This time, I clamped the oboe under my arm and bopped over to her before moistening the reed and blowing. I hovered over the piano’s top, looking her in the eye as we jammed. Her mood that day was 4/4 time and I-IV-V progressions, in a feel that swung around from blues to rock to folk, teasing at the edge of my own melodies. She noodled at me, I noodled back at her, and her eyes crinkled charmingly whenever I managed a smidge of tuneful wit.
She was almost completely flat-chested, and covered in a fine, red downy fur, like a chipmunk. It was a jaunter’s style, suited to the climate-controlled, soft-edged life in space. Fifty years later, I was dating Lil, another redhead, but Zed was my first.
I played and played, entranced by the fluidity of her movements at the keyboard, her comical moues of concentration when picking out a particular kicky little riff. When I got tired, I took it to a slow bridge or gave her a solo. I was going to make this last as long as I could. Meanwhile, I maneuvered my way between her and the hatch.
When I blew the last note, I was wrung out as a washcloth, but I summoned the energy to zip over to the hatch and block it. She calmly untied and floated over to me.
I looked in her eyes, silvered slanted cat-eyes that I’d been staring into all afternoon, and watched the smile that started at their corners and spread right down to her long, elegant toes. She looked back at me, then, at length, grabbed ahold of my joint again.
“You’ll do,” she said, and led me to her sleeping quarters, across the station.
We didn’t sleep.
Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom
Cory Doctorow 2003