Chapter 4

In the permanent weightlessness Iase was constantly thinking about Veana, but never call her. He wanted to consider the future minutely, thoroughly and what was the main – with a cold mind. It appeared that cold thinking is hard to him but Iase tried.
Ten years passed since Iase Bilikadze first time arrived in the cosmos. During this time he worked in tens of shifts and knew better than anybody how long are lasting they. But his time he becomes suspicious – was there such endless duty ever? All the more, space-erector even was scared that this shift never ends.
Finally, his fear had no justification. At last, the shit has ended. The cargo ship delivered the next group of erectors, operators and communication specialists at the building site. People were followed by food, residential goods, and spare materials. Thru insulated corridor, both people and objects had moved to station and instead, workers prepared to vacation walked to a lorry. In a few hours cargo ship insensibly detached from the port, make way toward the home planet and take with it Iase.
There was dawning when that ship had landed at the cosmodrome in the Namib Desert. Iase immediately called to Veana and make an appointment for her. Except for usual greetings, they told nothing to each other.
After this, the astronaut informed the parents that he has returned but warned them he isn’t coming home yet, because of urgent reason. In connection with this, he told to parents instantly fallen in thoughts, maybe he will arrive not alone but with the guest. About that mysterious person, however hard they were trying, Meliton and Taso had got nothing. The secret remained secret.
Next day, after changing two airplanes, Iase arrived fifteen minutes earlier at the place, where he and Veana appointed to meet. It turned out that here, “above” the Arctic Circle, the middle of September is deep autumn and is quite cold. The man looked around. In a little park, maybe even it was garden, there was nobody and it itself was so quiet as if was waiting for something important. Only yellow-red waterfalls of leaves fallen from trees time to time were remaining Iase that rendezvous is approaching.
Inwardly the cosmic trigger one more time repeated the words he wanted to say to his sweetheart. As he was guessing, he had planned nothing so impossible, but who knows…
There came the time. Soon Iase saw acquaintance svelte figure and feel that notwithstanding his “cosmic” imperturbability and ability to self-possession, he isn’t able to restrain his excitement. Veana wore long raincoat the rose color of which was perfectly arranged with motley dyes, dominated in the garden. Likewise conformed to the formerly red-yellow and now darken leaves her deep orange, high heeled shoes.
On the backdrop of such diversity of colors, Iase for certain stood out with his grey leather jacket, deep brown shirt, dark blue breeches, and black shoes. The years spent in the space, accustomed him to inexpressiveness of colors.
Until now the astronaut builder has seen the woman wearing either swimming trunks or practically the same size clothes in which she mostly looked like a teenager. This time in front of him stood a young business lady. Only her smile allowed Iase to withdraw from his little confusion and helped him to comprehend that he sees just the same Veana.
Woman and man had kissed each other; then Veana took the rose on a long branch stretched by Iase and asked smiling:
“I doubt if you recognize me, weightlessness is affecting on memory?”
“Once it was actually so, days and month were needed after returning from cosmos to re-conceive the notions of “up” and “down,” smiled Iase, “but memory and weightlessness really never touched to each other.”
He glanced to Veana one playful gaze and continued merrily:
“Reason of confusion is absolutely different. It’s enough to me not to see you merely two months and in a result, these devices can’t cope to measure your charm and beauty.”
With these words, Iase touched his hand to his chest and his eyes by turns.
“It seems you’re in a very good mood because I don’t remember such eloquence from you,” Veana was tittering when talking this.
“Finally I see you and in what else mood should I be?” Iase confirmed her words with enthusiasm, “besides, I promised to my parents that I’ll bring them, singular guest.”
“Iase, what a strange changes you can make? Like then, in the first second of our acquaintance you had informed me that your dad and mom are forcing you to marry, how do you do this?” Veana tittered again though she wasn’t able to hide her slight confuse.
She wanted to say something else but Iase didn’t allow her, he started to talk quickly and vigorously:
“The unexpectedness we have ahead yet and it looks so: I and one beautiful lady now are going to the airport!” With inspiration declare he and added: “Isn’t it a real surprise, what do you think?”
Such, really out of blue offer make Veana lost her ability to speak. She stared at Iase with widely opened eyes and hesitatingly asked him:
“This is a joke? Or are you serious? How can I go so…so… Where can I go? I’m absolutely not ready for traveling… and job? Huh! What are you talking, Iase?” Eventually, the extreme amazement depicted on her face.
Instead of answering to these expected questions, man, accordingly his preliminary plan, started to familiarize woman with a sequence of following-up steps and thus showing her that he soundly weighed the future:
“Today is Friday, that is, we have a weekend ahead of us. If you want some goods, I can buy them.”
Veana was silent and obviously discouraged, though, at the same time she tried to concentrate her thoughts, she even rubbed her temples. Iase grasped what is the matter.
“I promised to my people the surprise,” he started, “but we can let your folks feel astonishment the first. Come on, let’s go, introduce me to your mom and dad and let’s familiarize them with our plan.”
“You guess correctly, Iase,” blandly said Veana, “Exactly this is what makes me feel worried. I can’t so easily introduce you to each other.”
Iase looked at her with waiting in his eyes.
“You just said that today is Friday,” keep on Veana, “and they had gone to the village, to take care of the house, my grandfather remained to us. They’re going there once a month, last Friday and stay there until Sunday night.”
“Is it far off?” Iase asked though he already knew the answer, if they would be near, Veana wouldn’t be considering so deeply.
“Yes, about one hundred kilometers. There is even a huge telescope or something like it, over there, maybe it’s peering your working,” the woman laughed.
