Chapter 1

Cursed

It’s impossible not to see through the veil of lies waiving around me. They blink like fireflies engulfing the darkness only to create more. Those lies are webs attracting insects to the dead-end of death. My life is a lie. 

Nobody told me that. It was the strange uncomfortable sensation of not belonging that clenched in my mind like tentacles of an octopus sucking every drop of self-confidence and clarity I had. I was an alien inside the family drama. Lost between jealousy, incomprehension, and fear. A being totally despised and misunderstood, at the same time someone who never had broken. Bending was an option, breaking never.

I still could hear the murmurs as a child I endured: the finger-pointing, the sarcastic comments and the taste of the thousand tears rolling down on my face. A child was so unhappy and unfit to be between them and at the same time profoundly searching for love. I walked miles and miles persuading the love of somebody. Parents, relatives, friends, lovers, I couldn’t find it on any of them. It was like inside me a different tale was being created, one full of light and hope.

It was an afternoon when my decision to volunteer in a program studying a new drug to make time came back. No, I did not do it for vanity, not for the arrogance of youth. I did it because I needed more time to understand, to learn, to see the changes. For three year, genetic therapy made gradually time retraced. My skin gloomed as I was 25, and my muscles acquire the tonicity and vigour I had never had even when I was 25. I was, at the age of 75, a new me. Then, come the other option.

In a dark day in my flat in London, my son comes to visit. He was far for so long that I did not remember the sound of his voice without having something between us. He was excited with the idea to move to Mars. Caroline, his partner, was an astrobiologist researching about the origins, development, distribution and future of life in the universe. My son, an astrophysicist, had been collecting data about Europe, the Jupiter satellite. I remember since she was a teenager, the curiosity and then the compulsion to go to Europe. Have been most part of his life an enthusiast of videogames, he had built a matrix of possibilities for him. Caroline was only part of this array. I, on my mind, knew she and he was right to each other. 

My son conversation was a mix of excitement and concern. He would leave me behind, alone, old. I laugh. “I am not old”, was my comment. “I am just experienced, and not enough, if you allow me to say. The experiment with gene therapy is almost finished, I thought what to do next. You just gave the answer.” My son looked at me in surprise. Since I lost his father for a heart attack, my life becomes strangely without north. Most part to my days, before that day, when the phone call came, had been caring about them. No longer before my husband died, my son left to leave his life,  leaving behind the two souls who had the struggle to keep a healthy and mature relationship. 

Images of my husband face, smiling sarcastically came to my mind. I remember the first time we met, and the day the fatal undesirable conclusion lightened on my mind. It was a winter day in London, and we were talking about relationships and how it was hard to keep them healthy and balanced. On that moment, my husband eyes were emitting light, a strange and recognisable spectrum. I saw my mother-in-law there. Suddenly, I understood, “I married my mother-in-law.” 

“Mom. What are you planning?” Should I tell him, I had volunteered on a one-way trip to some distant place. Or should I just give a shoulder and say I was planning a trip to the moon.

“Don’t worry. Live your life best you can. I am capable of caring for myself.” My son looked at me with his green and sweet eyes, something he never lost when growing up. His embraced carried all the love he was able to give me. The kiss on my face was like a seal closing the chapter of motherhood in my life. I was ready to begin another one. The explorer who lived decades dormant was prepared to take off.

We said goodbye to each other. I knew, whatever happens to my son will be the result of his own action, searches and decisions. We both knew how important he was to me, and I was to him, this importance never will demise or be lost. Just now, was the time for him persuade his future, a future where a child never would have a place. He and Caroline decide they don’t have children. I decision easily understandable if you are living on what remain habitable on Earth. I plenty understood my son chose to live, I am sure he will understand mine.

After my son left, I call the European Space Centre. I was ready to face the challenge had been prepared to this step long enough. It was time.

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