Where the Spirit Goes
Harry stepped out into the winter’s evening to take his regular constitutional up the garden path.
“Ay, but ‘tis a beautiful night,” he said, taking a deep breath and smelling the frost in the air. He paused to glance up into the cloudless sky, abundant with brilliant stars and sickle moon.
He remembered the story on the news. That bloke that played Captain Kirk had really gone into space. “I’m surprised ‘e didn’t snuff it,” he muttered, “Only ‘bout three year younger ‘n me. Lucky beggar.”
Harry had dreamt of going into space. Instead he’d ended up in the ground. He carefully shambled back towards the house, noticing a glint of evening frost on the path. He wasn’t ready to go back in yet, so perched down on the doorstep, feeling the chill as he leaned back against the door jamb.
With a rustle, the familiar black and white face of the neighbour’s collie poked through the privet hedge.
“Ay up, Bob.” The dog trotted over to him. “Mebbe if I’d been an actor, ‘stead of going down pit all them years, I coulda gone t’ moon.”
He looked wistfully into the beautiful night sky, sighed, and closed his eyes, Bob settling into his side.
Harry thought he’d dropped off to sleep and was dreaming when he found himself drifting up towards the moon. He stopped, a surreal moment, when he turned back towards the ground and saw himself sitting on the step with Bob.
“Oh,” he said, “Is this what ‘tis t’ die?”
He felt as though he was poised on a pinnacle and had a choice to make. He could go back to his body and his life, but those stars were just so beautiful. He smiled when he imagined himself swinging his legs from that crescent moon. And he’d been so lonely since his Mable died six years ago.
His choice made, he continued to drift towards those breathtaking stars and, as he passed through Earth’s atmosphere and saw the universe in its truest glory, Harry knew that he’d finally come home to the place he belonged.