Intergalactic colonization log. Entry 4,897. Planet: Unknown.
I am alone here.
But I know why I’ve come. Mother dropped me here. I can’t recall her voice — only her last words to me remain, etched into my memory, haunting every thought:
Know this place — let this place know you. Leave a part of your self behind.
This planet is quiet. I’ve met no one, nothing, but I feel like I’m beginning to know it.
It’s changing seasons, shedding its winter husk for the warming weather. The leaves were blue, but now they’re violet and green and alive.
Mother left me with nothing to record my time here, so I talk to myself. I’m a good listener. I think I will remember this place when I’m gone.
The ground is softening. It squishes beneath my feet, but I don’t sink: I bounce. I laugh and tell myself how much fun it is. I bounce until the twin moons rise and then I walk again.
I need to know this place, even in the dark.
In the dusk, it is easy to make a misstep, and I tumble into a pool I couldn’t see.
I can’t swim. I tell myself this again and again.
Icannotswim. Icannontswim. Icannotswim.
My flailing fingers strike something, and I grab on. It’s the rocky wall of the pool and somehow I manage to pull myself out, coughing up a sweet liquid thicker than water but not quite honey.
I comfort myself as I sit on the edge of the pool in the twilight. It wasn’t as deep as I thought — it rarely is.
“I won’t let you down, not ever,” myself tells me.
It’s morning and I feel better. I look better too. I can see myself, standing in front of myself. Long limbs, thick, strong chest. Wild eyes, always seeking the horizon. I run my fingers through my hair but myself does not. I’m relieved myself isn’t a mirror. Though we have so much in common, myself is separate from me.
It is easier to talk this way.
Myself seems to know this place better then I do. We roam, we eat the summer fruit, we bounce on squishy earth, we carve our name in the trees.
I love having myself here. I don’t feel so alone.
I know because I’m a part of this place now. Perhaps too much so.
Myself and I stand with our feet in the earth. We are sinking. We are buried up to our calves.
There is something silver on the horizon and it’s coming fast.
I remember words of Mother’s I’d forgotten:
Leave a part of yourself behind…I will come for you when you have new responsibilities.
I step out of the earth and shake off the numbness of sleep. I had been so comfortable. I hate to leave, but I know I must. I have responsibilities in new places.
I look back at myself and am shocked to see I’m buried up to the waist.
“Come with me,” I say. “I need you. I’ll drown without you.”
Myself opens heavy eyelids and looks up at me. Those eyes are less wild now. I think I see tears in them. I feel tears on my own cheeks.
“You’ve given me the best of yourself, and I am better for it,” I say, my shoulders disappearing into the soft ground. “If it would still your tears then I’d give it all back, but I cannot. You’ve given me so much that were I to return any of it I wouldn’t be myself.”
Mother is here. I feel her calling my name. I look back at myself on last time but I am gone, buried in the planet I’ve come to know better then I knew myself.
But I’m already forgetting.
I walk to meet Mother on unstable feet, over ground and past trees unfamiliar to me.
One has my name on it, but I don’t recall how it got there.
I am alone here.
I knew all along that one day I’d have to leave. I knew part of me would stay behind, but I didn’t know it would be the best part, the part I needed most. The part that kept me afloat.
Mother’s ship is cool and safe and fast. I have a bed and food and many things to entertain me but no one to talk to.
My new responsibilities are the same as the last: explore, know the place, leave — leaving a part of you behind. This is how we grow, Mother and I. She says it gives us power and power is safety, that all the places I leave myself are ours. I am a seed, a pollen, a worker bee building a strong intergalactic colony. But it means spreading myself thin.
Mother says I will understand our goal when I see all the beautiful places that will be ours. The next one is bright and covered in clear, shallow oceans. I’ve already forgotten the last one, but I feel like I forgot something there. Something important.
I’ve come to know many places and each one has changed me
Perhaps I have forgotten many things in many places; existential breadcrumbs.
And if I follow the trail backwards what would I find?