I am writing this in one of my increasingly rare moments of lucidity that I do not intentionally escape from. Usually when a day arrives where I cannot delude myself by natural means I spend the rest of that day in a haze, consuming one of the myriad of drugs I have at my disposal. Other days I live content, if not exactly happy in my self-imposed illusion and exile. I’ve checked the time for the first time in a long while. It is two years since I left, though I thought it would be more. Where you are -or rather where you were, for today I feel strong enough to handle the truth if only for a moment – it has been well over six centuries.
You called me, left a message for me to meet you. I heard in your voice something I had not heard for a long time but still recognized. You sounded happy; Giddy, but nervous. My heart leapt and sank, I didn’t know what to do. You said you wanted to meet, to talk. Could it be? Could I hope against hope? I was weak, I did something wrong. I still knew all your login details, so I checked into your message center and saw you talking to a friend, confiding in her that you were leaving him, that you had realized you still loved me and wanted to make it work.
My happiness knew no bounds, the shame I felt for intruding on your personal life washed away. I would ask for forgiveness later, after we met. I wanted to bask in the new glory that was my future, our future.
It didn’t happen. You asked to meet me at a café downtown. Not ours, not the one where we met up after you’d come back from work that day, when we shared our first kiss, and what you called our first “couple talk”, but a different one. I didn’t mind. I showed up, nervous, giggling with happiness, in all my best clothes, the ones you said you’d like long ago and I never forgot that you did. You never showed. You’d had an accident, something which doesn’t happen anymore. I saw the commotion, I heard the screams, I walked up and saw your body. And I ran.
How lucky I am to be living in a time of so much plenty. The ship I took was not mine to take, but no-one really minded, and no-one pursued me. I had to hurry, I had to be quick. The ship’s jump drives were limited, but I didn’t need them to take me far, just a couple of light-years away, then I cut to sub-light and accelerated. Hard.
The light that left the sun that day has not yet reached me, and never will. I’m chasing the speed of light, still pushing closer with each second, and escaping the reality of what happened, that information which will never catch up to me. There is no record of your death in the computer; I checked. Every viewpoint is relative, and from here, on this ship, the view of your dead body does not exist yet. Because a universe in which you do not exist is unbearable to me, I have made one for myself in which you still are. The ship can supply me with all the drugs I need to beat down that other, detestable, unthinkable reality on my days of weakness. Other days I roam the halls, thinking, dreaming, wondering what you would say to me, what we would talk about. I stare backwards, at the view behind me which has long since been compressed into a tiny dot, but which the computer can simulate for me. If my sensors were good enough, I could possibly even see you walking to the café, me waiting there already. You’ve nearly caught up by now, but not quite, and you never will. I look at this, and I think about all the things you’d told me you wanted; A house in a valley. Friends nearby. A happy home. A daughter. The first time you told me this I wept. All you ever wanted was a life where there was finally no pain. While my existence cannot be described to be without pain, I have opted for a life of stillness, if not happiness, where the possibility of that life which we talked about still exists, if only in my own, demented and desperate mind. I carry this fantasy for you, because you cannot. You are kept from me by the very nature of time and light.
The ship has been complaining, probably for a very long time, but I did not hear or maybe chose not to hear it. It was never designed to sustain this kind of acceleration for this long. The absorbing shield at the bow is weakening, wearing. Particles that relative to me are travelling at nearly the speed of light smash into it, wearing it down bit by bit. In time the ship will suffer catastrophic failure. Suits me fine. It will take care of the last problem for me. The only proof of your death exists only in my mind now, as far as this part of the universe is concerned. When the ship goes, it and me will be turned into microscopic dust which will continue to sail into nothing at the same speed as now, free from the only source of truth about what happened to you: Me.
It seems to me a kind fate, and I welcome it.