Friday, August 30, 2013

The ships

"Do you think they're looking back and wondering how we're doing?" Jane Jane asked.

"Doubt it," I said. It was just like making off with some trinket prize. You grasp it tightly in your hand and run as fast as you can, never looking back. "Bet they're pushing Jupiter by now."

The fire was nearly dead, but it was so hot for a late summer night that we didn't want to heap additional wood on it, let alone move. Fast winds brought sweet relief, like gentle hands from above parting the clouds so stars could smile down and give us kisses goodnight. Jane Jane traced constellations with her fingers. I watched her watch the world above as the breeze tossed my hair.

"Will they ever return?"

"Doubt that too."

Why would Bobby come all the way back to say hello if he couldn't be bothered to say goodbye? The ships launched in a hurry when the skyfire came. I went down into the bunkers with everyone else. Bobby never showed. Afterward, I was told that we waited down there for nearly a month, but I honestly couldn't tell you how long it was because I spent half the time in a daze of fevered worry. When I came out of it, they were all gone and we were all that remained.

"Once you light out, you don't come back," I said. "Why the fuck would you come back here, anyway?"

Jane Jane grunted languidly, neither in agreement or dissent. Her family was entirely Earth-bound, so I didn't expect her to exactly empathize.

"Jupiter," she said, pointing a finger to a flickering white dot in the Northern horizon. "Gorgeous."

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