by Alex Shvartsman
Her expression tells you everything even before she speaks, and your world comes undone.
Then she confirms it: she tells you that her mission is a go. She is so excited, her face is radiant with possibility, and her eyes sparkle with the light of distant stars. You manage to smile, and it is the hardest thing you've ever had to endure.
Love requires many sacrifices, which you offer gladly and without hesitation. The most difficult among them, the one that shatters your heart into a million aching shards, is letting go.
She will be gone for sixteen years, but only two years will have passed aboard the ship. When she returns to Earth, she will be in her early thirties. Even if her love for you survives a two-year journey, how can it possibly endure the homecoming? When she returns, you will be biologically twenty years her senior.