The irony of it all wasn’t lost on him. Yet he didn’t feel the smallest drop of regret. The shiny nickel in the dark sky reminded him of the place he wished for peace and solace – just some indefinite time to spend all by himself, away from the business that plagued him every day.
In some way, he could see his current situation as the epitome his 30-something-years of life. He was farther away from the stimuli that had busied him than any human had before. His youth, years marked in towers of books read. His teen years, a blur of consoles, parentheses and cramp in his fingers. Most of his adult life spent on finding optimal solutions to heat dispersion on curved surfaces. So much input, so much being bothered by people, digits and letters, but he couldn’t help but feel that it all still had been his own choice. He could’ve quit things way earlier, but he wasn’t heartbroken over it.
He noticed that the nickel in the sky would soon become a dime – the pinprick behind it was becoming harder to discern by the minute. Immediately after the accident, he had tried to correct his course, but to little avail. He had only managed to stabilize his inevitable fall away from the lunar orbiting station so that he could gaze upon all of humanity. He had never been much of a poet, but with this kind of view, he found it hard to not fall back on clichés.
About fifteen more minutes, he calculated, then his awareness would start to fade. He could already feel it tugging at the edge of his mind, the sensation of oncoming sleep that would take him in without remorse. He had already made peace with the fact that this was the end of the line some time ago, but he didn’t mind the sensory deprivation for this last bout of the journey. He had thought back to his friends, his family, his work, his pastimes, his religious murmurings, his feelings about the meaning of life and his tiny place in the stage that was the universe. Rather than feeling sorry about everything he had not achieved or could have been better, he finally felt a soothing sense of calm, like a sea washing over him with slow, warm waves. Before letting the blanket of unconsciousness close over him, he thought to himself: “This moment is what I’ve been waiting for all along.”