Requiem

A character in my workshop story is a fan of D. D. Harriman, for purposes that become more clear as the story progresses. Anyway, I was doing some brainstorming tonight, some mind-mapping (since the writing really wasn’t working) and I decided to go back and read Robert Heinlein’s story "Requiem", in which Harriman is the main character. I read the story only once, way back in October 1997. But it was one of the more memorable Heinlein stories I’ve read. Tonight I read it again, with it’s brilliant, touching ending:

He sat very quietly, rubbing his hands against the soil of the Moon and sensing the curiously light pressure of his body against the ground.  At long last there was peace in his heart.  His hurts had ceased to pain him.  He was where he had longed to be–he had followed his need.  Over the western horizon hung the Earth at last quarter, a green-blue giant moon.  Overhead, the Sun shone down from a black and starry sky.  And underneath the Moon, the soil of the Moon itself.  He was on the Moon!

He lay back while a bath of content flowed over him like a tide at flood, and soaked to his very marrow.

His attention strayed momentarily, and he thought once again that his name was called.  Silly, he thought, I’m getting old–my mind wanders

–"Requiem", Robert A. Heinlein, 1940

Maybe one day, I’ll be able to write like that.