The com crackled closed and the voyager let the long sigh escape. As the stress of preflight, take-off, trajectory calculations, and congratulatory messages from his coworkers on earth faded into an inky blackness, he finally remembered once again why he kept coming out here.
The stars silently swirled around him, surrounding his tiny ship, blinking and beckoning him onward from their distant homes incalculable fathoms below, above, and around him. He could fall lightyears in any direction. But he just drifted, dignified and humbled, an imperceptible, improbable dot amidst a sea of dots unimagineably more powerful than he all liberally scattered across the vast, vast expanse. And everything was silent.
“They don’t know,” he thought to himself. None of those people who criticized his choice of a job, those who called him foolish, those who compared his life to Elton John’s Rocket Man, none of them knew the most important part about space: “It’s all in color.” Every color imaginable and otherwise paraded itself throughout the universe. And the voyager was the lone human observer. It was only for him.
He drifted. He pushed his seat back from the small dashboard and watched as nothing happened very slowly. And yet everything was happening. He was watching more happening than any human alive. Though they remained perfectly fixed in their alloted spaces, the stars alligned themselves into geometric shapes and spirals, dancing constanly around in the darkness. There was no orchestra, no drumline, no theatrics. Just the simple sound of the stars singing.
The voyager closed his eyes and waited for the sleep to come. He would soon awake at his destination. That short moment between signing off and sleep, though, is the one moment that kept him coming out year after year. Some might consider his life tedious or lonely, but he knew that as long as he was able to fly this tiny ship out here, he would be the luckiest man alive. He smiled as he slipped into sleep with the familiar words on his lips: “I think it’s gonna be a long, long time.”