Anxiety #243 by E.H. Lupton
That perhaps I would never die. What if? Think of it, to see eternity stretched out around me, a plain viewed from the mountains, the ocean viewed from the crow’s nest of a ship, a dizzying endless wine-darkness stretching from horizon to horizon. To journey, enduring the sun and moon but drawing no joy from them. To see my family grow small behind me, fading, and me (picture it) sailing on, alone, across a sunbaked planet, above me a bloated yellow sun, gradually reddening, drawing ever closer.
Bad days ahead: When I will be unmothered, dehusbanded, bereft, unaccompanied. When the rains start. The day the wind picks up. The day the rains stop. The day the coffee trees die. When the moon breaks up. The night the wanderers leave their orbits. The time the sun goes out for good.
Will a day arrive when the ghosts grow bored and depart, when the Earth forgets us all? Some footprints are deeper than others, but nothing lasts forever. Except for me. I will remember the sentinel sequoias and the small cats, the whales and the amoebas, the Hagia Sophia, every pyramid and ziggurat, those I have loved and those they loved. I will stick them to my skin like a decorator crab, and when I have created a grand monument, I will leave my shell behind in the desert where it would be visible for miles, for eons, were there anyone left to see it. Let the oceans archive my tears and the winds recall my howls. I will walk free, raw, and it will be a new day forever.
Originally published in the August 2023 issue of Utopia Science Fiction Magazine.
E. H. Lupton (she/her) lives in Madison, WI with her family. She writes moody poetry and fiction with ghosts in it; her debut novel, Dionysus in Wisconsin, came out in 2023. She is also one half of the podcasting team behind the hit podcast Ask a Medievalist. Find her online at ehlupton.com or on Mastodon at romancelandia.club/@pretensesoup.