Saturday 6 June 2020

'Moon Watching' by Regan Puckett

The astronaut is napping in his spaceship. It isn’t really a spaceship, not yet, with its sharp edges and weak base, pieces of scrap metal pasted together like an elementary school art project, but one day, it will be. His wife let him keep it in the garage for a while, back when the structure was a mere sketch hanging on the wall and a pile of bolts on his desk, but it grew too real and she made him move it to the backyard.

What will the neighbors think? He’d asked, nerves blossoming in his stomach.

She’d smiled, shook her head as she yanked her sleeves above her elbows, and began to carry it outside.

I’m going to take you to space one day, he promised. We’ll waltz on Venus and drink tea on Mars.

She stared at the hunks of junk in a way that made him think she believed him, in a way that made him want to believe in himself, too.

Now, he’s fallen asleep inside of his someday ship with a rusted wrench tucked in his fingers, with dreams of faraway galaxies and cherry pie. The dying sun rays lick his skin as the hot August afternoon melts into a breezy evening. Soon enough, the stars will emerge, and his wife will crawl into the spaceship beside him. He’ll trace the constellations of freckles that spot her arms as she folds her body into his. And when the cicadas begin to sing, they’ll watch the moon bloom through the metal slots above their heads, dream of what it will one day feel like to watch the earth instead.

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