Author: Steve Smith, Staff Writer
I look out the viewport to the crushing void of space.
It doesn’t feel real. I don’t feel connected to any of this, out here alone amidst all this nothing.
“Put all the weight on the balls of your feet and press them into the floor,” advice from an old teacher. “It’s impossible not to remain present when you’re focused on feeling the floor. It will help center you in the moment.”
I shift my weight forward, but instead of the floor, I’m pulled back into a distant memory.
Shadow coloured stones crushed and scattered under sneakers. Our passage unheard, we had slipped silently across the rooftop expanse to its eastern face. Lumbering ventilation units dotted the rooftop at intervals, drinking heat from the spaces below to exhale in great humid sighs. These were the only sounds to disturb the pre-morning air. There were no bird songs, no passing craft, no murmuring undercurrent of peripheral lives.
It was the silence before the break of day.
The two of us sat, silent, legs dangling into space from the parapet, the last of the previous night’s beer in hand, each of us absently slaking the thirst neither of us felt anymore.
It’s not the night’s antics that made this moment memorable, indeed I don’t remember anymore what we did that night. I barely remember the rising of the sun itself, though I’m sure as always it was worth the wait.
The memory, rather, is of two unlikely friends sharing the last moment we’d know together, in silence, waiting for the sun to rise and give us permission to leave one another, to go to our separate futures.
It is those few moments, that shared time of solitude so exquisitely inscribed upon which I now reflect. A time remarkable in its clarity, plucked from a sea of murky memories, of happenings that have long since faded from view.
I blink and she’s gone, as the rooftop is gone, replaced with the gnawing emptiness.
What I wouldn’t give for one more morning like that, for one more rising of any sun.
Umpteen billions of dollars/pounds/rubles to build, and launch, a spaceship … and they forget the curtains … 😉 Jocularity aside, I do suspect that ‘void sickness’ could very well be a thing encountered, a sort of homesickness on steroids, evidenced by losing oneself in memories, just like this.
Haha! Nice! 🙂 All the psych profiling in the world can’t predict exactly what’s going to happen to someone out there in the vast emptiness of space.
Oh, that’s good.
Wonderfully understated and I too also love how you structured the story to leave the reader with a taste of this great gnawing emptiness. Very cool.
Thanks very much!
Moving and poetic with excellent imagery throughout. By the end, the readers themselves feel the “crushing void.”