From what Selene could observe, Melville did not quite have Hudson’s ruggedness, but he seemed to have a quicker brain and greater sensitivity – and he was, alluringly, a bit on the slender and androgynous side. She could almost imagine doing a ballet routine with him; he could pick her up and swing her lithe form. So Selene proceeded to her next step, sending him a questionnaire, to sound out his knowledge of history and politics.
Melville certainly passed muster but did not blind Selene with science. He could not be Selene’s mentor, partly because of all she had learned from Hudson, which had made her compulsively knowledge-hungry – turned her into a ruthlessly determined scholar. It had certainly sharpened her career, and could sharpen other things! So they could initiate their expedition on terms of parity, with Selene assuming some of Hudson’s old role. They both knew what they were doing, what they were looking for. And if there were to be a platonic conclusion, she was sure Melville could certainly take it in his stride. He radiated the greater humanity which comes from not having had things too easy. She had sensed that this had not altogether been the case with Hudson – although he could play the gentleman with perfect ease.
Her flight was held up for 6 hours at Gander Airport Newfoundland because of a terrorist alert. Selene was bemused and irritated, but not devastated. There remained the perverse excitement of being at a safe distance. The waiting period gave her time for reflection: some of the most sublime trysts took place with conflict and war in the background.
She had scrupulously kept the map from her last trip, so she could precisely locate the scene of her instinctive encounter, fortified by the experience and memory of that tryst – flagged by a jagged rock, shaped rather like a spear-head. Radiant in her white bathing suit, she waited patiently. The fates answered her prayer, sure enough, a speck appeared on the horizon, fleshing out a beautiful boy – a bit taller and stronger than the one cherished in her memory; his exquisite coffee-coloured skin encased his rippling muscles. He felt like a perfect blend of Native American and Mediterranean – and that was certainly a possibility. Below his slender waist were the black trunks of magnetic chemistry. (Yes; Selene harboured fantasies about mixed race males; she also rather fancied herself as a dusky quadroon or octoroon, making a modulating colour scheme from her encounters – white and coffee-coloured, black and brown). He showed no reticence; they lit up with two-way smiles. With an imperious wave, she beckoned him to follow her into the sea, which murmured prompts to them both through its eddies and, non-verbally, commanding him to emulate her every motion in the water. This beat hell out of synchronised swimming. Their goggles enabled them to monitor each other’s every movement, with all the grace of dolphins. He matched her in agility and endurance. They headed for the shore; she gave him a full, penetrating gaze and then turned firmly away. As if bound by oath, he refrained from looking at her – perhaps because of something deep-seated in his conditioning. There was the ultimately desirable God, and for that reason their consummation must be purely in the realm of the spirit. He would remain forever in her memory, untarnished by foibles as was the other boy. To reciprocate, she would last throughout his life-span, perhaps beyond, as his dream goddess. If it was his tragic destiny to be cut down in his prime, through drugs, fame, or gang warfare, she would beam his laser guides to heaven, in the assurance that he had sustained a sort of perfection throughout his lifetime on earth. Perhaps part of her wanted to be preserved as a statue for posterity.