A Matter of Gravity

In space, some questions might feel heavier to ask. Like such from Mission Specialist Paul Harper.

“So, I was wondering. What are we? ”
“Pardon me?”
“Yes. Well, yeah. I mean, you and I. What are we?”
“What do you mean? We are both engineers. Stanford, quite some years ago. Remember?”
“Yes. Of course, but I, I mean, seriously, what are we? you and I.”
“Harper, I’m not really sure I am following you.”
“Wh… aw come on, don’t be like this. You know exactly what I mean.”
“ Nope. To be honest I don’t know what you’re talking about. Here, hold this.”
“Rebeca. I’m trying to be serious down here.”
“Umm, you mean up here?”
“Is this still about Chico’s Burritos? Because if it is, believe me when I tell you that I wasn’t even looking forward to that and it was never my intention to make you feel bad. Also, that was three years ago. So, what’s going on?”
“That thing again? I told you many times before, I don’t have a problem with spicy food, I can totally handle it. It’s just that, well, I was feeling kinda ill that day.”
“Harper, will you do me a favor and please focus on our module status?”
“Mmhmm… stupid… status…”
“Pardon me?”
“No? What do you mean? What is this?”
“We’ve been sleeping together for more than two years.”
“What? You call that sleeping? Suspended animation for space travel is more like a pause. Anyway, you still haven’t answered my question. What is this all about? What is going on with you?
“Three years. We started this right before training for this mission. We’ve been on and off for 1126 days, to be exact.”
Okay. We , umm…”
“I love you.”
“I fucking love you.”
“Oh my God.”
“What?! Did you see an alien? A UFO?”
“What? What’s happening? Your face, you suddenly seem so worried.”
“I… I, uh, think you might be affected by Interplanetary Love Syndrome.”
“Hahaha, that’s funny. What’s that?”
“Harper, listen to me very carefully. I want you to sit and relax. I want you to think about the time we went to Chico’s. I’ll just do something to make you feel better, is that okay?”
“Nah, I don’t want to, really.”
“Paul, please. Our module will initiate the landing sequence soon. Just, let me get the kit for ILS.”
“Rebeca, baby, I’m chill. I actually need to get a buzz, is there any vodka in here? From the Russian instructors maybe?”
“Paul, don’t. Paul, sit, sit down.”
“I’m telling you, I’m alright. I’m feeling fine. I just find it a little weird that you think I’m crazy. I mean, I am mad about you, since school and all. And you know it. I’ve told you many times before.”
“Paul, I’m sorry. We shouldn’t have shared the apartment for our postgraduate degrees. We shouldn’t have had sex after I broke up with Tom.”
“Nah, no prob, come on. We’re cool, no? Hey, listen. Let’s get this over with so we can come back to Earth in two or three weeks. I’d like to try that Habanero Burrito again, at Chico’s.”
“Are you out of your fucking mind?! We’re about to land in a few minutes! Stop acting like a child.”
“Whoa, no need to yell or anything… I’m riiiight heeree…”
“Paul. Please, please tell me you are aware of the fact that this is a no return mission. We are going to stay here.”
“You gotta be kidding me. I had no idea. We’re not going back to Chico’s then?”
“I don’t think so, Paul.”
“Holy-guaca-mole. I just got into this mission because of you. I just wanted to be around and take care of you.”
“Why the long face? It’s true. I always missed the morning briefs at training. I thought your way of laying things out was waaaay cooler, but now that I think about it, you never mentioned the no-return thing. So, guess who owes me a trip back to earth?”
“Oh God…”
“Okay, okay… Wow. Okay. Don’t be sad. Let me think. Okay. Umm. Well, if you look at the bright side, you can totally cook some badass burritos. We can even open our own joint down here. It’s gonna be fun, seriously.”
“Oh Paul, I am sorry. I am very sorry.”

As Rebeca Gutierrez-Lopez concluded the landing sequence and proceeded to exit the module, Paul Harper could slowly feel the sickening effects of space travel, unusual gravity and harsh reality.