This story from E.C. Meyers weaves together complicated family relationships, social media, and exploration with characters who will grab hold of your heart and take you to the stars.
~ Julian Yap, April 17, 2022
Hello from Tomorrow
“That hot guy at the bar is totally checking you out,” Samira says softly.
“Jealous?” Ash doesn’t look up from her phone. She rereads the tweet she’s been revising for five minutes.
@Huimang-Rover, my mother insists that you aren’t real. She says you’re just a bored intern pretending to be communicating from space: “More artificial than intelligent. Even if it’s what he claimed it is, it’ll end up as another broken promise. Such a waste.” Sorry, she’s still a little bitter!
Her best friend laughs. “You had your chance.”
“Long ago. You don’t believe in second chances?” Ash peeks at the bar, but the two men perched there have eyes only for each other.
“Made you look.” Samira raises her glass. She sees it’s empty and gestures for another cocktail. Her radiant brown skin is already flushed, her green eyes bright. “Everyone deserves a second chance. But FYI, paying more attention to your phone than me isn’t the way to my heart.”
Ash sends the tweet and places her phone beside her untouched margarita. “Sorry.” She presses her hands together. “You have my full attention for the rest of the night. Promise.”
She expects the rover won’t respond for at least twenty minutes anyway. Perhaps longer. Intergalactic communication is tricky.
So is regular communication, she thinks, swirling the melting ice in her glass with a tiny straw.
Ash’s phone buzzes. She locks eyes with Samira.
“Ash . . .” Samira says warningly.
The number on the screen begins with 82-42: the country code for South Korea, Daejeon province. She reaches for her phone at the same time Samira does.
Ash beats her to it. “I have to take this!”
The last call she received from Korea had been a stranger who told her that her father had died. His death had been unexpected—by everyone but him.
Before that, he’d called Ash from Korea every Wednesday night at the same time, during his lunch break. “Hello from tomorrow!” Appa would say when she answered. His little joke about the thirteen-hour time difference.
She had grown tired of the shtick, but now she would give anything to hear Appa say it again.
Ash accepts the call. “Annyeonghaseyo,” she says automatically.
The woman replies in English, sparing her from explaining that she only speaks a smattering of Korean. “Good evening. Is this Ashlyn Seong?”
“I am calling from KARI. The Korean—”
“—Aerospace Research Institute. I know.”
Samira’s eyebrows shoot up. Then she helps herself to Ash’s drink.
“Of course. We must talk with you about Huimang,” the woman says.
“Oh shit,” Ash says. “Is this about my tweets?”