To Seth, On His Tenth Birthday
Letter to Earth, 2270.
BY BENJAMIN CRAIG
[From the fall 2012 issue.]
Hey, bud. Just wanted to drop you a line to wish you a happy birthday. This might get to you a little late, but I’m writing it on your birthday and I’m thinking of you. There’ll be something special on the way as soon as Donna and I can get clearance to fly into a shipping port. I think you’re gonna like it. They’re picky about this new ship I picked up—something about the couplings that connect to the life-support systems. Apparently Lambo skimped a little where they could on this new model, but it really isn’t the point of the thing—this baby’s fast and they went all out on the sleeping compartment. You can rotate the holoplay viewing stage over the bed so you can catch any angle from really any position on the bed. Make sure to tell your mom about that. I think she’ll appreciate it. Tell her Donna really likes it. Women know what other women like. That’s what I’ve picked up on over these past few years that I maybe should have known when your mom and I were still together. If I’d applied what I learned from all those other women your mom says I knew back then to making her happy, things might have been different. Who knows what she wanted. Make sure to tell your mom how much Donna likes watching the holoplays from bed, any position.
I know your mom doesn’t take the family out of the magnetic field because of the radiation problems out here in space, but you should try to get her to reconsider. Donna and I are having a really great time with the years we have and if it means we have a few less, well, I have to tell you, son—fuck it. And you can tell your mom that, too. And Donald. Fuck it. I mean, we only have one shot at this thing, right? Maybe your mom has a more sophisticated view of the world than I remember, and she’ll appreciate the sentiment. I doubt it though, bud—some folks never quite figure out how to really enjoy life. They spend too much time worrying about how to get their ex to pony up half his royalty check so they can move up to the condo-floats over Frisco. Hey, man, I’m sure happy you guys get to have a view above the fog, though. You’re welcome to it, Seth. Nothing I want more than your happiness. I think you know that.
Well, you really should see the new ship. I think you’d like it. They built the thing to look just like one of those old airplanes they used to fly around in down on Earth. They still doing that? It’s been a few years, as you know, Seth, since I’ve been down there, but I really am looking forward to seeing you whenever we can work it out. Maybe you could get your mom to put you on one of the low-Earth-orbit shuttles so you can come up and see me. I think they can get you far enough out that I could pick you up. You should check into it and lemme know before our next flyby. Should be a couple months. We’re slingshotting around Venus on the heels of a comet, bud. If you’d told me I’d be spending my forties chasing tail…hehe. Anyway, they won’t even let me get this new ship closer than the moon because the heat shields aren’t up to code. The approved ones don’t come in the Mercurial Red color option, but sometimes trading up means taking a few risks, amiright, bud? You’ll learn it someday, Seth. I’m telling it to you now to save you fifteen years of the wrong woman. Hey, maybe “wrong” is too strong, but kicking things off with a Martian honeymoon in one of those Volvo planet-cruisers with only twin beds and a really stellar safety record doesn’t exactly set an exciting tone. Maybe that’s just me. If you only ever learn one thing from your dad, Seth, let it be this—in the end, sometimes you have to make the right choice for yourself and that means you give up something else that seems important, but isn’t really making you happy. Anyway, wish we could pop in, but like I said, they won’t let me bring this thing in for Earth-dock because it’s got too much awesome on it.
Thinking of you,
Benjamin Craig is an editor at the magazine.