K had left the kid to think. James Edwards had a lot to think about and K knew the young man would need some time alone. Just as he had needed once upon a memory. K was walking along the sea front. It was only over the past few weeks and months that he had even noticed how wonderful the sea was. How tumultuous the waves rose when the mood caught it and yet how calm it could appear, with dangerous currents rippling underneath the surface.
It had been a few hours since he had left James along with his thoughts and K decided to return to the waterfront, only to find that the young man was still on the bench; still thinking. K had then left the young man alone and walked a fair way so that he could no longer see the young man clad in the garish orange coat. If he made the decision with a confident mind, he would never wear anything like that again. K went to sit on one of the benches facing out across the bay and beyond to new horizons. K watched as the water lay smooth and tranquil. Dangerous currents not even visible, but K knew they were there. Suddenly, a wave crashed up against the sea wall and sent spray on to an unsuspecting couple as they walked close to the barrier. K smirked. He saw that happen to people most days when he walked along the bay, but he never tired of the sight. The woman screamed at the shock of the cold water whilst the man followed as she retreated from the edge. She was consoled by the young man who hugged her tightly, never wanting to let go. As the couple walked away to the rest of their lives, K tried not to stare. He knew it was rude, but it was times like this when he realised that he was always saw the unusual here on Earth. He could spot the aliens amidst a swarm of people without a second glance. It was when he saw the out of the ordinary every day that he realised that he had not paid enough attention to what lay in front of his eyes and what really mattered. Humanity.
Sometimes he would forget that he was part of that species. He saw the Men in Black as outsiders, the middle men who looked on from below the mass of the universe and tried to keep things tidy. How could he hope to do that when his own life had started to unravel from the very moment he had joined MiB? What chance was there?
His thoughts were no longer allowed to dwell on this crisis point in his life when he noticed that he was no longer alone on his bench staring out beyond the waves. There was space on the other benches along the coast line, but someone had come and specifically sat next to him. He could feel them sitting beside him. He turned, expecting to see James sitting there, about to say some long line of inconsistent babble culminating by calling him 'dawg' which in the end would mean 'I'm in' or 'I can't do this, man.' Both of which, K was prepared for. However, when K turned, he did not find James in his orange jacket, but a young girl, sitting casually by his side. He quickly turned away. Fearful of interaction. From what K saw she couldn't have been more than 17…maybe 18 years old. She had blonde hair and wore contemporary clothing; jeans and a baggy red shirt. Just an ordinary teenage girl of the 1990s. They sat awkwardly silent for a few minutes. K just staring out to sea, trying to tear his mind on to other things.
'You look about as happy as I feel.' The girl spoke. K didn't want to look like he reacted. He tried to keep his cool whilst at the same time wanting the girl to leave immediately. This wasn't her sorrow. He felt like it was his default setting if he didn't quite know what to do. Stay silent and something would come of it. 'I thought it was people my age who were supposed to be all moping and hollow and crap like that…' The description threw K. Hollow? Did he really look that bad? He knew that this job added mileage, as an old friend had told him back in 1969 'You have some city miles on ya', but hollow seemed a bit deep. Now he came to think of it, that man in 1969 did remind him of someone…
But for Christ sake, K was 57…people his age weren't supposed to be running about saving the world from invasion on a daily basis and keeping those aliens on Earth under wraps. He was supposed to be at home tending his garden with the woman he loved, fishing with some of his old friends or maybe even still working one of those quaint little country jobs. Something where he got to be outside like a farmer or a stall vender or a post man perhaps…
After a few minutes more of awkward silence, the girl decided to interrupt his train of thought. 'You can ignore me all day but…a problem shared is a problem solved.' She obviously wasn't taking his silence as a hint to leave.
'Alright, slick. What's your problem?' K replied, still not making eye contact or wanting to even turn to look at her. Not really caring about the little girl's problems. He had bigger fish to fry.
'A guy I like doesn't know I exist…simple teenage crap I'm sure, but y'know…' The teenage girl sat there, shadows under her sad eyes, staring down at her feet which stretched out from the wooden bench. She kept crossing and uncrossing her feet as if it was the only way to pass the time until K replied. The girl had realised as soon as she had sat next to this man dressed like a funeral director that maybe what her mum had told her all those years ago wasn't such a good idea; to always be there to listen. But in her mother's memory, the girl had seen this man, looking like the world lay on his shoulders and wanted to offer any help she could, just as her mum had always done for her.
