New planet, new me.
‘New planet, new me,’ she said to herself and unsealed a hatch. Gamma-2564 was going to be great; the best place to keep New Years resolutions: no oxygen atmosphere to have a fag, and in low gravity she was few stone lighter, no people, no temptations, nothing to ruin her resolve. She was done with the old, more than ready for a brand new start. She checked again her air, power supply, and wireless connectivity, and jumped out of the landing craft.
‘What on Mars are you doing here?’
‘I was just passing by,’ said a man in a gold spacesuit leaning against grey rocks.
‘Yeah, right.’ Rita could feel her cheeks blushing and an information screen inside her helmet displayed acceleration in her heart rate.
‘Don’t say you’re not happy to see me.’ He lifted the starlight protective glass and smiled with just the right corner of his mouth.
A red message flashed on Rita’s display: ‘Warning! Chris Hannagan detected. Warning! He never bought you flowers.’ With a double tap she dismissed the alarm.
‘Seriously, what are you doing here, Chris?’
‘The question is why you are here all alone, sweetie.’
‘I’m not alone. Tix is with me.’ Hearing its name the landing vehicle moved, stood up, stretched out its antennae and took few steps towards them.
‘You and your toys, Rita. You haven’t changed.’
‘Tix is not a toy, it’s integrated with my personal computer. I programmed the whole operating system.’ She dismissed another couple of messages on her display – ‘he never respected your work’, ‘remember the cousin Arnie’s birthday party?’, ‘your mom was right about him’.
‘Anything wrong with your helmet, hun? You keep tapping it. You know we could always share the oxygen. I love to hear you breathing.’
Her mind took her back to their first night on Jupiter station, but her preprogrammed XBDDS (ex-boyfriends’ danger detection system) reminded her that he snored and sometimes farted inside his spacesuit. That had cooled her down a little and she replied:
‘I love breathing by myself, thank you.’
‘Listen, it wasn’t easy to track you down. I know I behaved like an idiot at the party. I know I’m not perfect. I just want to say I’m sorry and please can you give me one last chance?’
Computer listed the dates of all the ‘last chances’ and how long they lasted. Tix extended long, mechanical arms and awaited the signal.
‘No, you know it’s too late now.’ She turned around and her robot relaxed.
‘I love you, Rita.’ He put his hand on her shoulder. Her heart stopped. Then resumed in a manic rhythm, flushing her body with heat. XBDDS added the beeping signal to another list of how much better she was without him. Obviously, he had never remembered her birthday, couldn’t boil an egg, set the alarm clock too late for anything, and the computer wouldn’t even mention his mother. Despite all of that she found herself turning towards him. Then Tix raised up, picked the tiny man by his head and tossed him into the outer space. The XBDDS worked perfectly.