On my return from the Moon, I looked in Ann Arbor for the woman who’d seen me off when I had stepped into that hermetically sealed spaceship, shutting the hatch behind me. I found her at the bar we used to frequent, nursing her staple gin-and-tonic while studying the grain of the stained wood bartop. There was something morose about her posture, like her soul was rotting from the alcohol she had medicated herself with over the long, lonely years.
I poked her in the side, gave her a hug. “I’m sorry, I’ve been gone awhile.”
In surprise, she drew breath sharply through slightly parted lips. She whispered back, “I’ve seen your treads a’glowin’. Won’t you take me to your special place too?”
I didn’t know what place she was talking about, but no one else would have known if I was there. Her speech had gotten downright strange, though. Alcohol had been her only vice, but she seemed to have found solace from other desolate places. The waters of Lethe were strong on her scent, reminiscent of the bitter, metallic smell of dried blood and needles in the arm.
I thought about it for half-a-second, looked around the pub for peace of mind and handed her a little plastic pouch like it was radioactive treasure. “Be careful, tripping is long and lonely.”
I figured she would have the pleasure of Psilocybin for company, and I’m sure she has since learned of the risk associated with piloting strange and dangerous space vehicles. I hope she didn’t hold a grudge against me for the insufficiency or halfheartedness of my warning.
My sparks were extinguished a long time ago, but I get the feeling that she will still be a while. The sparks still blaze from her ship when I look up at the night sky, as if vying with a million brilliant specks of stardust that cannot be silenced by those feeble embers. On a backlit black canvas poked through with needles, an addict sails to the moon.