Summer days at the equator of Mars get hot, but never too hot. It was like heaven, that weather. You were playing under the red clouds, kicking rocks, and from time to time, glancing at the direction of Earth — 35 million miles away.
There was nobody there, except a few other crew members, but they were in their own worlds, too. The silence of everything was not silence: it was an amplifier of the beauty of your voice. There were no expectations. We had left all those behind on Earth, and we had lost all connection with the noisy blue and green rock. Each moment was ours and ours alone to create, and create we did.
Like kids seeing faces in clouds, the whole planet became a canvas of open possibilities. The dust storms were transformed into angels dancing, the small specks of sand were beating hearts, and every boulder a living and breathing Buddha full of silent and talkative wisdom. We saw everything and more than everything. We could see seeing as the ultimate joy it was, a blessing that was capable of seeing the animation and love in everything.
Without anyone or anything to answer to, we were free. This freedom was endless, limitless, it was intoxicating. We got drunk on it every night. The spacesuits we wore, our only constraint. But even those were part of the intoxication, for after long days of hikes on the red planet, taking them off and retreating back into our human bodies just heightened our senses. Each time we’d peel away the space station of clothes, touch would feel like the first touch. A kiss would feel like the first kiss. The unveiling of artificial skin to our own human skin was an explosion of intimacy.
There was something to be explored every minute and we never wasted even a millisecond. A year was no different than a millisecond. There was so much time to waste, so all we did was waste away and, by any Earth standards, every day was wasteful for us. No job, no social roles, even the gender that separated us ceased. We were just beings being alive, and beings being in love. We were enmeshed, creating the ultimate harmony, the ultimate symmetry, a connection as primordial as an atom connecting with another atom.
We realized quickly, as the “days” passed on, that everything we had done on Earth was the true waste. The years we had not spent being beings in love were not even time, they were duration, nothing real, just the ticking of a clock. Here on Mars, love was the currency and we spent it richly, extravagantly, endlessly and infinitely.
How many blue sunsets have we watched here? We seem to have aged even though there was never a birthday, there was never an appointment, there was never an event.
Are we old?
Time has been progressing.
When did these wrinkles appear on your face?
When did your bones become too weak for our hikes?
When did your memory begin to slip? Do you recognize my face?
We are old.
Where are you going?
I’m not sure. Where are you going?
I will see you soon on the next planet.