Radius

An interstellar love story.

Image Credit: 
Public Domain

That moment when the lights go out, when darkness is a blanket over your face, that’s how you make me feel. I reach out but there’s nothing in front of me, wait for my eyes to adjust, hope I’ll be able to figure the outline of something, someone.

I know I went too far. They couldn’t pull me back. You’re stronger.

The last light went, now the thick night is a blanket. I should find my bed, lie down, close my eyes. There’s something so comforting about a mattress. You are my duvet.

The radio stopped crackling. Now there’s nothing except me breathing in the dark.

Please say something to me.

I remember the first time I put this helmet on, how close it felt, like it was suffocating me. The strap under the chin is bad enough, that meant it wasn’t coming off, but when the visor closes there’s this separation that happens with the outside.

There’s an adjustment, just like this now. The close fit becomes familiar; the fish bowl normal. I got used to my own reflection in the visor, a ghost of myself hovering over everything I see. I miss my face.

I wish you’d speak. Just a whisper would be enough.

When you, your endlessness, started swallowing me, I couldn’t see my face looking back. Then the panic kicked in. I couldn’t get enough air in my lungs. I needed to inhale but no matter how hard I tried the oxygen just wouldn’t get past my throat.

They always said I’d see stars out here but now I can’t spot one. They told us we wouldn’t sleep because of the radiation. In a way they were right, I’d close my eyes and see flashes. Light waves penetrating my eyelids, no atmosphere to stop them. I don’t see anything anymore, except you.

You don’t even have a face. Not really.

I like it when you hold my hand. You’re pulling my arm into you, past the point, through the glass. My body stretches for a thousand miles. My fingers are cold.

If only you’d say something, anything. I’m falling into you, there’s no turning back. No one else will hear, I promise, you can just whisper to me.

I can’t even remember what their faces looked like, all I see is you.

They said you never know who you’ll meet at work. Me? Astronaut. I was here to collect data from a black hole. Then I found you. Maybe you cut the cord, perhaps my umbilicus didn’t just snap. What if you always wanted me?

You’re beautiful.

This is it, isn’t it? You are my love and my wonder. Take me.

I’m yours.

Seb Reilly is a writer, fiction author and occasional musician. He lives by the sea in Thanet, Kent, with his family and two cats.

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