She never smiles. I wonder, briefly, if it is because the lack of weather depresses her. The moon doesn’t have a breath of wind. Between the stillness and the endless powdery grey, the place feels like a graveyard. Forget the awe of standing on the moon.
The inside of her little pod is painted a cheerful sunshine yellow, like she wants to be happy. Or like somebody wants her to be happy. Her husband, an enormous jovial man named Moque seems to be forever trying to improve her mood. At least, I think he is. I have no business being there and so I have to watch from afar. He seems a good man, the kind who might smuggle a gallon of bright yellow of paint from the Earth if it means cheering his wife.
I don’t know her name. Her husband’s lunar suit has a name-tag, but hers does not. She has a wide face, flawless, with large dark eyes. Her hair is short and black and compliments her long slender neck. Hers is a face like you don’t see in the present, like how paintings from the middle ages show faces just slightly different than ours — not ancient, but old and from a time gone by. Only hers, this woman on the moon, her face is from a time that has not yet come, and I find it difficult to look away.
I did not come to see her. I did not know she existed. I had come to see the Earth while standing on the moon. Most people choose the distant past for this. I had to travel ahead more than a hundred years to do it and I picked a timeline in which I never existed. It is like some part of me knew she was here.
It’s hard to be inconspicuous on the moon, even if you do not, technically, exist. There are only a hundred or so people on the whole colony and a visitor who arrives without a ship is not only mysterious, but impossible. She has seen me at least twice, and both times, rather than panic, she has only looked, blinking at me like I was a phantom she could not clear from her eyes.
I planned to come once, look at the Earth and go. I’ve gone back three times now, I confess, mostly for her. The Earth in the sky… I keep expecting it to occupy a space in the sky the same size as the moon does from Earth, but of course it is larger. It is more intricate, colored pale blue and green and brown. It is beautiful and amazing and everything people said it would be, but somehow, on this third trip, I have acclimated to the sight of it — but somehow not to to her.
I should not return. I don’t plan to return but as start my journey home, to my timeline, I spy a future me crouching behind a large tank of air, and I am glad.