Longing for Gravity

0900: Fuel is spent. Module oxygen and aux power active but running low.

A wrong heading? I don’t know. All coordinates are confused.

Out the starboard window I search for a reference point, a navigational star. No luck. Only the cold, black void welcomes me.

I would yell if only I could remember how. If I still had a voice and knew I wouldn’t be met with my own echo, yes, I’d yell.

But who is there to save me if I did?

Comms are down.

Low music streams in my ear, a final necessary luxury. A singer and a piano play.

I miss the Earth so much, I miss my wife

It’s lonely out in space

On such a timeless flight

I know there’s a message in the melody but time is broken and comms are down.

I face forward and see again blinking lights. Sharp reds and cool greens, what do they mean?

Data read and written, weightless 1s and 0s flying faster the speed of thought. What do they mean?

Data, yes. Information? Well, that’s another mission altogether.

B..bl…blin..k. Blink. Blink. I close my eyes and their negatives are scrawled on the backs of my lids, taunting and laughing. There is no escape.

Oxygen is low and thin. It won’t be long now.

Mars ain’t the kind of place to raise your kids

In fact, it’s cold as hell

And there’s no one there to raise them

If you did

“We’ll miss you, Daddy!”

Sunshine warms my soul. My daughter’s eyes, clear and brown and young stare back at me. I feel the weight of my son’s hug on my leg as I carry them to the door.

“I will be back in two winks my sweet girl.”

“Promise?”

“I promise.”

She gently kisses my cheek and grips me tight around the neck.

“I love you.”

“Smoochie, I love you, too.”

She bounces down to the floor and giggles at the sound of one of her many nicknames.

I bend down and haul up my son so I can see his face.

“Where’d you get that sucker?”

He grins a self-satisfied sticky purple in return. I grab the wrinkled and bent stick. We play a soft tug of war with the candy until he finally lets loose and it pops out of his mouth.

He reaches out his arms to me. “Hold you.” It’s what he says when he needs to be held.

He leans in and I press my face against his chubby, wet cheek. He smells fresh and new. I kiss the top of his head.

“Lubbers you, ” I whisper to my son.

“Too,” he replies.

 

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time

‘Til touchdown brings me ’round again to find

I’m not the man they think I am at home

Oh, no no no

I’m a rocket man

My eyes open. The lights blink back at me.

How long have I been dreaming? I don’t bother checking. It doesn’t matter.

I raise a finger to find the switch. Fumbling around, the switch is gone. It must have moved.

My glove brushes a familiar spot. I snap off the controls and lights.

No more blinking. No reentry.

Rocket man

Burnin’ out his fuse up here alone

There’s a melody in the message but broken is time.

Low O2 and thin. Not now long. Down comms.

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time

And I think it’s gonna be a long, long time


 

Credits:  Rocket Man (I Think It’s Gonna Be a Long, Long Time) by Elton John and Bernie Taupin from the album, Honky Château. 1972. Creative Commons Image via Pixabay. A WordPress Daily Post:  Longing for Gravity.