Author: Janaya Young

In space, hyper lanes operate like traffic lanes but with one important difference: you aren’t entirely in one place or another while traveling through them. Most people can’t tell. Maybe you feel a slight shudder of the ship, or for a moment you look down and your hand is not where you thought it was. But then it’s back and you think you must have just blinked or imagined things or had too much of the ship-generated food. With so many ships moving that quickly it becomes impossible to calculate, to avoid collisions. When you’re going that fast everything becomes fuzzy and soft, like it’s forgotten it used to be solid and that it liked being solid and everything decides to have a go at being intangible. But then your ship slows, and your body, right down to the teeth, remembers that it liked being solid and snaps back to what it was.

Sister and I like watching the ships pass in the hyper lanes. You can’t see it with just your eye, of course. You have to look through the special windows they have at the station. You can adjust the settings and slowly, slowly the hyper lane comes into focus. Blurs of blue and red. And then blurry outlines of things that just might be ships but all strung out and see through. Sometimes we’ll take a picture, and we’ll zoom in on that moment of frozen time and we’ll try to find the funniest thing we can see. Sister always thinks it’s funny to find people in the shower, with water going through them instead of running over them. Or when they’re in bed and just a mess of limbs and flesh and funny faces.

Though I like best when people are working, when there’s no line between what a person is and what they are doing. Today I saw an engineer with blinking lights on his arms, binary code in his eyes and wires coming out of his fingers. I saw a botanist’s leg become the root of a Ficus and for a moment if she could be aware of it, I wondered if she could self-reproduce just like a plant could. But then it all went back to normal, and the ship skipped away, and mother came in and started screaming about what’s appropriate for little girls to do. I know I will never see those exact people again, but I wonder if they know, if part of their atoms remember that they aren’t as solid or as separate as they think they are.