Prologue: Floating in Space

How I came to be here—marooned on this space station that is floating helplessly away from Earth—is not important right now. It’s important. Just not right now. If I start my story with that, it will take over everything—it will seem more important than everything else. And it’s not. It’s the same amount of important as everything else. So you’ll just have to trust me when I tell you that I’ll get to it when the time is right.

 

For now, here’s what you need to know to put your mind at ease:

My name is Martin Reales.

I’m in a space station that became unmoored from its orbit.

I am not an astronaut. I’m a passenger.

I am alone.

All the other people who were here with me went back to Earth.

They did not abandon me. No one is to blame. It’s no one’s fault.

Mistakes were made. Choices.

I am floating in the dark vast of space and I have no control over my trajectory.

There is no one to rescue me.

I will not be saved.

I will die here.

But that will take a long time. Years, in fact. I have plenty of provisions to last me the rest of my natural life, which is about half-over anyway. At least I hope so. Barring any unforeseeable calamities (there are no celestial obstructions in my current path, at least not for several thousand years), I will eat and drink and live the next half of my life for about as long as I would have if I had stayed on Earth.

I’ll just be doing it alone.

The only people I have to keep me company here in my floating home are those who may be found in the books and films stored in my computer library—which is no small number because I have thousands of them—maybe hundreds of thousands.

 

Someday, long after I’m dead, this space station, along with my story that I am writing here, may be found. Or, it may never be found.

It will not change the importance of my story either way.

My story needs to be told. It does not need to be heard. I hope it will be, but it does not need to be.

It is the same amount of important either way.

 

No story is more important than mine. And mine is no more important than any other.

Not in “the grand scheme of things.” Because there is no grand scheme of things.

“God’s eye view” is just another vantage point—another center of the universe in an infinite number of centers of the universe. Maybe even infinite universes.

 

One more thing:

This story is true. All of it. None of the names have been changed because by the time anyone finds this, they’ll all be long dead.

Long dead.

That didn’t actually hit me until I wrote it just now.

Man, that fucking hurts. Goddamn.

 

Well, it’s too late now, but I need to say something to them.

To all the people I knew in my life. All my friends. All my family. All my acquaintances.

To all of you whose paths crossed mine in the map of my story, of our stories, I say this:

I loved you.

I loved you more than you could ever know.

Every single one of you.

Everyone who shared a piece of his or her life with me in Texas, in Boston, in New York, and all the other places along the way.

Everyone. Every piece of each and every life–no matter how small.

Each and every piece was precious. Perfect.

You meant more to me than you ever knew.

I carried each piece of you with me every day for the rest of my story.

I carry each piece of you here with me now, into the dark vast.

I only wish I had told you when I could.

But maybe, hopefully, you knew anyway.

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