It wasn’t the usual death. Most people preferred being surrounded by loved and liked ones as a pill dissolved away their neurons. But I wasn’t like most people. I was alone in a tiny pod that was about to hurdle across the stars. Excitement boiled over me.
Now, I wasn’t very old (about 57 in earth-years,) so I could have lived for a little bit longer. But, after a while, one realizes when they’re expending too many resources while offering little in return.
“Are you sure you want to do this,” a woman at the kiosk asked. I assured her that I had thought about this very keenly. “Of course, had to ask just in case. Just a formality,” she smiled. She reminded me of one of my late daughter’s best friends. Young, professional, and somewhat empty. “Now, sign here and here. And, oh, almost forgot, you have your Suicide License, correct? Great!”
Self-neutralization was still frowned-upon in our society. It needed to be. Otherwise you would have workers removing themselves left and right, especially those who worked in the spice mines. However, if one had the bureaucratic know-how and the financial aptitude, then one could easily obtain a government-approved Suicide License. This handy little card allowed one to legally terminate one’s self without the fear of litigation.
Next thing I knew I was on a shuttle to one of earth’s many space stations. Once I arrived at the shuttle, I was placed in my pod. It was a bit snug. I had to bend my knees and there wasn’t a lot of headspace, but the interior was lined with leather, like a recliner I once had. There was even a cupholder, but I had nothing to put in it for I didn’t even realize that the pod was going to have one. I instantly thought of the green tea with extra honey my aunt used to make when I was younger. I thought about bothering one of the engineers to see if they could retrieve one for me, but I opted against it. They were busy and I did not want to bother them.
I remained inside my pod, imagining with anticipation all the things I will see on my final journey. The glorious star clusters, the glow of cosmic dust, icy planets and wild asteroids. As I waited for the engineers to complete their preparations, I started to realize that this was the next big step. Life before had been a stagnant gruel, moving slowly in accordance to some other thing, without meaning. But now, I was putting my foot down. I was launching into something new. It didn’t feel like death. As I fly through the cosmos, I would no longer feel detached from reality. I will be among the colors and lights of the universe. I would be a part of it all. My feelings and memories sprinkled among the stardust.
A voice entered my pod informing me that everything was almost ready. In a couple of minutes, I will be free. It was strange hearing that. How such a momentous thing had been given a number, a measurement which was quickly (yet slowly) decreasing. But, I was waiting for it. Waiting for the regret. Waiting for a face or two to slide through my skull and beckon me elsewhere, to guide me out of the pod and save me from the universe. But whatever came was faint. Whatever bright image that wanted to save me was barely a glimmer. That’s when I started to feel disappointed. Did I really have nothing? Was there nothing of my life reaching out for me? Did I live so little? Did I have…? But it didn’t matter. For nothing mattered among stars and black holes. The vast brightness. The eternal decay.
That’s when I felt the pod suddenly go slack in its cradle. I felt the brakes unlatch themselves and a giant door open before me. From my tiny window the universe entered. That’s when my new life began.
Written for this year’s A to Z Challenge. I didn’t mention this in my “Theme Reveal” post, but I’ve decided to base each post off the name of a song. The song that this story inspired is Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine,” the first song off their first album. Tomorrow, I will be writing a story or poem (or something else!) inspired by a song starting with the letter “B”.