Guernica Magazine


I didn’t tell G that the Corporation hardly ever brings back the corpses of employees who’ve died in space; that they just collect them up for a while then thrust a batch out through an atmosphere to incinerate them. The post Home appeared first on Guernica.
Image source: NASA.


This was always a possibility, I thought, carrying the lightweight urn.

This was always a possibility.

We talked about this situation now and then. It’s not a pleasant topic of conversation, but it was something we needed to work through. A task that came to us, as we drank tea together, ate meals together, held hands, touched lips, inscribed each other’s names on our bodies. There were many things besides love that we had to consider. We accepted that reality and enrolled in the Corporation’s mental health program. I prepared for my death; G prepared for a long wait.

We did simulations. With my age always the same, I met G aged fifty, sixty, seventy. G held my funeral. I can vividly recall G at seventy. G was gardening when I showed up. I knocked on the unfamiliar front door, and an older G opened it with an expression of joy and slight confusion. I handed G a copy of the Corporation manual, Life as a Space Pilot’s Next of Kin: Caduceus Takes Care of You. Standing there, G opened it to the “Partner” section, read it, and then nodded. Crying, G stepped toward me with open arms. I was held, still, in G’s embrace. Back at home that night, I clung to the real G. The smell of G’s body had been missing from the simulation.

When I mentioned this, G smiled. “Well, that’s a tricky one. Maybe one of the simulations will end with you taking off again because you don’t like my old-person smell.”

Touching that smooth face, running my hands across that familiar body, I murmured, “I’m sure it’s not important. If it’s not there, it can’t matter.”

In the simulation, the door to our house was blue. Blue meant Sector 27, one of the residential areas of Makiyende. I’d never been to Sector 27, a place for retired space travellers. A place for people out.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

Related Interests

More from Guernica Magazine

Guernica Magazine29 min read
Anne of Cleves
She’d cried because she had expected it to be awful, and it hadn’t been. But she felt embarrassed about the kiss, and she’d asked Sigrid if she could just lie there next to her, if it was all right just to be in bed together, and Sigrid had said, Of
Guernica Magazine8 min read
Susan Choi: The Limitation of Perspective
The author of “Trust Exercise” on her evolving narrative preoccupations and the radical contradictions of adolescence. The post Susan Choi: The Limitation of Perspective appeared first on Guernica.
Guernica Magazine1 min readPsychology
SIMA Docs: Marie’s Dictionary
Marie Wilcox is the last fluent speaker of Wukchumni, one of the roughly 130 endangered Native languages in the United States. This documentary follows her efforts to keep her mother tongue alive. The post SIMA Docs: Marie’s Dictionary appeared firs