Science Fiction Romance epistolary emails

Dear Penelope

By Jenny Rae Rappaport
Mar 16, 2020 · 769 words · 3 minutes

Visit to Basel Zoo

Photo by Clara Cordero via Unsplash.

From the author: Starfish, a spaceship journey, and e-mails.


Dear Pen,

Please don't forget to take the starfish out of the freezer. I know that you're probably busy with the kids, but you know how much they love the Harlequin shrimp. How much I love them. How hard it was to leave behind my pets. If you have any feelings left for me, please remember to feed the starfish to the shrimp. I'll e-mail again once we're past Mars tomorrow.

Still in love with you,

Fred

Dear Penelope,

Of course, it was harder for me to leave the kids than the shrimp. Do you think I'm a monster? Don't answer that.

You knew this might happen; we've always known this might happen. Since before Zack was born, when I signed up for the training program in the first place. We just didn't know that I'd be chosen. Don't pretend that you wanted me to stick around after everything that happened.

Kiss the kids for me.

Love,

Fred

Dear Penelope,

I'm sending the kids some pictures from the ship--shots of the Earth, the asteroid belt, and Jupiter as we approach it.

Yes, I'm enjoying my work here; I'm surprised you even care. I'm getting better measurements in deep space than I ever could have on Earth.

I'm not angry that you're seeing someone--weren't you dying to have revenge sex, you said? It's not like I was a particularly good husband.

Love,

Fred

Dear Penelope,

I am deeply saddened to hear about the death of the shrimp. Yes, it was fine to bury them in the backyard. Yes, I know that I would have missed their natural lifespan anyway. No, you don't have to remind me that I'm going to miss the kids growing up; I can't wallow in what I can't control. Don't forget bedtime kisses from me. By the way, I don't need a constant update of who you're sleeping with, okay?

Fred

Dear Penelope,

It was one affair. Will you please let it go? What do you expect me to do? Sprout wings and suddenly fly back several million miles to apologize yet again?

Fred

Penelope,

I was being facetious in my last e-mail. There is no return trip. You know that. Give the kids my love, please. Saturn's rings are amazing close up, just in case you were wondering.

Fred

Penelope,

If you had regrets about me leaving, you really should have voiced them two years ago. I get that you were angry. But hon, I can't come back.

Fred

Penelope,

I think you would like Neptune--there's something about the planet that reminds me of that vacation we went on, back before the kids were born. Do you remember how much you liked snorkeling in the Caribbean, and the ocean was that turquoise shade of blue? And you kept laughing about the fact that you had never seen so many fish? I keep thinking about that. Tell the kids that middle school will be a blast.

Fred

Dear Penelope,

I'm glad to hear that the new shrimp are settling in to the aquarium. It's hard for me to imagine the kids being old enough to take care of it by themselves. Yes, they do like fresh starfish better than frozen. It was a good vacation, wasn't it?

Fred

Dear Penelope,

No, there is no easy way out of this. If there was, I wouldn't be 4.67 billion miles away. If we had fought less--if we had talked everything out--if we had both been less stupid. And yes, we were stupid, both of us. I stare at the numbers around me, and the stars and I think that yes, I was very stupid. I'm never going to see Zack and Maddy grow up, am I? Jesus Christ, I was so stupid.

Love,

Fred

Dear Penelope,

You do realize that I'm stuck on the equivalent of a tin can, and the potential dating pool here is close to nonexistent? I'm happy for you--Dylan sounds like a good guy. But even if you've gotten a second chance at love, you can't realistically expect that to happen for me. Send me the wedding pictures, okay?

Love,

Fred

 Dear Pen,

Of course, I still miss the shrimp. I miss the damn aquarium, I miss the starfish in the freezer, and I miss you. I miss the kids more than you will ever imagine. I even miss Dylan. But just think, at least you won't have to bury me in the backyard, when I die. Give the new baby a kiss for me.

Always loving you,

Fred

 

 

 

 


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Jenny Rae Rappaport

Jenny Rae Rappaport writes both science fiction and fantasy stories, occasionally with a dash of romance.