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I'm sorry. But yes. I can see the question
you're asking on your face before you ask it,
and the answer is yes. I did know what I was doing
when I filled out that form, when I agreed that,
if selected, I would leave for Mars at the first opportunity.
Please understand. This is something I wanted
before all of the things we've wanted together. As a child,
I fell asleep asking imaginary questions of the astronauts
who walked on the moon or in soundless airless space.
But what did it feel like? isn't a query someone else can
ever answer. This is my chance to reach a hand back to
that seven-year-old who stared space-ward from her window,
too young to know that girls don't get to go forth alone
in search of discovery. I knew that you would be angry.
I knew you would want to leave first. To pack up your
world in a bag and walk away until I can't touch you, can't
see you, can't hear you. To rocket out of my atmosphere
toward a new frontier so that, when my turn comes,
it won't be anything you haven't done before. But what I'll
be doing, either way, is watching you fade. This?
This is my practice run.

Sara Polsky is the author of the YA novel This Is How I Find Her. Her book reviews and poetry have appeared previously in Strange Horizons.
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