The tiny cargo ship made for one drifted through space.
For 5 years, it floated through the stars and through dust.
“As we say goodbye to our beloved friend and mentor, may they have their wish granted of being one with the stars.”
The funeral was at the launch pad, the sun shining through heavy grey clouds. The small crowd of 50 stood across the river, away from the heat, the smoke.
Lightening flashed across the sky, the funeral attendants opened their umbrellas.
Fat drops of rain fell from the sky, the puffy eyes of the crowd hidden behind sunglasses.
The rocket started to rumble.
The partner of the one who had died stood silently in front of the rest of the crowd, bare feet standing in the water of the river.
“I hope you’re at ease,” their partner said sadly, taking a step further into the river as the rocket took off into the sky.
The coffin continued to drift through the empty but busyness of space. It passed through a field of asteroids, getting jostled by the many rocks. One rock slammed into the side, causing the coffin to crack. It started to hiss, the lid sliding up. The lack of gravity caused the body to rise from its floating home, out into the quiet of space.
The body gasped after a moment, dark eyes looking around. They saw comets, nebulae, far off quasars. Their eyes started to water as they saw all the stars twinkle around them. As they floated in the quiet, they came across a planet, circled by 4 thick rings. They slowly pushed themselves through the rings, touching the tiny ice diamonds with their fingers.
“Nice view, yeh!?” someone called out. The person looked around.
“Oh, right… Hold on.”
A bright flash happened in the spot next to the moving corpse. They stared at … their own reflection.
This being was just the head of the moving corpse. It smiled, its teeth twinkling like the stars behind them.
“Why are you me?”
“Oh, because you’re the one I’m talking to. I look like everyone, everything. It’s easier for me to look like you.”
The corpse and the head were hovering above an ocean the color of plums, the sky the color of daffodils.
“I’ve watched you sleep, you know. These past five years, you’ve missed the birth of a star, the destruction of a solar system…” The walking corpse looked over at the figure, who was now their partner. The corpse’s eyes started to water.
“Don’t…” They started.
“But isn’t this what you wished?” the figure said, walking to the corpse, taking their hand and squeezing it.
“But you aren’t –”
The figure smiled and dropped their hand.
“I am. They still haven’t moved on, you know…” The figure snapped their fingers.
They were teleported to the city where the corpse lived. It was a hazy morning, the night sky making its way out for the morning, the sky a mix of an indigo wine. The streets were quiet, a few cars here and there hovering over puddles from last night’s rain.
The corpse could feel their heart race. They took off down the street, the figure disappeared. The corpse could feel hot tears form in their eyes as they continued to sprint around the block. They came to a complete stop on a corner, their old apartment building in view. All of the lights were off, but one apartment. It was the bedroom they shared with their former partner. They slowly walked to the door of the building, gasping when it opened on its own. The corpse made its way to the 6th floor, to the apartment. The door was slightly ajar. They peaked inside. The entry hall was dark, but the light from the bedroom was dim. The door slowly creaked a bit more open, just enough to squeeze through. The corpse slowly walked down the hall, looking at all the things that had changed; the archway that led to the living room showed that they furniture had been replaced, the walls had been repainted. The kitchen had new appliances, new dining furniture. The bathroom had new rugs and a new shower curtain.
When the corpse made their way to the closed bedroom door, their heart rushed to their throat. They reached out a hand to try to push the door open, but instead, the hand went through the door. The corpse blinked but slowly walked through the door.
Their partner sat on the sill of the bay window, asleep. In their hand, they held a picture of both of them on their joining day. The corpse moved toward them, watching their face. The five years had aged them slightly. New wrinkles lined their furrowed brow and eyes, their hair was almost fully grey. The corpse reached out and actually touched their face. They drew their hand back at not just the touch, but at their partner stirring as well. Their partner slowly opened their eyes, staring up at the dead. They gasped and climbed more into the window.
“I’m dreaming, I’m dreaming…” they whispered as tears fell from their eyes. The corpse started to cry as well. Their urge to console the love of their life was strong, but they stood still, watching this beautiful person try to wake up.
“I’m so sorry,” the corpse said, taking a step back. “I just needed to see you again…”
Their partner watched them from the window. Their loved one still wore the marigold funeral attire, their coffee and silver hair was still braided down.
“I just needed to see if you are okay…”
The partner slowly stood up and walked over to them. They hesitated but slowly put a hand on their cheek. The partner proceeded to wrap their arms around their loved one, squeezing them tightly. The corpse held them back, never wanting this moment to end.
Something whispered in the corpse’s ear.
“No, no… No, please…” they cried out, burying their face in the neck of their partner.
“I don’t want to let them go again…”
Their partner pulled away, watching their loved one slowly disappear in front of their eyes. The corpse reached out and touched their face one last time.
All that was left in the room was a small piece of diamond from the many rings the corpse played in at the feet of their partner.
The corpse watched at their apartment, their city, their country, their planet get smaller and smaller as the figure from before pulled them back to their reality.
“When can I see them again?” the corpse asked, looking around at the everything and the nothing.
“You can see them whenever you want… You have to wait for them to die before you can touch them again.”
The corpse nodded sadly and continued to float in the vast emptiness of space, alone.