“Where she always is, Father,” Samm said. “Out on the boulder, staring off into space.”
“Still,” Mother said. “How long is she going to pine for that boy?”
Father shrugged. “The heart wants what the heart wants.”
“Oh,” Mother said, “so your heart wanted me?”
Father smiled fondly at her. “I’ll go talk to her. Samm, round up your other brothers and sisters for dinner.”
Father walked out of the house and toward his heartsick eldest child. She reclined on the big red boulder and looked into the darkening sky. He stood next to her in silence for a while.
“Do you think he’s ever coming back, Father?”
He pretended to ponder the question. “You never know what might happen, Daughter. But … you know a place like this can’t hold him. Not even with your boundless love. He’s got to be off doing whatever it is he’s doing. And your place is here.”
Lornia’s heart broke again because she knew her father was right.
“I know it’s hard,” he said, “but the sooner you can accept the way things are, the sooner you quit looking for him to come back, the easier it will be on you.” He kissed her cheek. “Come in for dinner.”
“I’ll be in soon, Father.”
As he walked back toward the house, he heard her singing; it was the same song she had sung to the young man she loved on their last day together.
“From this valley they say you are leaving.
“We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile.
“But remember the Mariner Valley,
“And the Martian who loved you so true.”