in those delicate moments with them.

And no matter what, you long to feel that way but you cannot help but spiral into the dark space inside your ribs that's ruthlessly killing you slowly. Pain neutralises itself and numbs you on days, sometimes for weeks and all you can wish for is to soften and feel. But your heart is too tired of feeling anything at all.

Eventually, you're used to that, you forget how it ever felt to be held, to be loved or to be cherished. All you ever thought was yours together, scatters into atoms that barely exist. All you can recall is feeling abandoned and being bailed upon.

All you can believe is that you have been cheated on by life itself, but you have to hold on to those memories, for they're yours to own and keep.

The most unbearably troublesome part is reminiscing without it harshly stripping a piece of you each time, never to regenerate again. But, once you're over that you get to re-live those moments without wanting to die each time.

I step in my tower's elevator that's designed to cool us off, disinfecting us with its soothing blue UV lights as it smoothly took me up to the 20th floor where our penthouse is.

Xara's and mine.

I let the elevator scan my fingerprint to let me into my house and as it opens; I see nothing but darkness. I step on to the polished, freshly cleaned, black and gold marble floor that Xara and I purchased together for our new home.

I moved in any way after her sudden demise. It's ours. Everything in this house is handpicked by us, and that is exactly what makes it extremely special.

"Helen?" I called out.

I turn my doodle on to enable the electricity so I could change into some comfortable shorts and start working on my new Nano-tech. The lights turn on and there's strange silence since Helen is no longer here. As soon as I open the VA app on my doodle to track her chip..

A crowd of people screamed together in a whoop of delight behind me, "¡Feliz cumpleaños!"

Golden confetti rained all over my body, most of it getting stuck into my wavy hair. My sister Bianca came over and hugged me.

"Feliz cumpleaños mi hermano precioso." My sister came over to me and kissed my cheeks firmly and hugged me tightly followed by a tight whack, my family's dialect of affection.

She always followed traditions, the birthday rule in our family that my mother made. It said the first birthday wish always had to be in Spanish because it reminded her of being with her family.

And now it reminded us of being with her.

My resilient mother. I miss her, so much.

It had been quite a while since I met my sister last, this was comforting and less lonely. Her wife Kavya greeted me too. Their 3 children Maya, Cece and Kuro jumped and clung to my arms and feet lovingly.

"Happy birthday, Dee!" The kids said endearingly. Helen came over and played the birthday message my grandma saved into an old pen drive 7 years ago. It brought tears to my eyes, she was all we had after mum passed away. I missed her, but since Helen came into my life, it feels as if grandma's here. With me.

I turned around to hide my face as I looked at the wall with my mother's picture and beamed. They remembered my birthday when I was losing track of days myself.

That's the beautiful family I have left. If only Xara could be alive to complete it.

We all sat together as Helen served supper. Kavya prepared a platter with assorted Indian kebabs for starters, a dash of lime and a dip into the spicy green chutney was all that I needed to customise it a little more as the fatty mutton kebabs filled my mouth with a tsunami of flavours as soon as I devoured it.

For the main course we had some old-fashioned, 'Aji de Gallina' which is a Peruvian spicy creamed chicken entrée, ALWAYS served hot. The scrumptious delicate chicken in the creamy yellow gravy made from crushed walnuts melted in my mouth and went well, garnished with thinly sliced black olives and Amarillo peppers from my sister's garden that gave a kick of freshness with every flavourful bite.

Served with a hard-boiled egg for even more richness and creamy mouthfeel. It reminds me of the days I would come back from school and would be served a warm plateful of mum's hand made dishes that she would never fail in serving no matter how low she felt.

It reminds me of her love. The creamy dish almost melted in my mouth with the chicken cooked to perfection, the steam from its gravy filling the room with nostalgic aroma.

It paired perfectly with a glass of Bleasdale Sparkling Shiraz, which is a dry red wine that goes smoothly with spicy or tangy food, especially this plate-full of happiness.

I looked at Kavya and Bianca.

They've been married for 5 years now and have been in love ever since they first met at an event in the university I teach in. I took my sister because Xe needed her help to manage it. Ms Shetty and Xara were best friends and always hung out together, Xara was an event manager just like my sister Bianca, so they worked together on the project.

When Kavya Shetty and my beloved older sister Bianca Dalton met, Xara sensed an instant connection between them.

Only a month later they started dating, and a year later got married. Things happened so quickly yet at a seemingly comfortable speed.

Kavya already had a 2-year-old daughter, Maya, from her previous marriage that didn't end well. Bianca adopted her as her own and to unitedly raise their daughter together.

When I see them, I know for sure that love exists. It does not wear over time, their connection only intensifies and I feel only more love between them when I see them together.

Over the years, there have been many disagreements, but they never gave up, their relationship ages like fine wine. The table was lively because of the children constantly chortling and teasing their mommies for their very-visible PDA. It filled my heart with happiness for them but also reminded me of a sorrowful idle space in me because I missed Xara; it has been two years since we lost her in 2048 and things would be so different if she spent more time with me and I didn't let her walk alone.

Perhaps I could've saved her... Maybe, we would die together but heaven may or may not exist at all so being with her in the afterlife isn't a binding guarantee.

We participate in the grim and meticulous game of life and how to win it? You never know.

There is only one option to existing together, in the present. And making that possible is my job. I've had enough grief on my plate and if there is a god, I challenge him to stop me if he can because my love is worth every bit of pain and I won't lose myself, I will find her and we will have a simple yet ravishing life together. I'll see what's stronger---my powerful will or his senseless wrath.

It is a choice I want to make possible instead of being a part of a play, controlled by the entities above just playing the sport of puppet-master with us. I can't risk 'going with the flow', we never know where that would lead, a warm stream or a stinky gutter.

It's about time I try to find a practical solution to this. I bid them goodbye and laid in bed to rest a little, postponing my work for 15 minutes, thinking of any probable way to make my dream come true.

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