Every night she followed the path into the forest and didn’t stop until she was at the very spot where, on his last night on Earth, he made a promise to her. “I’ll look for you everyday,” he’d said. “And hope that you’re there looking for me too.”
And so, from that night on, she searched the skies for him, wondering if the space station was in orbit above her. She tilted her head back and squinted at the dark sky awash with so many stars. She’d learned to tell the difference now between shooting stars and satellites buzzing by.
Sometimes an intense flash of light streamed across the sky and she wondered if that was the station and if he was standing by one of its windows, looking down at earth, looking for her. The communiques were few and far between. When she received them, they were heavily censored. Five years of redacted communiques but what she remembered of any of them was how his loneliness permeated each word. And though he’d told her not to wait for him, he’d told her to move on with someone who could keep his feet on the ground, she waited.
One day he would return. And she would be his again.