Author : Fred Coppersmith

He calls her beautiful but he doesn’t mean it. He is in love with someone else.

He feels his hand stroke his wife’s back, hears himself whisper I love you, you know that, go back to sleep. He rolls over on his side towards the window. Through the half-opened blinds he can see the moon, full and round and orange, in the night sky.

He thinks of her, the woman in his dreams, waiting at the station, eyeing the watch he gave her as a birthday present. He imagines her there, waiting for the shuttle that will take her to Tranquility. She will be going on holiday to visit her mother. She has talked of almost nothing else for several weeks. The gray lunar mountains are just visible through the opaque shielding behind her, and the Earth, if she can see it at all, will hardly register: just another gray speck in the sky. No one lives there anymore where she comes from.

He feels himself fall asleep then, and when he wakes he does not tell his wife about the dreams. He does not tell her about the Earth, dead for centuries, or about the woman he is meeting at the station on the surface of the moon. He does not tell his wife how beautiful this other woman is, or how this world has become more and more like a dream. She would laugh, and then he would have to smile and say, you’re right, of course, I was only joking, what’s for breakfast? He would have to say, you know you’re the only one. He would have to say he loves her.

And he is growing tired of the lie.

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