snow fall on a silent day
covering the ground in a suburb
and walking through the thin frost covering the dormant life below
under a grey sky
the same color as your heart in that moment
driving through the empty streets at midnight
watching the sleeping world pass by you
through your darkened window
illuminated by stoplights as your father drives
taking your unknowingly last steps in the train yard by your house
listening to the train horns in the distance
and making empty statements about running away
and your father says, “go ahead”
but you don’t move
because there’s no way that you can leave your whole life behind
at a whim
A few hours later, I was shoved by Emma and Maxine into the little spaceship, which apparently was as wide as two normal-size bathtubs side-by-side and as long as two of them… half of which was taken up by the thick windowless walls and whatever equipment the walls were lined with.
“Emma?” I piped up, backing myself up into a corner and noticing that they were attempting to pick up Constance so that they could slide him in too. “You know, when NASA sends people into space, they have actual rockets with safety precautions built in to protect the people against the extreme gravity caused by the ride up and the extreme heat from the rockets… they don’t have a barrel-shaped thing lined with fluffy carpet and shoe boxes. And I looked in one of the boxes- it’s labeled ‘anti-gravity control’- and it’s just a bunch of facial tissues crumpled up and shoved in.” They didn’t respond, of course, being that Constance was too busy wriggling around with their awkward position of holding him, trying to slide him in without getting anything sliced on the hastily-cut hole where the door would later be sealed. “Are you being careful with him? I don’t think he’ll like being in here as well-”
“Nah, I’m fine,” he replied, a bit flustered a moment later by his sudden drop into the body of the rocket, right next to me. “I’m fine, I swear…”
“You better be.” Emma and Maxine effortlessly slid in right then, closing the door behind them and flicking on the row of cheap Christmas lights that had been hanging from the ceiling. “Are we all ready?”
“Ready for what? There’s no way we’re going to break the atmosphere and survive, much less get off the driveway.”
“This rocket isn’t powered by rockets…” Emma gave Maxine a sly look, the look that I assumed meant that they were about to do something really stupid. Which they were, in fact, trying to do. “It’s powered by delusion. It’s incredibly powerful, you see, causing almost every war in human history and a lot of strife around the world from people who think that they’re somehow working for the greater good when they’re actually depriving fellow human beings of their rights.”
“Are we ready?” Maxine was bent over the controls of the rocket, which were actually just cardboard tubes glued to leftover puff balls.
“Yeah, I think we’re almost ready.”
“Okay.” She turned around, pointing to the corner by the one I was currently leaned up against. “Constance, I’m going to need you to sit over there.” When he was done moving, she added, “and May, I need you to sit on his lap.”
“You. On his lap. We’re all going to squish in. It’ll make the delusion transformer work better.”
“So, wait, Maxine, you mean to tell me that this-” I waved my hands frantically at the little pod-capsule-thingy, which was barely big enough to fit maybe two people inside it, let alone four people and enough stuff to support life for how ever long it would take to carry said lives to wherever the planet Zorphia was- “this crap thing that looks like a reused trash can kicked into its side with one end pointy and a tiny door just barely big enough for me to fit into is going to take us to the moon or whatever?”
“Actually,” Emma interrupted, kicking the crap spaceship that she had parked onto my driveway without permission from anybody except herself, “we’ve got the actual spaceship at our house, and it’s a bit bigger than this one.”
“You know, a few cubic meters bigger. It’s not a lot trip, really, just going through a few black holes-”
“That are a tad painful-” Maxine interjected.
“Excuse me, Maxine, I was talking. The trip is basically just getting out of the atmosphere and then warping through a few holes in the fabric of space to cover the millions of miles that we’d otherwise be traversing without any supplies at all.”
And of course, just as Emma was reaching her peak point of not making any sense at all, she then added, almost as an afterthought, “and I assume you and Constance are going to be sitting next to each other…”
In what must be only one little splotch in Emma’s and Maxine’s streak of bad ideas, they proposed the idea to us of going up to Zorphia tomorrow so that they didn’t have to worry about their families possibly getting hurt by the rogue zorphs going around on raids and scouting missions and the like. And, of course, they insisted that we come with them, because apparently I’m not allowed to be more than a few miles away from them. First that one trip Up North, then Girl Scout Camp, then this… I mean, what part am I supposed to play in the civil war, if it ends up escalating that far? Useless girl sitting on the sidelines?
Constance, of course, didn’t hesitate as much as previously thought, it being that he was probably still feeling kind of guilty over the unmentionable events of last Thursday.
a soldier on the front lines is brave
a child coming out to their parents is brave
an activist standing up for the rights of the oppressed is brave
someone going into a war-torn place to care for the people there is brave
a spouse leaving their abuser and getting help is brave
a person questioning everything they’ve ever been told is brave