Author: David Broz

I knew the stars would fall, and they did.

I watched from the observation deck as the midnight sky slowly brightened, burning with orange streaks, brighter than the hottest day, and I watched as the stars came crashing down.

Down through the dome that held our farm, down they came. Down again, bursting the water tower. Again and again the distant thumping of the stars, punching through years of dust and deep into the solid bedrock of the moon. Plumes like silent mushrooms grew.

I thought of you as the heavens rained down streaks of orange fire. Once we had burned hot like this, I thought, when you were here for a cycle, when we blazed bright like the sun, lighting up this moon all by ourselves.

Mine were the hands you needed to fix your ship. And so I put my hands to work, and you put your hands on my hands, your touch slowing me as I went, keeping me with you longer. And I fixed your ship, and she became flightworthy again.

Mine were the shoulders you needed for heavy lifting, to empty the holds and lighten your ship, so that it could break free from orbit again some day. You put your hands upon my arm as I carried it all, not sharing the burden, but leaning into me, and I bore your weight as well.

Mine were the ears you needed in the dark of the darkest nights, when the earth’s shadow hid us from the light of day, and cries and silence were all we had. And you put your hands over your ears, and you did not hear me, while I listened for us both.

And all along, you looked past me. You looked through me and past me, not gazing into my eyes but beyond them. I now know the difference, but I did not know it then.

You love me, you say. Your apology echoes faintly through the station, between the thumps of the falling stars. You thank me for everything, but you won’t be coming back to save me.