Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer
The pendant dances slowly in the air currents, attached to one of the safety release handles on the top wall of the cockpit or what groundfolk would call a ‘ceiling’. It was given to me by my daughter before liftoff. She was four at the time. I’ll probably never see her again.
There are sixteen of these pendants around the ship. Different shapes and sizes and all from different colonies. All daughters. I wonder what the odds are on that? I should enter it into the computer later.
Little girls don’t have much imagination when it comes to giving gifts to a father from the stars. Their mothers don’t have much either, come to think of it. Outpost women see me as exotic and attractive just because I drive a truck through space. I’m grateful. I just wish the work schedule wouldn’t force me to leave and that relativistic speeds didn’t age them like fruit from my perspective as soon as I left.
The little girl who gave me the first of these pendants died centuries ago. The last one, Amanda, she’s probably seven now even though I only left her mom’s rock one month ago. I always toy with bringing them along on the trip but the truck’s cramped and it’s no place for a little kid or a family.
I tell them all I’ll be back. They all give me something to remember them by. I never see them again.
I don’t really understand the gifts. Stars are shaped like balls but each of these pendants has points on them. Some of them only have four or five points. The one with the most has sixteen, all wavy lines. Most basic science in these colonies tell the people there that stars are hot spheres yet the jewelry and icons all have points. Maybe it’s to represent the glitter that I don’t see up here with no atmosphere between me and the universe.
Knowing that most of my daughters have probably passed on makes these little metal stars into headstones in a way, but I try not to think about that.
I suppose it’s better than having a bunch of plain balls floating around the cabin.
I wonder why they’d give me a representation of something that I can see a million of out of my front windshield. The last thing I want to see is another star.
And yet I keep them.
There’s a whole constellation of daughters here in my lonely ship, looking at me silently as I float from room to room.
I’ve never seen a star-shaped star.
And they’ve never seen a father.