Holidays and vacation made her nervous. Her everyday routine was gone and someone else dictated when and where she would be. She felt untethered.
“You spend all your time working,” he said. “All your time in charge. Let someone take care of you for a little bit.”
Because he was her friend, she agreed to it. She wasn’t upset or anything. Just nervous. What would happen while she was gone? What if everything fell apart?
She opened her eyes when she felt the ship pull into orbit. She had let him control everything. It was only for a little bit. She was tired.
“Remember the time we saw those pictures of the Aurora Borealis?” he asked her.
He opened up the filters. “This isn’t like that at all.”
And when she saw what true colours could be like in space, the nervousness was gone. She was untethered, she was free. She had no regrets in the world.
Where Morissa lived you couldn’t just see the stars. One would see the galaxies. They spun out of control, but in a size that no one could see anything but the swarm of colours that scientists still struggled to name.
Morissa climbed up to her roof (with her suit, of course, she wasn’t an idiot) and lay up there to stare at them. She had come up with her own descriptions for the galaxies. There was something that couldn’t be caught with photography. There was no way to share this vision with anywhere else in the universe. One would just have to be here. Morissa couldn’t explain it. Even though she had named the colours according to her own wants.
Somewhere inside her cousins were asleep, but that was all right. None of them would come out to the roof. Probably from choice, but there was also the fact that they were still growing and none of them had suits that fit right. They wouldn’t be able to come up here safely until they had stopped growing so much.
So Morissa would look at the galaxies. And knew that one day, one day soon, she would be going there.
She wondered what this place looked like from there.
Spirals of lights are kind of nice, but with
peonies underfoot and a lot of
air between here and there, between me and the
cyathea over there, and it’s hard to think about
Earth’s position in entirety when I’m sleepy.
It was a one way trip.
He couldn’t wait. He grasped his pack to his chest, awaiting the moment he would be suited up. This was all he had left, but that was fine. There was nothing more for him here and this was his dream.
The sky was blue. It would be the last time he would ever see a blue sky. Maybe he would miss that a little. But it would be worth it.
His name was called. With that, he stepped up to prepare for his trip into space.
“Maddy? What’s that?”
They looked at their child and then at the direction they pointed at. “They’re replacing parts of the air filtration on the ship. Those people are carrying the parts to do it.”
The child nodded as they both watched the labor force work quickly and efficiently to move the machinery through the crowd to wherever it was they were taking it to. They normally didn’t mind seeing this, it was always nice to know that repairs on the ship were being made immediately, but at the same time… They wondered how many times lately they had seen new parts for air conditioning. Not only in the ship’s city center, but down on the forest level, the business quarter, and even near their own apartment. They hoped it meant upgrades and not a sudden failure of all the systems.
“Maddy? Where is the air filtration?”
“Everywhere. You know there is no air outside of the ship walls. We have to create everything we need in here.”
As if that answered all questions in the known universe, their child nodded resolutely. “Okay.”
They took their child’s hand and continued to walk through the crowd, suddenly wondering if living here was safe.
The key was in E♭ minor. A chipped nail caught on the guitar string and a muttered curse escaped her lips. Looking up from her hands, she stared out the viewing window and into space. They had passed by the last contrails of the Little Ghost Nebula, off to the next destination of wherever it was the station would end up. She did not know. All she knew how to do was play guitar. She tried again, moving the angle of her finger to use the best part of her nail. She had lost her last pick last week, but refused to let that stop her.
Occasionally someone passed by. Even rarer than that, someone might drop some change in the cup she had placed out near her foot. She continued to play her song, trying to remember how it ended. That was the difficult part. She could play forever if she couldn’t remember how a song ended, but she refused to cut out in the middle. Someone could hear that, even she she didn’t see anyone nearby.
Whether today ended as a financial success or not didn’t matter as much as remember how the song ended. She continued to play, changing the song into another, hoping that the ending of one of them would come back to her. Eventually it would and she could check to see how she was doing and whether it was time to call it quits. The time was 0149. The lighting remained the same here, but she could see the clock from the corner of her eye if she turned her head. Either her song would end or the cleaners would shoo her away. She had to remember the end of the song – of any of the songs.
When she did, finally ending the longest session in months, she picked up her cup and went to get some sleep.