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Our Star

She was suposed to be home hours ago, but the driveway is still empty. I pretend to wash dishes and look out into the night, the fog gathered close around the house like a damp embrace, my little red car, gleaming, broken down and covered in dew. Below somewhere is the sea. I move the dirty sponge around in circles at the bottom of a stained coffee mug. Behind me Daniel draws.

"Daddy," he says, and I turn, smiling, sort of, "Daddy, is it true?" My heart skitters in panic, and I think of a series of lame excuses. Is it possible that someone has talked things through in front of him, gossiped simply enough that a five year old would understand? But instead he holds up a drawing he made of our family, stick figures in a field, his mother with a halo of hair holding him close, and me beside, a yellow circle hovering above us, which he points to with a crayon. "Is it true about the sun? Ethan's brother told me so, he saw it in a book, about how it's going to run down and pop, like the light bulb in our garage did, and everything will be nighttime, always."

I think about black holes and smile wide, eyes flat, probably, but too far away for him to notice. "I wouldn't believe everything people say." He nods, satisfied, and returns to drawing, "I thought so. We're smarter than Ethan's brother anyway, and she loves us, doesn't she?" Hands submerged in soapy water again, I nod back. Outside, someone's headlights arc across the driveway. "Come on kid," I say, "It's bedtime."

Story by:

Emily Claire Beyda

27 July 2012

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