Friday Fiction: A Spaceman’s Perfect Day
Time is lying to me again.
My body was the first to betray me, then my senses, and now finally the clocks have turned against me too. The monitor states that it is 5am GMT. Do not believe it.
On Earth, 5am is bliss. I only have to reach my hand out a fraction before the softness of her skin is grazing my fingertips. Eyelashes flutter open and sleepy smiles stretch onto gentle, pale pink lips. We keep quiet and still, huddled together in paradise until the alarm separates us for the worst part of the day. But even then, we know that only a few hours stand in our way. As the sun wilts in the sky, we always return to each other.
Up here, that 5am seems further away than possibility. We run by Artificial Time now. Nothing but a capsule of neon, artificial light, swimming in a sea of darkness.
I hear a grumble from my neighbor and then a scratch of a cough. Polstoy is strapped to the bunk next to me; the blue of his suit rumpled and visibly starved of anything authentic. Like the four of us, it has survived on powders and substitutes, yet it never truly adapts, it never fully accepts its fate. A thick, black beard clings limply from Polstoy’s chin. His lips twitch behind the thicket and break into the smallest of smiles. He nods to the monitor and allows a heavily accented word to break what may have been weeks of silence.
At first, I fear that Polstoy is plotting against me too. He says the date, the one we all thought would be here before we knew it, but there is no way of knowing it to be true. The days, like the clocks, are prone to playing tricks on us now.
Polstoy produces a crumpled photograph of two small blond-haired boys, with eyes as clear blue as his own. Underneath, in his slanted scribble, today’s date is written.
“Today,” he repeats.
There is just as much chance as it being September as it is being February, yet I know that Polstoy would not joke about such matters.
If he’s right, today will start in hell and end in perfection. Soon, the canvas of the sky and the mechanical arms and endless corridors of the Space Station will be a distant memory to be stored away and painted with nostalgia.
I will stretch my arms out and I will feel something real with warm flesh and the unforgettable sound of life. After more than seven hundred days I will keep my promise to her.
I smile at my comrade. “Home.”
– Taken from the 642 Things To Write About journal, prompt: “You are an astronaut. Describe your perfect day.”