Monday, June 16, 2014

Stars: A Rude Awakening

I saw stars most nights when I sped through the galaxies at full speed on a magic spaceship. Only I didn’t really see them, I imagined it. In fact I couldn’t see a damn thing. I was not allowed out of the cabin – which was pitch black - under any circumstances as it may have resulted in death. I got thrills from my journeys in space. I got butterflies in my stomach and felt dizzy. The spaceship was captained by my sister. It was her bed. My sister had supernatural powers, she could fly her bed to space. I was younger than her, and devoid of supernatural powers. My bed would not budge, no matter what. And so I had to be smuggled on board and kept in strict hiding. To prepare for flight my sister bundled me from head to toe in blankets and rolled me, under the covers, right down to the foot of her bed. Next she would add a eiderdown reinforcement for extra safety. Once I was securely squashed between the hospital corners and bedding she would ask me: “Can you see the bunnies?” We had a bunny rabbit print wallpaper in our room. Lots of big fluffy grey rabbits on a bright floral background. Sister would reinforce the bedding until even the smallest speck of the wallpaper vanished into darkness, then we were ready for take-off. The excitement was such that the physical discomfort of my condition went unfelt. As our ship journeyed through the universe’s hundred billion Galaxies Sister would report along the way, we swooped and swayed our way through the spiral Milky Way as stars exploded all around us. We dodged balls of fire, Venus and Mars, got snowed on by stardust and flew by the rings of Saturn. We crossed cosmic voids and distant constellations. I had the time of my life, while almost suffocating in the roly-poly padding. We repeated this about once a week for quite a long time until one night something happened in mid-flight; while Sister was reporting her kaleidoscopic visions of the universe, I could see something and it wasn’t a star. Through a small gap in the bedding I could just make out, what looked to me, to be a bunny in a bed of marigolds. Yes, there was no doubt, even in the moonlight shadow it was clearly he. Sister continued to narrate with fervour and all I could see was the silhouette of that ungainly, motionless bunny fixed to our bedroom wall. I was devastated, deluded and uncomfortable beyond belief, but I didn’t say a word. I never told my sister that I discovered the truth. I never journeyed to space with her again either. I am still waiting to re-encounter stars.

Marcia Caines

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