The warm glow quickly faded. Gifts could be that way as the river of the present moment snaked its way around the bend from one village to the next in ever constant motion. The present moment, thought Em, but a knife’s edge between what was and what was to come. Stay too long and you were likely to get cut. If only we saw sadness and worry and doubt as the same stowaways.

Writing helped. Moving to her desk, the distant cosmos displayed before her, she opened the drawer and pulled out her stationary. In the upper corner she jotted #164.

Dear Father,

I’m feeling a bit melancholy so I hope you don’t mind. I just don’t feel there is anyone else who wants to hear my troubles at the moment. Fact is, I feel silly and selfish when I compare my concerns to what everyone else onboard is experiencing. Yet, still, how does one shake the doldrums, regardless of how small, when they take up residence in your mind like a reluctant stubborn mule, blocking out all sane perspective.

In the past I’ve compared space travel with sailing the seas, as we did so many times. I feel I’ve misled you father. There is very little they have in common, or so it seems at the moment. For instance, seasons. You know how I used to always complain about winter. How it took all the fun out of sailing. And the spring rains too. I did my fair share of complaining about them too.

Well, in space, you have no seasons. Temp onboard is always the same. No rain, no snow, no cool fresh air, no wind, no real sun. Life feels sterile without the seasons, nature’s gentle reminder of change, of the cycle of life and death. What I would give to stand on the bow one more time and feel the spring rains wash over me. There is no rain in space. There are no seasons. There is no sense of the cycle but rather just a steady constant sameness, a maddening unrelentingly suffocating sterility.

You see, but you can’t touch. Space looks cold, is cold. You feel entombed in the very metal and glass that pretends to be home. Imagine if you could never leave the interior of your ship, never feel the warm sun on your face or the wind in your hair, taste the salty sea spray on your lips or hear the hark of birds signaling port was soon to follow. And imagine that the sun neither rose nor set and the stars were forever changing, familiar patterns left long ago. We pretend we are going somewhere and in those pretensions, father, we ward off insanity.

Speaking of which, there is no sound either. The sound of crickets, that wonderful sound of connection to something alive, something living and breathing and communicating, a sound as dear and sweet as a baby’s lullaby; or the sound of the leaves rustling across the path on a hike in the mountains dancing with the wind in faded oranges and yellows and reds like precocious children pretending they don’t know you are watching them. You never quite appreciate those sounds until space robs them from you, tries to erase them from your memory with the antiseptic of time; and you find yourself becoming bitter at the very nature you claim to miss. And don’t even get me started on the sound of the ocean kissing the warm sands of home, a sound as soothing and maternal as the womb. Space is like that—womb-less and frigid, uninviting and unforgiving. And to think we dreamed of travel like this.

Speaking of the womb, I often wonder what a child born in space, reared in space, in the womb of this ship, I wonder if they would be like me or you. I wonder how the lack of touch and smell and sight and sound would shape them into something I wouldn’t recognize. Father, I feel, like the hands of space and time are shaping me now, changing me and it scares the bejanus out of me. If we don’t find a home soon, I’m afraid you won’t recognize me and more over, I’m deathly afraid I won’t recognize myself. Ever look in the mirror and wonder who that is staring back at you? I did yesterday, for the first time.

Of time, well, I have all the time in the world now to paint and draw. You would think I would have a whole collection of stuff. And I do. But guess what. It’s soulless. It took a sketch of Rog I did for Yul to open my eyes. Every sketch of a planet, a star, a solar system, another vessel, all of it soulless, cold, lifeless—just like the expanse of space. What is a planet without context, without a story, without connection, without relationship? As cold as a witch’s tit on the day after carnival—please excuse my language father. I’ll snap out of this. Perhaps with the next bend.

And so I wonder, would that child grow up soulless, something less than a full-blooded breathing smelling touching Hynerian? Or would they slap my parochial self-centeredness back into some semblance of reality? I don’t know anymore, but I do know I appreciate you listening to my gibberish. Does help. Really does.

Speaking of help, I should really shut down my pity party and go see if I can be of service. As always, missing you tons.

Love,

Em

Sealed with a kiss, Em slid number 164 directly behind 163 and closed the drawer in unison to the sound of her comm.

“Em, Trev here. I’m picking up some data abnormalities. Could you provide me with your assistance on the bridge?”

“Be there is just a sec Trev.” Em grabbed her stuff and walked over to the mirror. “I’m not sure who you are but I suppose I better get use to having you around. Now buck up sister.”

Commentary on the Metaphor: Seasons

Categories: Story, Emy, Letters, Trev

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