This story was written strictly for the purpose of entertainment. No attempt has been made to copyright any characters which may not have been originally created by the author, and no profit is made from this work of fiction. Any original characters and the stories themselves are the property of the author.


If you looked in his eyes, the boy looked older than his years and cold and dangerous as a snake. Seen a few feet away, as happens in public, people also assumed him to be older. Whether it was the swagger, the muscles, or the general air of danger, many people never wanted to get closer. It was the middle distance that bedeviled him. At the middle distance, predators saw how beautiful he was. They got lost in looking at the blue eyes and the sexy mouth. If he wore the ugly black plastic glasses, it didn't do enough to deter the ones who wanted him and it made him look weak to the others. He decided in the end that the glasses stayed in a pocket and only came out when he needed to read something.

He read voraciously in his little corner of the abandoned building that he and several other squatters had claimed. He had a stash of books under a floorboard. Sometimes those hunting for drugs found them. Disappointed, they tended to strew them around, or, worse case, rip them to pieces. He just stole more when that happened. He spent a lot of time in the public library. To amuse himself he had taken the practice SATs in some book. He had a perfect score. Not that he would ever take the real ones. That would require an identity. It would require joining the real world and then the foster care system might put him somewhere once again where a foster father or another foster kid or a friend of the foster family would notice him the wrong way.

One year on the street and he was tired. He thought sometimes about suicide. It would reunite him, he thought, with his parents. He remembered the Egyptian funeral customs that his parents had studied and explained patiently to him in the evening when they returned from the dig. He didn't have many grave goods to lay out next to him except his pitiful stash of books and one picture of them. If he lay down and overdosed – the drugs to do the deed not at all hard to come by – someone would steal everything before he had crossed the River Styx.

Sometimes he went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. They had a reconstructed temple in a big room next to an ersatz Nile. It was a good place to talk to his parents. One day, he was standing gazing at it when a slender, blonde girl with glasses came to stand next to him and share the view. She wore very conservative clothes, a white buttoned down blouse and a navy blue skirt, almost a uniform. He waited for her to notice who she was standing next to, get nervous, and move off but she didn't.

She said, "This is really amazing isn't it? I wish there was a guide around to tell us the details."

He said, "I actually know quite a bit about it. Maybe I can tell you some things that would interest you."

He talked, very rapidly, as he did when he was excited about something, when his intellect was engaged. She was marvelous. She understood everything and asked only intelligent questions. At last he exhausted everything he could thing of around the temple and they stood quietly.

"I thought I would go and look at the other Egyptian exhibits," she said, at last.

"I was going that way," he said. "I could walk with you, maybe tell you some more." He cringed, expecting her to find some polite excuse to reject him. He got plenty of action from the girls on the street but she was different. She was all cleaned up and normal and living in a safe world where you put some value on your body and with whom you shared it.

She stunned him by saying, very shyly, "I would really like that."

They spent two hours going through what the museum had to offer. Suddenly she looked at her watch. "It's 3:15. My dad is going to kill me. I promised I'd be out front at 3:00. We're just here for the weekend."

He felt like he was about to lose something precious. "Do you think you'll ever get back to New York?"

"My dad's in the Air Force. They station him all over the place. I never know where I'm going to be." She looked distressed. "I could write you." She blushed as if she thought she had been forward and he wouldn't welcome such an offer.

"I don't … I don't actually have an address," he said mortified. "Or a phone."

She was blushing furiously now. With great difficulty she managed to get out, "I've never met anybody like you before. You're so smart. Someday, I think I'll turn on the news and I'll see something about someone famous and it will be you."

He was stunned. No one had that kind of belief in him. He couldn't think of anything to say except, "Nah. I'm not all that great. You're the one that's going to be famous."

She dug around in her purse and pulled out a wallet sized picture of herself. "Here's one of my school pictures. When you're famous, I'll come and see you. You won't know who I am, of course. You'll think I'm some sort of groupie and I'll say, 'I'm the one in the photo' and you'll know."

He took it and captured her hand in the process. He pulled her to him and he kissed her, as good a kiss as he could make it while still making it respectful. When he released her, she put her fingers to her lips and said, in a voice full of wonder, "That was my first kiss and it was perfect."

She blushed some more and then look anxiously at her watch. She hugged him quickly and then turned and walked very quickly away. She turned just once and waved before she went around the corner. He realized then that he had never asked her name or she his. He decided to call her Isis because he felt the need of the name for the most extraordinary thing that had ever happened to him.

The boy looked down at the photo of the pretty girl. He had to be someone who could meet her on equal terms someday. He went to the Covenant House on Times Square that night and put himself back in the system so that he could go to college.

Years later, the boy had reinvented himself to be what he thought an archeologist ought to be. The tough kid from the streets was gone. On another planet, he met a beautiful blonde astrophysicist and he thought he saw something familiar. It never occurred to him that she could be Isis whose picture was in the effects he had left behind on Earth before he came to Abydos. She looked at him for a moment as if she too knew him, but the moment passed. They became great friends and at odd moments, they both thought there was something oddly insufficient about that, that some promise had been betrayed.

One night after a decade of friendhsip, the two were talking over a glass of wine about what had motivated them to become who they were. He said, "None of us ever know which of our chance encounters changes the world for someone else. There was a girl who told me when I was just a street punk, living in a crack house, that I was going to famous some day. She was so perfect, so far above me, and I thought I had to do something so that if I ever met her again, we would be equals."

She didn't say anything. He looked over at her and she seemed strange. "Is there something wrong?" he asked anxiously.

"I was just thinking about my first kiss."

He felt a little annoyed by her sudden change of subject without acknowledging what he had shared but he was a good friend and so he said something noncommittal, "Really?"

"It changed me like that girl changed you. It made me braver, determined not to let any more opportunities get away from me. It was in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was the most gorgeous boy I had ever seen. I was too shy, too much of a brain, and a goody two shoes. Boys like that never paid any attention to me, but he did."

He felt his blood run cold. "You gave him your school picture and said that you would come see him when he was famous."

She stared at him. "You've been here all the time and I didn't know." She resurrected the memory. "You don't remember me, but I'm the one in the photo."

He pulled her toward him. "I've waited more than 20 years for a second kiss."

She laughed, "You won't have to wait more than 20 seconds for the third one."

The end