Ghost in the Sky
Nothing ever touches Brenda’s feet.
She wants to remember what it feels like, but she can’t, not with her bones wasted away. She can’t remember the feeling of wind to cheek; fish curry to lips; grassy fields to eyes. Now, all she ever sees are stars.
The blue and green planet becomes smaller and smaller. One viewing window will never be enough.
Brenda wants to feel heavy.
Home was trees and grass and air you could breathe. It was picnics with the kids and golf on Sundays. It was the smell of fresh rain. It was seeing Maggie at the grocery store. “You’ve got to get me that gnocchi recipe,” the old woman would say. “Craig’s been begging me for days!”
But Maggie’s voice, just like the voice of Brenda’s son, her husband, her colleagues, fades into silence. There’s no sound here, save for a steady beeping of the oxygen filters. When Brenda closes her eyes, she could swear it’s the ticking of her grandfather clock.
Brenda doesn’t like the on-board food.
The little cubes look like dog food. Dogs. Did she have one of those? It might’ve been a Labrador.
Weren’t there other animals, too?
Brenda waits for something that may never come.
She yearns to again hear the hopeful words, “It’s temporary. We’ll be back soon. We’re fixing this mess.”
Brenda’s room, with its stale walls and heavy air, shrinks with each year that passes.
How long now?