The astronaut is strapped into his seat inside the shuddering spacecraft, the vibrations scrambling his thoughts, if he had any in the first place. It is hard to think in the roaring machine, knowing that in a few minutes, he will no longer be on Earth – he will be in the great, vast cosmos.
The woman beside him smiles, lips curling. Her radiance is wonderous – the astronaut can feel his nerves keel to her warmth, lie down to sleep. Peace settles through his body like a steady stream, quelling his tension. With a sharp breath, he closes his eyes against the swarm of brightly colored buttons, and waits.
A handful of seconds, and he will not return to his home for two years.
However, there is no one home to return to, is there?
He will not miss anyone. He will not be missed.
He wants this. He wants space. He wants silence.
With a scream, the shuttle leaves its base, beginning its slow ascent to the heavens. The astronaut’s eyes flicker open with a jolt, watching the instruments around him shake and dance. The crew around him remains silent, knowing what it is like, knowing what it is coming. The amateur does not share a single drop of their experience.
Unbeknownst to him, the astronaut is about to learn, in the most unimaginable way possible.