A story about family and how easy it is to lose it.

Here I am waiting for the day to unfold, not knowing if I will be found and wishing I could hold my wife once more. The cold air within the shuttle felt the same as always, empty and a waste of space, as I sat up on my elbows. The groggy feeling of the mornings came and went as fast as I had left my world of the future wishes; which I can tell you is never. Walking to the makeshift bathroom, I tried my best to clean myself up the best I could without wasting the last of the water I had. ‘That’s the last of the food’ I said to myself as I opened the last of the spaceman food as my daughter calls it. I laughed to myself. I love my little girl, my little Lily. I miss her so much.


I still remember the first time I took Lily to the office at work, she was overexcited. I loved the way that she was jumping up and down through the corridors with the biggest smile on her face, the biggest I had ever seen. And the way she understood most of the terminology just showed me how special she was. After that day, she was determined to be like me, an astronaut. It always made me laugh when she would turn the living room into outer space. Paper stars around the room and a homemade solar system hanging from the ceiling and a cardboard box as a space shuttle. “5, 4, 3, 2, 1! Liftoff!” she would be saying. That’s when I would creep up behind her and shake the box. This is one of my favorite memories of Lily. 


Once I had finished the spaceman food, I placed it in the waste bag I had been using since the main bin had been filled. I headed over to my wallet that had the only picture of my family inside. My little princess and the most beautiful woman I had ever met. I always counted myself as a lucky man. My wife Leia was the best mother to Lily and I can see why. Leia understands the way Lily feels and knows what to do in difficult situations. But even then, she knows how to balance natural love with the tough love she has to show. That’s why I love her. I love her for her kind nature and all I want to do is hold her just one more time. I could feel myself letting my walls of strength crumble around me. ‘I have to stay strong’ I said as I mentally scolded myself. But as I did I heard the sweet little voice of Lily say ‘stop it Daddy! It’s okay to be sad. I will see you soon. I love you!’ Then the promise I had made came crashing to the forefront of my memory…




There we were laying on the trampoline, looking up at the stars above. It was peaceful and comforting after a long day at work, finding out about my next mission to space. “Daddy?” Lily whispered. I turned my head only to see her still looking up. “Will you take me to see the stars?” “Of course I will princess.” I whispered back as I looked back up to the night sky. Lily turned to me and held out her pinky. “Do you promise?” she said. I turned to her and took her pinky in mine. “I promise.” 


“I’m sorry I lied to you princess. I hope you can forgive me.” I said while looking at her smiling face in the picture in my hands. That’s when I finally let a tear leave my eyes and roll down my cheek. 


10 Years Later


“Major, I think that we should check it out.” Lily said with a look of concern on her face. “But the mission-” a co-worker began to protest but was quickly shut down by the Major. “No. Lily is right. Let’s go and check it out.” They made their way into the shuttle, entering one by one, Lily being the last. Everything was fine, everyone talking asking if anyone was there. However, there was no response. “Stay here. I will go further and see if anyone is there.” The Major commanded. Ten minutes later, the Major had not returned, causing the co-workers to worry. After some time, they eventually went to find the Major, only to find him standing over an unidentified dead astronaut. Every co-worker entered, Lily being the last. “Who is that?” a co-worker asked. Lily looked over to see who everyone was looking at. It was her dad. “Daddy?” she whispered as a tear rolled down her cheek.


Submitted: October 30, 2021

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