Author: Luke Saldanha
I feel a rattling and distant heat; the final storm is brewing. Yet I lie here in the grass, full of optimism.
Enthralled, I gazed at the sky. Auntie taught me the constellations and planets as a child; I loved to stargaze and had done so countless times. But it felt better to behold the heavens now more than ever before in my 8,395 days in the World. The term ‘world’ is deemed relative, and ‘Earth’ described the actual planet, but I referred to the ‘World’ when talking about the ‘Earth’ because I was always in my own world anyhow.
Auntie was a schoolteacher and hobbyist astronomer; she took me under her wing. My parents were dead and my ‘confidence issue’ prevented me from making friends; the friendship with my Aunt was a significant one. My only one.
She found it refreshing, the interest I took. Her kids, extroverts with hectic social lives, didn’t care about the stars. That drove her to teach me more. But then Auntie was gone. I was alone. Before the flare, I’d been isolated six years, with nothing to live for but the buds of light above. I wanted more. I wanted people.
I am pinned back against the grass. The sky reddens with the first visuals of the eruption.
One evening, I arrived home from school, tears streaming. “What’s the matter, Max?” Auntie probed. “The kids are laughing again. What’s wrong with me?” She said nothing, walked out and began setting up the telescope on the dark lawn. Her heart was good, but what I really needed, she could not give me.
I will skip into the flames, and frolic in the embargo. Stick your gaseous tongue out, slurp on the vitals that lie on the warpath.
I was always a loner by force, by fate. Once the children discovered my face turned blue when embarrassed, they were keen for my constant humiliation. This led to hatred of them and I isolated myself.
As an adult, I existed on society’s outskirts, unable to be anything; over these years, my anxiety worsened. I was at the full mercy of my genetic affliction.
Streaks of green, purple and brown stain the heavens. The heat is rapidly intensifying.
Auntie left me the telescope in her will. Setting it up the first time, I found a note rolled up inside the tube:
You are a Plutonian refugee. A storm on Pluto sent its populous fleeing across the solar system. Many of them died. But a few made it to Earth. I adopted you as a baby. I wanted you to assimilate, therefore I hid the truth. But it didn’t work, and by then I didn’t know how to tell you. Nothing is wrong with you. You are from a different world. Fare well in your life, little one.
I seethed, reading that note. Kindness could make people so careless. Where were these others like me? I was ready to leave the World; I was not afraid.
Perhaps I’d reunite with my people. A disaster for mankind was for me a hopeful portal. I melted with the burning World and yearned for somewhere better. My wish has been granted. Now I dance with Pluto’s fallen sons.
The burning grew harsher, yet I felt at peace to be receiving the final astrological experience. The sun scorched man’s home with extreme but wonderful prejudice; the firm hand of a tired lover, the partner of whom has broken that final straw, and sent me hopefully, blindly wandering into the dark.