Ruwina promised me that one day we'd see Mars. Then she got cancer and was too sick to fly. So I held her hand and watched her die. The day her life insurance money arrived, I booked a flight to Mars with tears streaming down my face.
I trained for months, lifting weights and running, getting my body in shape so that I wouldn't atrophy into a slug on the long zero-G journey. Sure, there were beautiful women at the club and I was single again (or a widower if you like the term; I can't stand it myself) but I couldn't get Ruwina out of my head. She was my wife, my lover, and most of all, my best friend. We ran together, ate together, talked, argued, and worked side by side for twelve years.
I miss her.
The last fifteen days before a flight, the interplanetary medics make you live in a bunker of sorts. It's basically an isolation chamber where meals are slid under your door and all you have for entertainment is a vid and whatever else you can fit into a shoe box. The whole point is to make sure you aren't about to infect the entire ship with the plague after take-off.
I brought the Bible and Ruwina's favourite book, "The Calling of the Loon-Ghost". I tried every night to open her book, but I couldn't read through the tears, so I gave up. Instead, I worked my way through the old black-bound King James classic.
Now you're probably thinking that I'm some kind of religious zealot or some such, but I'm not. Really. I just figured I ought to read the Book before I died, and since I was trapped in a room with nothing else to do (I hate vidtainment) I slugged through it.
Some parts were more interesting than I expected. Some were pretty ridiculous. I honestly can't figure out how someone could read the thing so many times that they would actually memorize passages, and not only that, but the references to them as well. Not my cup of noodles, I guess. After all, I've probably only been inside a church a dozen times in my entire life.