Hi! I know I only just sent a vid message, but I missed you. Do you feel the same? As soon as I close off, I remember something else I wanted to say, or James will do something funny, and I want to come straight back on.
Did I tell you how proud I was of you? Yeah, I’m sure I did, but I wanted to tell you again. I still watch the footage every night. You look so handsome in your spacesuit, helmet under your arm. Millions watched you. Or do you think it could have been a billion?
I did cry, I never told you that did I? I know I promised you I wouldn’t, but I had to leave the room. My Mom sat with James and showed him his Daddy on the tv. I still cry sometimes, when I watch it. You look so serious, were you scared? I know you said you wouldn’t be, but weren’t you scared when you walked the bridge? Did you want to change your mind? I wish you had.
We’re proud of you, though, James and I. We sit on the porch on a night together and look up at the stars and imagine we’re up there with you.
It took your last message a month to get here. Does it take mine so long to get to you?
I never knew it could rain in space! It looks so beautiful up there. The colors. When I go to sleep, I imagine I’m there with you. You’re holding me as we look out on the stars together.
Did you get James’ vid message? He wouldn’t let me be there with him when he sent it. He’s funny sometimes. His talking is coming along, isn’t it? Not long until he’s at big school. He talks about you all the time, his Daddy the spaceman. You’d be proud of him.
And he’s proud of you. You’ll always remember that, won’t you?
So, it’s been over six months since your last message. I guess you’re out of range or something. Even if yours can’t get to me, that doesn’t mean mine can’t get to you, does it?
I wonder what you see now, what the planets are like there, what the colors are like. I remember the swirling dust clouds you showed me once, how you smiled when you saw them. I hope you’re seeing more amazing things. I hope you’re proud of yourself. People down here will always remember you were the first. People will always remember your name.
At James’ school they had a day to celebrate the anniversary of your launch. They had displays showing all the wonderful things you would see out there.
You should have seen James’ face when he got home!
I’ve got something to talk to you about.
I know you talked about this, and I always said it would never happen. Well, I do get lonely, and James does need a…a man about the house. I’ll always love you, you know that don’t you?
He’s a good man. He’s called Peter and he’s great with James. I asked him to come and say hello to you, but he said these messages should just be for me and you. He understands. He’s a good man.
I know James hasn’t sent you a message for a while, I’ll try and get him to send you one soon.
You know I love you, don’t you?
Hey, guess what? We’re going to be grandparents! Can you believe it? Do you feel old enough? I don’t feel like a Grandma! Does Nan sound younger? I think so. The baby can call me Nan.
Peter’s more excited than anyone, I think. He’s over there with James now, helping him decorate the nursery.
Elise is lovely. I asked her when she and James were going to get married, but I don’t think they plan on it anytime soon.
So, spaceman, you’re a Granddad! Congratulations!
Think of us all while you’re out there, won’t you?
I’ll try and get James to send you a message.
Hi. How is it out in space?
I often look at the stars and wonder where you are now. Wonder what you’ve seen. I know we see images from the telescopes, but it must be so different being out there, seeing it with your own eyes. Does it make you think us small? Do you remember the world and think how small it is after you’ve traveled the stars?
I’m tired. I’ve just been to see Peter, put some fresh flowers there and tidy up a bit. He’s under a tree and the leaves were thick and wet all around the grave. Can you even remember what a tree is like, I wonder?
James is bringing Larissa round later. She still misses Peter, but it’s nice to have them around, bring some noise to the place.
I sit here in the quiet and wonder how you could bear it up there all alone.
I still love you, you know. Even now I look to the stars and think of you, of how we were together.
Mom’s gone. A month ago.
She always did keep asking me to send you vid messages.
I don’t know. I think I got confused for a bit. I started to think you abandoned us to go on your grand adventure.
But then, after Mom went, I watched you on your launch. I couldn’t believe how young you looked. And you were there, so brave, so determined.
I think I understood then, understood why you did it. You’re still famous here, you know? Your name will live on, you’ll live forever.
And I’m proud of you, Dad.
I’ll get the kids to message you, their Granddad in the stars. They talk about you all the time.
Their Nan’s gone, but they’ll always have you.
You’ll live forever.
Mark Rookyard lives in Yorkshire, England. He likes running long distances and writing short stories. His most recent sales have been to Cosmic Roots and Eldritch Shores, Metaphorosis and Third Flatiron’s ‘Hyperpowers’ anthology.
Image by Sweetie187