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After enough time, anywhere can become home. Even the cold and isolation of outer space. This is where I’ve been traveling for… for so long I’ve lost count. But I know I’m right in saying it exceeds 3,000 days.

It sounds worse than it is. We can survive and adapt to almost anything. You travel onwards. It’s rather simple. Your life revolves around you. You are your own source of warmth. You are at your own centre. You are your own rock.

Occasionally you cross paths with others adrift. A kind of chemistry happens once you get close enough. You take a spin before disembarking on your separate ways — hopefully better guided.

The occasional collision also happens. But you never lose a big enough piece of yourself to be thrown completely off-course. Life carries on.

Then a twinkle far in the distance catches your eye. 654 kms away, it grows brighter. A soft glow of red — the colour of romance, passion and promise. An idea more out of this world than you are passes through your mind. Although it’s a complete detour from your current trajectory, you decide to risk getting closer.

The journey seems improbable. But this isn’t a matter of logic. The heart isn’t bound in the same way as the rest of our bodies. Distance never stops us from dreaming. You commit to going ahead.

Although it does come, the day of arrival is truly bitter sweet. In what feels like the same physical gesture, you’re touching down as well as letting go. There are forces outside both of your control and after a momentary elevation, there’s nothing to land on but this cold hard truth. Against the odds you managed to find one another… But they are ultimately not in your favour.

In a blink that would lose a shooting star you find yourself alone again. But this time you’re left disoriented and off-course. The situation has a familiar sting, but it’s been so long. You don’t recall the way back.

There is a contradictory climate of emotions. The rainfall comes. Anger swells over the fact that you should have know better. It all feels so unfair. That after so much patience, not even a little longer was deserved.

Although you don’t claim to understand them, you curse the very workings of the universe. But this kind of tension and heaviness never lasts. After all, you’re designed to survive and adapt. And to most importantly, heal.

You start to soften. Your limbs spread lifelessly as your breaths slowly start to creep towards the most desolate parts of your being. You surrender and another force takes ahold: time.

The dust starts to settle. The first rays of a smile break through and a realisation dawns…

Mars wasn’t the place to call home, but she got close enough to make me feel less alone for a moment. To gift a glimpse of what’s possible. And to remind me of the truth that I myself am also a glowing beacon of red light in the shared, yet cold and isolating, vastness of outer space.

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