Links for this episode:
- This story was previously published in Return to Luna, the anthology of the winning stories of the National Space Society’s fiction contest (published by Hadley Rille Books, 2008). The story also appeared in the author’s collection of short stories, Life Without Crows (also published by Hadley Rille Books, 2010).
- Get more of Gerri Leen’s work on Amazon.com
- This episode features sound effects from users dADDoiT, chuckycheetos, DanielsonIII, nocommonera, Robinhood76, felix.blume and zimbot on Freesound.org
- Mentioned in this episode: www.ClarionWest.org
- Discuss on our forums.
- For a list of all Escape Pod stories, authors and narrators, visit our sortable Wikipedia page
about the author…
I’m a transplanted Seattleite who’s lived in Northern Virginia for nearly three decades. I started writing professionally in my early 40’s, and it’s been a fun ride so far. I have had stories and poems appearing in many anthologies and magazines, such as Sword and Sorceress XXIII, Footprints, She Nailed a Stake Through His Head: Tales of Biblical Terror, Dia de los Muertos, and Sails and Sorcery.
about the narrator…
Dani Cutler last narrated for EP in 389: Keeping Tabs. She has been part of the podcasting community since 2006, hosting and producing her own podcast through 2013. She currently works for KWSS independent radio in Phoenix as their midday announcer, and also organizes a technology conference each year for Phoenix residents to connect with others in the podcast, video, and online community.
by Gerri Leen
The interface between Luna and Earth was particularly bad–like a slow connection to the Net when I was a kid and my grandparents had been too cheap to move off dial-up. Cal’s image moved in fits and starts, and it wasn’t what I wanted–okay, needed–to see. As chief base shrink, I should be woman enough to admit I _needed_ to see my husband in some way that didn’t immediately scream he was roughly 380,000 clicks away.
Even if Cal was barely my husband; he and I hadn’t touched in eight months–and I’d only been on Luna for six. Coming here had been my way of saying goodbye, of letting our marriage die slowly and gracefully rather than living through the drama of a messy divorce. Funny thing about the moon, though: you don’t get over people here. You miss the hell out of them, every part of them. Or maybe you just forget the bad parts, maybe they disappear in the middle of this resounding grayness.
I used to think my marriage was gray and grim. Landing at Echosound–getting my first view of my new home in the bright lunar daytime that had gone on for fourteen Earth-days–had been a reality check of the highest order.
“Vanessa?” Cal was probably wondering why I’d called. We were supposed to be getting used to being away from each other, and I didn’t have much to say that was related to the impending dissolution of the marriage.
So I said the first thing that came to mind. “How’s Denny?”
The jerking image made his expression unreadable. “He’s fine.”
I didn’t normally ask about his parrot. In fact, I hated that damn bird. Probably because I knew Cal would part with me, but not with him. As a psychiatrist, I don’t shy away from truths. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make me any better at dealing with them.
“Van, I have to go.” Cal didn’t sound disappointed, especially on five-second delay. Not for the first time I wished personal calls were given the same priority for real-time access as mission-related calls. But they weren’t, so I would deal. Badly, no doubt. But I’d deal.
“I have to go, too. Time for my shift.” Which was a lie. I may have normal duty hours, but as essential personnel, I’m on call all the time. No shift work for Doctor Vanessa Holmes. It used to make me feel important; now it felt like a stone around my neck–an Earth-stone in Earth-gravity where it would actually be heavy.
Cal ended the call before I could say anything more. It shouldn’t have hurt. It did anyway.