Jiving into the house, shouting “Honey, I’m home!” like I was Fred Flintstone, I was ready to embrace my wife, tell her about my promotion and receive a well-deserved kiss. Instead, I found a note on the wall in the kitchen.
Go, see Steve. it said. Combined with the fact that I had not seen or heard my wife while strutting through the front door, I felt myself deflating.
“Who’s Steve?” I heard myself say.
“What’s that?” my wife asked, appearing from behind the corner, staring at her mobile phone.
“Who’s Steve?” I repeated.
“Yeah, that.” she said, looking up. “Got us a table in a restaurant, you know —“
“You’re going out with —“
“With you, honey. Don’t be such an ass. Want you to meet Steve first. Gotta hurry, too. Table reservation is at eight. It’s dark enough anyway, and, from the look of it, there’s a good chance we might catch Steve before we go to the restaurant.”
I found myself sitting in the car before I could make an answer. Halfway out of town and on our way into the middle of nowhere, I found my composure again.
“What the–! Who is Steve? Can you tell me what is going on? Who is Steve!?”
She stopped the car by the side of the road. I knew from my tours with the camera that this was one of the darkest places in all of Andøya. We got out and stood in the freezing cold.
“Get out, dear.” she said.
“Yep.” she said. “It’s starting already. We made it!”
“Look up, silly!”
There it was in all its glory. S.T.E.V.E – Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, aurora, sort of. Beautiful, inspiring, and utterly incomprehensible to me at that particular moment.
“Is that Steve?!?” I blurted out.
“Yes. And handsome, he is, too. What did you think Steve was?”
“I dunno.” I lied. “I certainly didn’t think, you were thinking about S.T.E.V.E.!»
«You forget that I’m the wife of a physicist. To me, Steve may, in fact, be a…wait a second. Ah, an aurora-like phenomenon documented by citizen scientists.»
“That’s what I read about it.”
“You learned that by heart?”
«Well done, honey, well done!”
Our laughter got lost in the wind on the moors as we embraced.
“I’ll get you for that one, I promise.” I said.
“So,” she said slowly, “they promoted you. Congrats. To what exactly?”