Prompt: I've been to nine planets in twelve years and it's starting to show.
I've been to nine planets in twelve years and it's starting to show. I'm a little gray around the temples now and far too thin for a man of 6'4", but looking at me you could hardly tell that my skin has become measurably thinner from the chemical exposure or that I've picked up a few infectious alien diseases in the course of my travels. No, it's starting to show on everyone else.
I saw my wife for the first time in twelve years yesterday. She looked twelve years older; her skin had begun to wrinkle, her hair had silvered. She looked at me as if she were seeing a ghost.
"You haven't changed," she told me. Her voice was bitter and strained.
My son, my twenty-five-year-old son, said the same. He was only thirteen when I left, but when I saw him he said I look exactly as he remembered. He sounded angry.
My parents died in a freak accident while I was away, somewhere between my sixth and seventh planets. My only brother refused to see me on my return and though he did not tell me why, I suspect it had everything to do with our parents' deaths.
I have not changed, but the same can not be said for everything I once knew.
Notes: For all those not familiar with the staples of sci-fi, this piece is based on the theory that if you travel at light speed (or faster) you won't experience normal aging.