“O-ok,” the man stretched and reacted on Veana’s words, “I don’t know for what is spying the telescope, but I know surely that if we go there, we don’t catch the airplane…”
“By the way, what will you do with ticket, if I’ll not agree to go with you,” Veana searchingly but at the same time slyly looked at him.
“What a problem?” Iase said with a serious face, “do you think I couldn’t find a good girl in the airport, here or in Oslo?” in the end not being able to restrain himself Iase laughed with all his heart.
“Rea-ally?” now Veana has stretched word, “that is why I thought a minute ago if it’s going hastily? This…”
Iase hadn’t allowed her to finish the sentence, he attracted the girl and kissed her by a lobe of the ear. Then in a low voice, almost in a whisper, he started talking with lips pressed to her ear:
“You can talk to your folk in another way; I heard the telephone was invented recently. That is, in my opinion, it turns out that there is no reason to delay, except, of course, the main thing – your wish, are you agree?” The man got back and stared at the woman with a warm smile.
Veana first looked at him with bewilderment but quickly recover the ability to speak and softly asked:
“I agree for what, Iase?”
Hearing her words the man instantly get rid of remnants of a smile from his face and started to woman in her eyes.
“Veana,” he said and took the hand of his sweetheart in his own hand, “after we parted two months ago since then it seems I wasn’t thinking about you maybe only when I slept. Even working, exactly in those seconds, when I was dealing with enormous tanks, even then, somewhere like a ghost, there was your face soaring above my mind…”
“Oh!” Veana exclaimed.
Iase softened his gaze, smiled again and continued more with ease:
“Thoughts are finished. I did comprehend finally that my life without you will remain dully and joyless, as it was before I saw you.”
Veana has seen that the closer Iase is to main words the more nervous he is but what she could do? Although her help appeared not necessary, fearless cosmonaut overcame his feelings and finished his speech:
“Veana, I love you and ask you marry me.”
The woman raised her cilia and looked at the man in his eyes, though, didn’t manage to talk immediately. Even her cheerful temper didn’t help her. Meantime Iase’s heart started feverishly throb in awaiting something bad, he had strained inwardly. But nothing bad has happened. Veana lifted her head and said fondly, almost in a whisper:
“I love too Iase and I agree to marry you.”
The moment that phrase was heard, the man has stunned for a blink, but in the next instant pulled his lady-love and pressed his lips on hers. Not so soon, but they anyway parted, the woman was silent several seconds, then she smiled happily and asked cunningly:
“Is it what is happening now your habitual abduction?”
“What?! the man looked at her confusedly, although not releasing her from his hand.
“Are you asking me “what”? Wasn’t it you who told that your Colchis ancestors had been kidnapping their brides?” the woman asked with exaggerated severity. “Aren’t you doing the same right now? You had ensnared me on a date and now are taking me in your home.”
As he perceived the essence of her words, Iase laughed out loud, put his arm around her waist and cuddle up to himself.
His noisy laughter dragged the attention of two policemen, walking nearby. Seen the couple cuddle together the officers’ faces had gloved so joyfully, as they also had ahead of them the dates with beautiful ladies, instead of night shift in the frozen city.
After they boarded on the next plane: from Oslo to Tbilisi, traveling had passed in talking and arranging plans for the future. The airline treated the passengers with a wonderful dinner made of river trout with bones removed beforehand. The loving couple ordered some champagne to celebrate their engagement ahead of time at the height of ten kilometers over the earth. Veana couldn’t help saying with a serious face:
“The engagement is being held on a high level!”
In five hour, according to the schedule, the airplane has touched to the airport strip of the capital of Georgians. The time has taken away another forty minutes of their lives before they accommodated in a taxi. Soon the new transport had left behind first of those four hundred kilometers, which they had to cross to Iase’s parents’ house, in their little hometown Orchaleti.
As Veana was seeing in the light of street lamps, the road ran through mountain defiles and marshy plains. At the end of their way, Veana started stealthily glancing into a mirror and sighing insensibly. Iase guessed the reason for that, of course, and tried to calm the girl:
“Listen, if my parents will not like you, which would be the eighth world’s miracle, then don’t marry them!”
Veana understood all that but couldn’t help herself. She sighed once more in response and continued looking into the window. Soon she saw that the highway has jumped out of another rather shallow defile, rushed over the high bridge above a narrow river and flowed into a small provincial town. Her companion pointed out several turns to the driver and at last the taxi stopped in a quiet side street, in front of a gate of an open-work metal fence. Behind it, the girl saw a spacious yard with a two-storey house in its middle.
The girl’s worries turned to be absolutely ungrounded. Iase’s parents liked her from the first sight and, in addition, they were infinitely happy that their son has finally become a married man.
The days at Iase’s home passed happily, in congratulations and in repasts unaccustomed to Veana. To the date of wedding Bride’s parents arrived too: mother Emilie – tall, fifty-six white-haired woman with a slender figure and right features and father Rune – sailor’s appearance, strong, almost bald man. Together with them has came Veana’s sister Kjerstin — also tall woman, with red hires and charming smile. In another way, nothing unusual has happened. Maybe except that from the point of view of Norwegian guests, the toasts. They were, in fact, the same pretty overextended.
Nevertheless, in a few days, the repasts had finished and the newly wedded set off for traveling, and the visitors to their homes. After that Iase and Veana had separated again, once more for a short time. They had no reason to be doubtful about this: the man has departed to its usual place to space, this time not for another shift, but the last one.