K turned his head to face her. His dark brown eyes seemed to look past her own and into the very heart of her. She'd never seen eyes like that before. So full of wisdom and knowledge and greed. Not the kind of selfish greed that things like money or power instigate, but the kind that comes out of having given a lot to the world and the hope for it to be acknowledged. 'What about you?' She questioned, turning her head back to her feet. Realising she might have gotten somewhere with this man.
K considered his answer. This girl had engaged in conversation with him. She wasn't being vindictive or loud like so many of the days youth were. She was quiet and honest and a little bit broken. Like he knew he was.
'The girl I like thinks I'm dead…' K replied simply. He'd said it. One of the hundreds of things niggling at him day and night and he'd said it. After a short time, the blonde girl brought her gaze from her feet and back to him. She wanted to enquire, but she knew, like K did, that something like that didn't need to be explored. The mere act of airing ones thoughts sometimes created miracles.
'Sounds pretty tough…' For a moment, K didn't think the girl would respond. His outward demeanour had wanted her to not understand and run back to her comparatively easy life. Inside however was a different story. K had been thinking about the woman he liked for a long time. Thirty five years to be exact. It was one of the many things he regretted about his life. He'd only aired his thoughts to Zed. Told him what he wanted and how he wanted it. The kid a few hundred metres down the coast line, sitting on a bench, staring out to the bay and toward his future was his chance for freedom.
The girl stood from the bench, pushing herself up with her hands. K watched as she stood and walked to the sea front. Leaning on the barrier, arms crossed, facing the waves. The disgruntled MiB agent pushed himself from the bench and went to join the girl by the barrier. She was looking out towards the horizon.
'Solamen miseris socios habuisse doloris'. The girl whispered. Each word sounding like a chore against the wind as it began to swell from sea breeze to gale. 'It is a comfort to the unfortunate to have companions in woe.' She concluded. K was thankful that she had translated. Latin wasn't something you heard very often in Manhattan. Despite being lost in translation, K recognised the sentiment. Both to his own situation and the saying's rough origins. He recalled it belonging to a play called 'Doctor Faustus', one he had read when Diablo Furay from Light System Four had duped a human into sacrificing his soul so that the Earth might be destroyed. The play was about a man who had sold his soul to the devil for ultimate earthly power. Watching the waves with the teenage girl by his side, K would willingly make the same trade to spend one day in the arms of the woman he loved. And he was sure that the little girl felt the same way about her love.
The pair looked out to sea for about five minutes of calm contemplation. The girl looked down to her arm, pulled up the sleeve and read the time on her watch. Her head snapped up as she realised she would miss the subway home if she stayed much longer. K had noticed the girl's sped up motion as her thoughts moved faster than her body could facilitate. K remembered the thousands of times when he too had one hundred things running around his mind and yet his body was no longer willing or able to fulfil them. The girl stopped and slowed herself down before turning to K.
'Thank you.' She said, looking into those deep brown eyes. K smiled. This little girl, considering how little they had spoken, had helped him so much. She had allowed him to realise how much he was going back for. She made him remember what he was missing and how that need to love somebody and be loved is in everybody. Every human.
She looked back down to her feet as K acknowledged her thanks.
'No, no. Thank you.' K replied. The girl smiled too and began to walk from the sea front. K looked back to the sea before turning to watch the little girl leave, but she was gone. Disappeared into the swarm of humanity as they bustled around their everyday lives. Into a world which K would return to if the man down the bay made the right decision.
K was interrupted when his communicator started to buzz in his pocket. He reached inside and brought the small device up to his ear.
'Zed?' K answered instantly. Trying to drag himself back from his thoughts.
'Bad news K. We're getting readings of legal aliens using unauthorised ships to leave Earth. More than have been scheduled for today. Reports are coming in from across America.'
'Suggesting that they know something we don't.'
'Precisely. I'll need you and Edwards back here immediately.'
'I'm afraid, Zed, that Mr Edwards is yet to make his decision.' Yet.
'Well when he does, be ready for him back at MiB HQ'
'Yes, sir.' K clicked the small device shut and returned it to his pocket before flattening the front of his suit. K turned and looked at the sea once more and down the bay to where James would be making his final decision. He smiled and started to walk in the direction of MiB headquarters, knowing that the currents were coming to the surface and were ready to wreck all kinds of havoc on this little planet to which he most certainly belonged.
Thank you so much for reading. Hope you enjoyed it. xxx