Gertrude and Anatoli
December 21, 2315
Somewhere Near the ruins of Cherry Hill, Federated Union of North America
I write to you knowing that in all probability, you will never lay eyes on this letter. The ion storms coursing overhead leave streaks of lighting as piercing blue as your eyes and as breathtakingly beautiful as your face, and they too imprison me in a state I may never escape. Long have I regretted the actions I took that allowed The Event to separate us, and my guilt is only assuaged by the fact that I was able to love you, and you me, for what time we had together.
I write to you because I learned something today that shows, in clear terms, how nothing changes in this world. Carlos Tocci is the Phillies’ eighth-best prospect. Civilizations have risen and fallen, the Moon revolves around the Earth and the hoverships glide lazily from here to there, and Carlos Tocci is still 19 years old and slugging .280 in the low minors.
Oh, what I would give to lay eyes on you once more, to be able to undo what I have done, to turn back time, but that would be as impossible as Carlos Tocci turning 20 or advancing to AA. As Carlos Tocci being the Phillies’ eighth-best prospect has outlasted the Phillies, and baseball, and Philadelphia, so will my love for you outlast the both of us, and the barrier that separates us, and humanity itself.
My sweet Gertrude, even though the flowers no longer bloom in the spring and the snow no longer falls on the silent wood in winter, my love for you blooms anew each morning. Even though I can no longer see the sun rise and fall as the days turn, I have faith that it rises and falls still, just as I have faith that even though I can no longer see you, you still love me, somewhere among the stars.
We were bound by nuclear forces once, you and I, and ever since we were blasted apart, I was doomed to decay slowly, steadily and alone. Maybe one day some magnificent act of God or man will see fit to bring us together. It would be as wondrous a sight as Carlos Tocci putting on weight and being able to fend off the inside fastball from older pitchers, but it would be as unlikely. For you and I are separated by light-years, and Carlos Tocci is the Phillies’ eighth-best prospect. I am without my beloved, and he is 19 years old and slugging .280 in the low minors. I remember a time before this was the case, but it feels so distant it must be a dream. In the truest corner of my soul, I know it has always been thus.
Gertrude, what a wondrous life we could have led together! If I could have it all back, not an hour would go by without me reminding you how beautiful you are. I miss the warmth of your voice, your kindness, and the faint scent of lavender you left behind whenever you were gone. If I could have it all back, I would praise you until you started to worry that I’d forgotten all the words that allowed me to do anything else, and I would remain by your side until Carlos Tocci left the Lakewood BlueClaws, which is to say, never.
But here I am, in this crumbled city on a broken world, as you soar through the stars. Recalling your memory leaves me stunned in place for a moment, as if I were struck by one of the bolts of plasma that would tear me apart if I attempted to escape. Sometimes I’m tempted to try, for dying a literal death would be momentary, as opposed to the eternal anguish I’m condemned to suffer for as long as I’m bereft of you. The cruelty and power of the universe are matched only by my own patience. I will endure, for I must.
If you receive this message, Gertrude, know that I’m still here waiting. I will love you for as long as Carlos Tocci is the Phillies’ eighth-best prospect, and we will be together again someday, and I will hold you in my arms. I know this to be true, as surely as Carlos Tocci is slugging .280 in the low minors.