“Where in the world did you find this?”

“If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.”

“Try me.” Her eyes were welling up with tears. It was his present to her.
He knew exactly what to get her. There was only one. She knew almost
instantly what it was. There’s no way. It was a record to add to her
collection. No way. She was a vinyl collector, a firm believer in failed
formats. She had some antique vinyl cylinders, 8-track tapes and players,
Beta tapes, LaserDiscs, MiniDiscs, VHS, anything that could hold audio and
video. Vinyl was her favorite. She had complete discographies on vinyl.
Creates and creates full, all perfectly organized. But all she could keep
thinking was, my god how in the hell did he get this?

There wasn’t a scratch on it. Pure, and as mint as the day it was forged.
There was no album sleeve, just a gold record.

Not just any gold record they give away to bands or artists that sell
enough and move enough units to warrant it. Not a meaningless symbol of
recorded sales of a dying industry. But a symbol of humanity, an effort to
capture what life was like on a pale blue dot in a far-off solar system.

“The Sounds of Earth,” it read on one side, and on the other, symbols
etched in on how to decode and play the record, as well as clues to its

That’s when he had to tell her the truth.

She asks again, “Where in the world did you find this?” And that’s just it.
It wasn’t of this world. It was the most distant man-made object, and it’s
what brought him here, to her. Out of the billions and billions of people
on Earth, and out of the trillions and trillions of planets and stars, it
brought him just to her.

He did what any human would do-he lied.

“I had it made. I did some research. Made some calls. It’s completely 100%
accurate. It’s a reproduction.” No reproduction could ever be this good.

The story of the gold record: Launched into the farthest reaches of the
galaxy by NASA on Voyager 1 in 1977. Encoded on it were images and music to
hopefully be found and transcribed by another intelligent life-form. A
one-way long-distance call, to anyone who wanted to see or hear us. Images
from all over Earth: animals, mountains, valleys, insects, and of us,
humans. Music as varied as classical to indigenous tribal songs to rock and
roll and the blues.

* * *

“This is real.” She knows. “I had it tested.” She knows it’s not a replica.
“What are you?”

From the outside of the solar system, and what feels like an eternity and
light years of travel to get here, he manages to tell her the only answer
he could think of, “Your Love.”