A girl is walking down a hallway. She is stared at, scoffed at. She looks down and keeps walking, raven-feather hair falling over her face. At least it's the last day of school before winter, she thinks. A boy walking past shouts,
"Hey! What are you doing out in the day?" The girl has learned to ignore them. They never get worse than words. She walks through the stares.
The girl walks quietly home. Her mother isn't home. As usual. She sighs and curls up with a book.
Meanwhile, a long way away, a young man in his early twenties is preparing to get on a starship headed for Epsilon Eridani.
When I come back, he thinks, 21 years will have passed on Earth, while I'm only a few years older. I guess this is why tourists usually turn into immigrants. He doesn't have time for more philosophizing; the ship is boarding now. My home for the next three subjective years, he thinks, settling into his room. The cabins were set in a great rotating wheel, providing an equivalent to gravity and preventing muscle atrophy. The ship took off, heading for a distant world spinning around a glowing dot. A storm of perspective is set off in his head as he sees his world shrink into a blue paisley marble set in soft black velvet, with a faint blue halo around it. I know it's corny, but the Universe is so much bigger than anyone thinks. He's soon asleep.