Why Does Earth Sparkle So Much?
I don’t know why, to find someone maybe? It’s beyond explanation how it found its way into my bag but then, he’s always been good at things like that. He loved it so much I had to keep it.
‘Why did they call the Earth, Earth?’ he asks for the nth time.
‘I don’t know,’ I answer, appraising the new addition and wondering if maybe I’d paid for it after all, searching for the receipt.
‘See,’ he says placing it on the table. ‘It looks like me.’
I nod, thumbing through my bag, through old appointment cards and charts. I nod again, thinking, I wish it didn’t and I can’t find the receipt.
He positions the living room lamp over the robot, leans in close and whispers, ‘This is your sun now.’
Later, head cushioned and aimed for the skylight, he says, ‘I don’t want to sleep. I want to check the stars.’ He asks me, as he does each night. ‘Why does Earth sparkle so much?’ I indulge him. We trace our fingers across the sky drawing patterns only he understands.
In the still hours, I listen above the clunk of taxi doors and footsteps arriving and wait for his mechanical wheeze. I let myself drift. Most nights I fall asleep with the words to a song in my head. The joyful song I heard the night he landed. Over the years the music faded and I’m left now with the symbols stamped, like branding, on aluminium containers hidden in the storage I keep locked away. Somewhere where the locks age closed, so one day there’ll be no opening them and inside, preserved, some of the intricate things you need to find a life.
Steven Moss lives in Manchester, UK. His work is published in the Bath Flash Fiction Anthology, To Carry Her Home and the NFFD Anthology 2017, Sleep Is A Beautiful Colour. He also appears online at places such as National Flash, 101 Words and Ad Hoc Fiction. Best Small Fictions 2016 Nominee. Web: www.stevenrmoss.co.uk Twitter: @steven_r_moss
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