I stand under the street lamp on Spadina Avenue, staring up at the moon over the CN Tower, all lit up in red for the weekend’s Santa Parade. The Beck Taxi pulls up and the driver greets me warmly.
“Archana – that sounds like an Indian name.”
“Yes, my parents are from Bangalore. Where are you from?”
“Pakistan – Lahore.” I wait for some unspecified tension to dissipate, but instead, “There’s a game show on OMNI TV and the host is Archana Puran Singh. It is a beautiful name.” We exchange further pleasantries, comparing our years in this country (me, 9, him, 35). We share an aversion to the cold (“joint pain”) and a love of Niagara Falls (“the holiday lights are spectacular”).
Then we fall into an easy silence for the long ride to the airport. Staring at the glass towers that have spread along Lakeshore Boulevard like the ice crystals along the car window, I suddenly miss my parents and I think he does too.
Out of nowhere, he says, “Have you heard about that town in China that has its own moon? It charges itself by the sun. They don’t even need streetlights anymore.” I make a mental note to look that up, knowing I’ll probably forget.
As he drops me off, he hauls my suitcase out of the trunk, sets it on the curb, and stretches his arms up to the sky, “In the future, Archana, maybe every town will have its own moon. Isn’t that amazing?” And with that, he turns away, the fog of his breath dissolving into the frosty air as I wave from the sidewalk.
Later, seated at the Mill Street pub in Terminal 1, I scroll through my iPhone for information about the new moon over Chengdu. I learn that massive mirrors will soon unfurl across a tiny patch of space, redirecting the sun upon the glimmering Silk Road city each night, eight times as bright as the real moon. I drink my coffee and picture all of us transformed into a pearl necklace of spot-lit ant colonies under a celestial magnifying glass.
My gut twinges as I picture the babies of the future swaddled in nurseries halfway around the world, staring in wonder at fake moons and starry mobiles revolving overhead. Soon enough, those silver-foil satellites will cross gently in the night sky, leaving us without even the moon to share anymore.
Archana Sridhar is a South Asian poet and university administrator living in Toronto. A graduate of Harvard Law School and a former Fulbright Scholar, Archana’s work has been featured in The Brown Orient, The /tƐmz/ Review, Sidereal Magazine, The Puritan and elsewhere.
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