Holding Your Memory in The Stars

Even galaxies can’t keep true love apart.

Atlas teVelde, Special Contributor

This story was inspired by the song; 1,000 Light Years Away. Composed by Harry Mack and performed by Chelsea Lee Greenwood.

Tapping my foot lightly as I tossed lyrics on a page, any and all lines that came to mind were scattered on the paper. I stopped as I heard the door squeak open. I whipped around, seeing her beautiful face looking back. Nearly forgot to set my guitar down before leaping to welcome her home with a warm embrace, but it wasn’t reciprocated. I took a step back, holding onto her arms as I did, when I noticed the look on her face and the stack of papers in her hands. Looking hard at her features trying to decipher the look on her face.

She softly spoke, voice barely over a whisper, “We…I need to talk to you about something.”

I slowly nodded; the worst ideas flew through my mind before I softly let go of her and walked to the table, sitting down in front of my work. As she sat in front of me, I saw the papers in her hands. It was hard to read upside down, but the Astrale Ash logo was recognizable anywhere.

We sat in silence for a long moment, but she broke the silence, “So, I got offered an opportunity to head off-world to go start that farm I always talked about. I wanted to talk to you about it, since I know you have your music and I don’t want to take that away from you.”

My heart came back up from my feet, but couldn’t rise higher than the pit of my stomach. Off-world wasn’t all bad; there are many planets that are only a few days, maybe a week or so, away from Terra, so it wouldn’t be so far away. Yet no matter how much I was telling myself it would be that simple, somewhere deep in my soul I knew it wasn’t.

I tried to be optimistic, but I could hear the waver in my voice, “Well…that’s great! You’ve always talked about wanting to get off-world to start a farm. What planet is it?”

As I desperately tried to catch her eyes, I saw her grip, on the pages, get tighter. I tried to see her eyes, but she kept them firmly away from me. There was something she wanted to say; I could tell from what little of her face I could see as she kept me out of her sights.

“It’s SR216.”

“How long is the trip?”

The question I could tell that we were both dreading. We sat there in painful science for what felt like hours.

“Seven years.”

I barely caught it from how quietly she spoke. My entire world stopped in less than a second. Seven years away. I couldn’t react, there was just static in my head as the words repeated over and over again. I didn’t even realize I was crying until a tear hit my hand, taking me back to reality. I opened my mouth but no words came to me, just breath. Her hands dropped the papers on the table, shaking her head.

“It’s a stupid idea, I know I should decline. It was stupid to ev—”

My hand, without any input from me, reached out to her’s, gripping it with a comforting pressure. For the first time since she got home she looked at me, her eyes wide and full of tears.

Softly I spoke, “No…no. I just needed a second to process. Are you sure this will make you happy?”

She slightly nodded, tensing up a bit, but I could tell she had no intention of speaking right then. “Ok…ok we…we can make this work. We can make this work, okay?”

Once again she nodded, and I slowly stood up and moved to her side of the table, never once letting go of her hand. Wrapping my arms around her, I repeated my words, rubbing circles in her back. Her hug was like a vice grip as she cried into my chest. I could feel her opening her mouth to speak, but nothing left. I softly pressed a kiss to the top of her head, giving her all the time in the world.

Through choked sobs she said, “I love you so much.”

“I love you too, Bee.”

We stayed that way for a long time. Honestly, I could stay that way forever. I knew that the moments like this would be things I could only feel in my dreams soon.

It took a while for both of us to pull ourselves together. Whipping tears from her face, once the hug fell away, she looked at me and asked, “Are you sure you’re okay with this?”

Gently, I reached a hand out and wiped a tear from her eye. “All I’ve ever wanted is for you to be happy, and if this will make you happy then I want this too.”

I lightly pressed another kiss to her forehead, getting a quick half-laugh in return. She leaned into the palm of my hand, gently raising her hand to meet mine. The small golden band on her finger nearly made me start crying again.

“If you want to help me with the paperwork, I’d really appreciate it.”

She all, but mumbled into my hand. Somehow, she pulled a laugh from me; she always knew how to make me laugh even in moments like this.

“I would love to, dear.”

Over the next few months we got ready for her to leave. Packing boxes mostly, it felt weird to only be packing her things. I cherished every second of it. Soon after the paperwork was filed, and she approved, I started my own little mission. With the help of a friend, I found the coordinates of the star the planet orbited. It was a bit hard to sneak a telescope into the house without her noticing, but I managed. After a few hours of setting it up and adjusting the position over and over, I could see it.

“Hey, Bee! Come out to the balcony real quick!”

I could hear the shuffling around in the house before I saw her head peek out the door. I couldn’t help myself from making a grand display of it, showing it off with my arms like it was a new car. Getting a laugh from her before she said, “What’s this about?”

“Well, why don’t you have a look?”

Softly rolling her eyes, she walked onto the balcony and looked through the telescope. “All right there’s…a star, and not much else.”

“Well, that star is a little special—I got some help from a friend and, if I got it right, that should be SR216’s star. Every night I can look through this and say goodnight to you; it’s our star now…it’s a little stupid, honestly.”

Slowly, she leaned up, the softest look on her face that immediately made my shoulders relax. She took my hand and said, “You make it so easy to love you when you do things like this. We’ll be able to talk once I get out of cryo, but you still do this,” she laughed a little before continuing, “stop making it so hard to leave damn it.”

Lightly headbutting my chest, a laugh still on her lips as she leaned into me. Slowly, I put my free arm around her.

“We both know that’s not possible,” was my only response before I pressed a gentle kiss to her head, earning another little laugh. 

We stood in the cool night air for a while, a subtle bitter sweetness settling on me. Quietly I said, “I think I know what I’m gonna make my next album about,” getting only a questioning hum in response I continued, “Moments like this, ‘cuz I know this is the stuff I’ll miss the most.”

“What did I just say about making it hard to leave?”

“And what did I say about it not being possible?”

“Touché, I can’t wait to listen to it.”

“I hope you’ll like it.”

“You’re the one making it, so I already know I’ll love it.”

I softly kissed her again, acceptance washing over me. It was gonna be hard, but we could make it work. It’s gonna take more than a few lightyears of distance to break us.