December 25, 2513
Space Station: Toronto
It is Christmas, so happy Christmas. Tell Junior his old man is out there, up there, thinking of him. Point me out a second. Tell him one of the brighter stars is me. Do that for me.
This morning I woke with a fever. The heaters have been shot for a month. I opened my eyes. I had unbuckled myself in my sleep, so I was floating off the bed, with no space blanket wrapped around me, shivering in my sweat. The windows had frozen over and the ice let in none of the star light beyond. Everything was black in here as it is out there, except for the little blinking eye of computer. Last week she powered her self down, muttering something about getting some peace, if you can believe it, and so she’s been in sleep mode ever since. So anyway, I was floating there, freezing, the little robot blinking, humming quietly in the black air, and I remembered Christmas.
You must remember, that first Christmas, not too long ago. (Although I suppose that depends who you ask what a long time is. I can’t figure it out anymore.) We’d gone to the ice rink downtown, the one outside, and I had to tie your skates for you because your fingers had gone blue. You never wore mitts even though it killed you every time. As I was down on my knee, I looked up at you, and everything left me, and came crashing back inside me, all the same instant. I’ve told you, that was the moment I knew. God. There’s not a thing I wouldn’t do to be back there, on that rink, tying your skates right now. Watching you blow the heat into your cold paws.
I’ve scraped a slit through the thick ice and I can now see out the port hole window. Out there, far away, I can see it. The red orb that’s taken me all this way. You’d think I’d be more excited about it. All these years, hurdling through all this dust and gas, to come to this place – now just a few thousand more days and we’ll be there – and now I can see its haze, beaconing us like a lighthouse on fire, like a hearth, warm and waiting, shining and sifting its graces out into the lightless ocean, and yet nothing. Maybe if computer were awake to share it with me. Maybe if she’d just answer one damn question about whether the hell or not I’ll get to go back home. Get to go, go see, go see you after all this is over.
I don’t want to write about that. So I won’t.
I hope somehow you get these things, that they make their way to you, to the right place, to the right time. I hope when that red thing coming at us , makes it way here, that I’ll do what I have to do. That all will be forgiven. That they’ll send me back. They never said they wouldn’t – and I’ve asked. You’d think if there was no hope they’d have let me know by now. But they haven’t said anything.
I’m glad I did what I did. I’m glad I’m out here. That it isn’t you or him they sent like they wanted to. That they let me do it. I’m glad it’s me. There are millions of stars out here, and I’ve seen them all so many times, I know each one by heart. I know their dances. I know their fuzz. I know the way they swirl and collapse and return. I know the whole vastitude beyond me like a map, one I could draw by hand. I know all this – and yet, I am forgetting your eyes. The wrinkles, the dimples in your upper cheek, not cheek dimples, eye dimples. What do you call those? Your eyes are a certain colour. But which one? They are fading from my mind’s eye like the blinking dot on computer’s head. Hum. Bright. Visible a second. Zip. Fade out. Only visible now in the back of my eye. In the ghost of seeing it. Your eyes are going from me. I’ll just have your smile left. Those white stones, a constellation that floats undisturbed by all the other glistening blackness. Maybe one day that’s all there’ll be. Your heavenly star crowned smile. 32 or 34 universes in two bows, the black hole behind them, and into so much mirth I can fall.
It is Christmas. So I have opened up the little tin of gin that I’ve been saving. Tinned gin. Sure beats space paste. So I’ve peeled it open. So I drink to you and the little guy. So I mumble a Christmas song, though I never learned any of the words. So I’m barely even good company for myself. I can’t even keep a computer around long enough.
The clock has stopped spinning in here. That was supposed to mean we’ve arrived. And I suppose we have. I see the red planet. I see us getting closer day by day. Only a few thousand more now. And I’ll be there. Will you sleep for me? Will you wait for me? I don’t want to think of it. Sleep for me. Wait for me. I am coming. I just have to finish this.
Happy Christmas – happy Christmas,
Yours with love and all of that,