My hunger for meaning and validation brought me 33.9 million miles away from home. I never knew that I’d long to go back to the place, that I’ve been trying to run away from all my life.
Oblivion has never seemed as settling as it is now, since space is already considered to be infinite and full of strange possibilities. I’m just floating or I’d rather say drifting away from comfort into the cosmic universe, which is now my sad reality, until I die (that’s certain).
How am I so sure? Well, I’m stranded in a vacuumed space called ‘space’, with my partner, who is passed out. Our space suits are now struggling to provide us with enough oxygen, so I’m basically going to die of hypoxemia with a person who doesn’t even know my real name.
I’m going to die. Isn’t everyone going to? I should be glad that I’m not dying ordinarily, like everybody else does.
I hear someone gasping for air. Is it her? Am I really not alone?
As I see her open her pretty little hazel eyes, my eyes start to swell up with balls of tears. I can’t even shed my last tears. God, space is really messing with me!
My eyes sting from all the tears sticking to my eyeballs, and I see myself hugging her as tightly as I could in that giant space suit. She tries shedding a few happy tears too, but again, we’re in space.
“How long have I been out?” she asks.
“2 hours,” I say.
“That’s not possible. You’re lying.”
“No, I’m not!”
“It’s been 5 minutes, isn’t it?”
“How did you…?”
She cuts me off. “So, I’m right. Why did you lie?”
“Well, it felt like 2 hours, and I wanted to make you feel awful about leaving me alone, and passing out in such a situation.” She’s good at catching lies, I think.
“You’re such a child, Robert!”
Robert. Robert. Robert. Robert. My mind fills with the echoes of this word. I question myself: Do I really want to die being Robert? If it’s my last moment, I should really be living it as my real self, as Benjamin, not Robert (a guy I created using my imagination to hide my real self).
She seems to be lost in her own world of thoughts. We’re facing our backs towards each other, and I interrupt her silent yet loud conversation with her own self, by saying, “Audrey… I need to tell you something. I haven’t exactly been honest with you all this time.”
“Your name’s not Robert, you don’t have a wife, nor did you ever go to a high school.” She sounds extremely confident, when she says it.
“She really is good at catching lies,” I mutter.
“And, she has ears as sharp as a dog’s,” I mutter again.
“I can hear you,” she says as to notify me.
“God, this stupid microphone!”
“Maybe next time, try keeping it to yourself, or better, say it to my face, rather than speaking behind my back.”
“Can we at least not try being mean to each other right now?” I try diluting the conversation.
Though, I can’t help myself, but ask, “By the way, how did you know that I was lying about my identity?”
She sighs, “I’ve spent most of my life writing characters. I know when a person is who they say they are.”
“Wait. You’re a writer?” I sound too surprised. It’s not like she’s an arsonist.
“I wouldn’t exactly say that. I was just a girl trying to channelize her vivid imagination into something that didn’t land her in trouble.”
“Does it seem like I still have that imagination?”
“I don’t know. It seems like you’ve got a lot to say and offer to this world. Unfortunately, the world’s not lucky enough to have the whole of you.”
“Well, the universe will soon have the whole of me and you, wouldn’t it?”
“And, you’re okay with that?” I ask.
“Yeah,” she says calmly.
“I don’t get it. I’ve spent my entire life being a mystery. I never let anyone have too much of me, and you… you’re just happily giving yourself away to the universe. How?”
“You know, my biggest fear is being forgotten. I wrote, so I wouldn’t be forgotten. My thoughts would still exist in this world, even if I didn’t. My words would still be heard, even if I wasn’t there to say them. Now, that I know I exist in those inked pages of my diary, as my soul walks on those black lines that support my words, I’m happy. No longer does my fear trouble me, and no longer do I long to live to be remembered.”
She falls silent, and so do I. I always thought I feared oblivion the most, but now that I think of it, it is being solved that frightens me. It’s not oblivion or being forgotten, but being known entirely, like a mystery being solved, that fears me the most.
I ask, “But, how do I deal with having lost myself to the universe? I’m a mystery never to be solved.”
“You don’t need to fear the universe. When you’ll die, you’ll know its secrets, and it will know yours. And, from what I know, the universe is good at keeping secrets, just like the stars it has kept to itself. You’ll make a good mysterious star. You’d still be a mystery never to be solved.”
I smile, “Still a mystery never to be solved.”
This is a short story I wrote. Let me know what you think about it.