There goes another one.
I write the words, then I seal them away. The best parts of me, locked in an airtight canister and sent out the airlock. Mother alone knows what will come of them. Sometimes I fantasize that someone collects them, reads them and wonders about me, about my glamorous life. Such a decadent use of my paper stipend, this exercise, somewhere between whimsy and romance, just north of pathetic.
I hear them singing.
It’s to the point now where I don’t even need to be near them, though that is rarely a problem. I seem to spend every waking hour covered in nutrient mist. Someone has to feed these people. Talk to your plants, they used to say. Water does funny things under a microscope when you yell at it. I’ve never tried that one. I’m too busy being bombarded by their song, pinging off the droplets.
Sometimes it’s so quiet here.
The middle of the night (what an amazing social agreement, four light years away from the sun) is the best time to work. It’s also the best time to torture myself over the last things Eriu said to me before she left the station. I’m still trying to decide how much to flog myself over not begging her to stay. She’s probably halfway back to Io by now. And she was right about everything. God, she was beautiful.
Aisling, please tell us a story!
The children have all decided they love me. It makes me feel like a spinster. I tell them stories, I write poems for them, full of pictures of things they’ve never seen or touched or smelled. Tell us the one about the lion. Tell us about the tallest mountain. Tell us about hamburgers. Their parents smile at me. Most of us have never seen or touched or smelled these things either.
There is a nine foot man in the lift.
The exchange happened three days ago. It was just another day. I was harvesting lettuce when the announcement came over the com that docking would commence. Just another day. When the calendar reset, it was neither apocalypse nor enlightenment. It’s been fifty two years, and eight trips now between dimensions, and no one is sure if they’ll ever give us our planet back.
To be continued …