In response to Word High July the snippet below is inspired by the Filipino word ‘yugto’ or ‘fundamental transition or development’. It’s part of a series charting the impact of the discovery of intelligent life in space on five ordinary people over the course of a month. Enjoy!
Image taken from Buzzfeed: “36 Of The Most Beautiful Words In The Philippine Language”. All credits goes to them.
There were voices coming from the lounge when Luke walked through the door and he frowned, Momma hadn’t mentioned plans for anyone to visit and he was a sweaty mess from practice.
“Luke? That you baby?” his momma called from the sitting room.
“Yeah Momma, just gonna go wash up,” he replied, starting for the stairs.
“Never mind that now, come here.”
Frown deepening, Luke did as he was told. Momma always insisted he clean up before he spoke to company. And when he stepped through the doorway he wished he’d headed straight upstairs, Dr Strass was waiting with one of the scientists who’d been at dinner the other evening. Both were dressed casually, but there was a whole pile of paperwork laid out on the coffee table that looked pretty formal.
“Sit down son, Dr Hamil and I have some information we’d like to discuss with you and your momma,” Dr Strass said.
Luke did as he was told, conscious that he was sitting in dirty track pants on Momma’s clean chair. He caught her eye carefully to gauge her reaction but Momma just beamed at him, some papers in her hand.
“Luke, I was very impressed by you and by the information Dr Strass shared with me about your potential and your interests,” Hamil said, his voice sincere. “You mentioned the other night that there weren’t many courses right now on astrobiology, and that’s true, but the University I represent runs one of the best and is a top five in the US for space studies overall. With the signal and the work being done to advance our understanding of potentially intelligent extra-terrestrial life there’s a lot of talk of expanding the program we offer. And I’d like you to consider joining it, in fact I’d go so far as to say we’re looking at offering you a place.”
It felt like Luke’s stomach had hit the floor, his mouth filled with cotton and he coughed a little, unable to speak.
“Dr Hamil’s been showing me the documents, it’s a full ride and to one of the best colleges out there but it’s up to you baby,” Momma said, patting Luke on his knee.
“I-I mean…” words just wouldn’t come no matter how hard Luke tried and he looked at Dr Strass in mute distress.
“I think it’s a big decision and a good opportunity, so it needs some thinking time. Lukey-boy’s home and you’ve sprung a whole lot of news on him, let’s give him a couple of days,” Dr Strass advised, rising from his chair.
Hamil nodded and shuffled the papers into a tidy pile.
“This may not be the only offer you’re looking for, so I understand if the answer is no. There’s a lot of future for you out there but I believe we can provide you with a great foundation,” he held a slip of paper out to Luke, who took it with trembling fingers. “Here’s my card, you give me a call when you’ve made up your mind.”
The two professors shook hands with Luke’s momma, who thanked them although Luke could feel her eyes on him. They were at the door by the time he managed to get his lips and tongue working together once again.
“Wait, I-I want to. I mean, it’s exactly the offer I wanted and I’d very much like to look over those papers with you, Dr Hamil!” he called out.
Hamil turned, face lit in a bright grin.
“Well alright then, Luke. Let’s get down to the details.”