A Letter to My Best Friend on the Most Important Day of Her Life, Undelivered, No Known Forwarding Address
by Caroline M. Yoachim
I should tell you this in words or at least hand-deliver this letter, but I'm so afraid of your reaction that I'm hiding behind the inter-arcology postal service. Once the envelope is in the drop-box, it will be out of my hands, I'll have no way to lose my nerve and take the letter back. I know it's unfair of me to burden you with this, so close to the date of your shuttle launch, mere days before the mission that you've dreamed of for so many years.
I remember when we were kids, and we would sneak out of our bunkers on days when the air was breathable. You would stare up at the stars and tell me that someday you'd be up there, a shuttle pilot or a colony scientist or maybe just one of the lucky random draws. I believed you. Even then I knew you could do anything you put your mind to. It made me work harder at school, in hopes that I could be a scientist, too.
You excelled, and I fell further and further behind, despite your efforts to tutor me. I wasn't skilled enough to be a pilot or smart enough to be a scientist. You remained my friend even when I switched to an Earth-based vocational track, and I did everything I could to encourage your dream of the stars.
We talked about everything, but I never told you this: I love you. I've loved you for a long time. I didn't want to hold you back. You were clearly destined for the stars, for exploring colony worlds, for adventure. I wanted those things too, but the fierce competition to get onto the shuttles meant my only chance was to win the lottery. I waited to enter my name until I knew which mission would be yours. I didn't want to risk my number coming up too early, trapping me in some different region of space, among the stars but not with you.