For whom my heart beats
So Alexander Vandenberg dedicated his first best-seller, Frontier 31. A book that made him a household name to many science fiction fans around the globe. Oh what a happy day it was when all the reviews praised his work to high heaven. He saw a dream come true that he had since he was a child. Finally he would be able to live from the work he loved doing.
Ever since Alexander was young, he had always loved stories, both telling and hearing them. His imagination never ceased to run wild with ideas of that which lied beyond the stars, in worlds far beyond this one. Outer space like star wars or fantastical like middle-earth. It was a passion for him. But to one day add to that legacy, to put his own worlds to page and be read by many, was a dream he had thought unimaginable. Even when he held his degree in his hands, he had known his chances to be slim. So many authors tried and failed and the competition was fierce.
But he had made it, and it was all because of her. His Camila, who had supported him always. She never failed to make him laugh, and he loved her so dearly. Joyous Camila, who brought him back to the stars from inspirationless black holes. She loved telling stories as well. She and him would often work up several short stories, which she would tell tell to the children of the primary school she worked at.
Success sweltered ever more when the second part of his trilogy came about, labelled Tyrantsbane. But it was not just success for which Alexander’s sun rose. His life revolved around his wife and new-born daughter even more. All seemed amazing, but not everywhere where the sun shone it was truly bright. After the birth of their daughter, Camila darkened. It was simple at first. A lack of energy, a lack of inspiration and the like. And soon mood swings started to develop. Alas, such things happened. She would be over it soon enough.
Whose soul shines brightly amongst the stars
And for Rosie
Who keeps my heart beating“
So he dedicated The return of the sun, the final part of the trilogy, which was released when Rosie was just three years old. Later than expected, to be sure. However, it was rather well understood when you had to undo the noose from which your wife’s body hung lifelessly only two years earlier. Regardless of the wealth and fame his success wrought, everything felt meaningless then. It was so incomprehensible at that time, and so it still feels today. What must’ve been going through his wife’s head until then? The thoughts wreaked his mind on many sleepless nights that followed for months to come. Luckily there was plenty of family, his parents and Camila’s both, and friends who helped him through these times of darkness, them and years of therapy. If only Camila could’ve been helped the same. Oh, gods why.
But even when time doesn’t truly mend all wounds, it does move on relentlessly. And nobody is left behind in its remorseless wake. Five years and four books later has made his success greater than ever. And he watched his daughter grow up into a little person he can truly be proud of, raised by him with much family help. Oh, how proud her mother must be, looking down from the heavens (or so he hoped, he wasn’t much of a believer). Alexander could also not ignore the years that passed, and the feelings that came with it. That soft longing for companionship that slowly started to creep up onto his shoulder and whispered into his ear.
And so he did slowly try to get into the search, as difficult as it was with work and child. And so perhaps a vacation was in order. All it took was a quick call to his parents and one call to United at Heart. A vacation that might allow him to move on, if he allowed himself to.