(Read the first letter from Jerome, our intrepid space explorer, here)
August 21, 2513
Space Station: Lyon
Dearest little one,
Well, here I am again. 270 days since my last dispatch. Still have no idea if you’re getting these things. The computer tells me the messages are being sent alright, she assures me. But you can never tell with this old space junk. Well anyway, let’s hope this one doesn’t hit a meteor shower on the way home to Earth, that it lands safely in front of your two round eyes, those perfect orbs of light and endless passage, to which nothing I’ve seen out here even compares.
270 days is a long time – and trust me, I don’t like it one bit either. But the computer is diligent about conserving resources — and powering up the transmitter is a luxury she says we can’t afford. “It’s your heart on Earth, or the oxygen machine out here,” she says. Adding with a bit of sass: “And unfortunately, we need you alive for this mission.”
I think she’d prefer if I wasn’t. But then who would replace her batteries?
Well, I can’t wait any longer. Last night we passed by the moon of Jericho. I woke up to a blinding blue haze sneaking its way through my porthole. The moon was beneath me, but since it’s no good looking down at a moon like that, I undid my sleep belt, and summersaulted around to make things right, to put it above me.
It was colder than usual — we’ve had the heaters on low for the last seven days — and I could see my breath blow up and surface on the little round window. It made a nice blue frost, same colour of that ice cream you used to bring home. Then I’d wipe it away every few minutes, and reveal again the sharp, round ball of floating stone and ice, that seems so beautiful, and so friendly, out here, glowing like it does.
And so I thought of the Moon, your moon. I should say, our moon, but really who know’s if I’ll ever get back in time to see it with you. I tried to remember a time we’d seen it together — maybe like the movies. Maybe we’d have pulled a truck up to Kramer’s Lookout, where we’d see out over our little town and it’d look like one of those cities in those model train sets, and then we’d have held hands, sat on the damp grass, and just looked up. Not speaking, and every breath, counted, felt, held, and then looking at each other, and then our eyes, with the little moon reflected in them, on yours, a little white dot existing in the brown and black skeins of the universe of your iris, and mine, the same, but green and brown and to the left.
That was nice. Thinking of that. But it’s also the worst part of being away from you, so far away, out here. I keep asking the computer, but she can’t tell me how much further we have to go. The other day I got to thinking, about how I’m traveling at nearly light speed, and so every second out here, must be like an eternity back there, where you are. I asked the computer about that. She said, “just keep your eyes on the prize. You’re on a mission.”
"But I must know," I begged. "What year is it there?"
She hesitated. Then she said: “There’s nothing to worry about. Go back to sleep.” And then she powered herself down. She always does that.
The red clock in the room here slowed down the other day. The computer says we are getting closer – and when that clock stops spinning that we will have arrived. But she can’t tell me anymore than that. I hope it happens soon, though. It’s too cold out here.
Oh, little one. If you get this, see the moon, and think of me. Maybe bring a little piece of clear blue plastic - the kind you stuff gift bags with - and hold it up in front of the moon, and let the blue light hit you. Imagine the feeling of no gravity. The feeling of your heart, spinning freely in the caverns of your chest. Then picture me, doing the same for you.
Your space cadet, always,