Friday, 21 March 2008

This black ocean

Dear Svetlana,

If I’m not mistaken, today is the first Sunday of spring. It is now very unlikely I will ever be found: it’s been months and hundreds of millions of kilometres since I exited orbit; I am still ploughing the undeniable profundity of space. You must be attending your daffodils and watching from the window when the sparrows and the rosefinches land on the birdfeeder in the back garden.

I write to you today as always. I like imagining how one day, in another life or another universe, we will snuggle together next to the fire; I will read to you from this diary while we drink vodka from the hand-made crystal glasses that belonged to your grandmother.

I wonder if I still exist. As I float, weightless, in this small capsule, I am a particle in a dark, unending ocean of infinite depth. I am the only now- and outside are the waves, fractions of past and future, not flowing but reflecting, splashing, caught timeless in mirrors of a space that has no meaning in its immensity.

When I was assigned to this trip, I was tremendously happy. I was full of pride: I was going to be a hero. Now I am only a ghost, or maybe a modern Orpheus, roaming without a lyre, trying to stir a deaf and blind Hades out of his silence. But even the most enchanting song could not move this hermetic universe; all it lets me hear is what is already stored within my mind.

I miss you. What hurts most is that you are slipping away from me. I picture your face, your brown eyes, your sweet voice. But every time I do, the image is less precise; as if it wears away with use. Now I try not to think of you. I want your memory to last longer than the rations, until the end, which will be more like existing than this nothingness.

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