An Astronaut and a Star – The 8th of September 2005 – Plainview, Texas

(found by the ship, in the dirt, by the bush with the green flower)

Harriet,

I want you to imagine that you’re a spaceman. You’re one of those astronauts that they’ve chosen – somehow – to get into a rocket and fly through the galaxy. You don’t have the slightest idea where you’re going. You only know that there’s a whole, great, big, wide universe out there, and it’s damn near impossible to comprehend. You only know that, wherever you end up, you’re probably never going to feel what it’s like to be outside this damn spacesuit or outside this damn spaceship.

So you spend all this time in space. It’s lonely inside your suit, inside your ship, with the darkness of all of the universe around you – just around you, really, and not doing much else of note or importance – and it gets quite boring after even just a few minutes or a few hours or a few days or whatever. Then, far off, you see a star. You press your face against the porthole of the ship, and you stare at the orb as it floats off in the distance – floating, really, except doing an incredible amount more than that – and suddenly the entire journey means something or matters or makes sense or something like that. Even though you press your face against the glass, even though the warmth that you feel – that starlight soft against your cheek – still seems to linger, even though you savor every second of that sight, it all goes away just a bit too quickly.

Because now you’re falling down to this planet. You’re trapped in its gravity, and you can’t get out of it, and the weight of it – your helplessness, I mean – is squeezing every part of you tighter and tighter with every second. And now you’re about to crash down on this planet. You’re screaming through the sky, and the wind is clawing at the bolts and the rivets of your steel tube, and you’re sure – absolutely sure, I mean – that nothing could have gone worse. A smile comes to your face – a true smile, I mean – because all the while, while you’re hurtling to your death, the face of that bright star is right in the front of your mind, and – in those last moments – it’s that star, not the fire of your ship’s explosion, that warms your face.

It’s a dream, anyway.

Brent

 

Check out more great posts inspire by the Tanka-themed Weekly Challenge here:

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