• Vol. 08
  • Chapter 10

Becoming an Astronaut

The astronomy class was in the alleys of the shopping district. It stood yellow under the blue sky with cobwebs of thunderclouds that cleared out every night. That was the summer after fifth grade – full of the intrigue and mysteries of the skies. The constellations shone like the rare colorless arils in a pomegranate and not the familiar pink crystals.

That was the summer of lunar eclipses and the transit of Venus. I helped build a telescope and a dream that year of becoming an astronaut. I spent the next couple of years coaxing rivers of names, Europa, Io, and Centauri, into the mind. The party in the head was a lavish banquet unto knowledge. But, like wayward tomatoes and melons that fall of vegetable wagons, I soon started forgetting the names during the dramedy of adolescence.

I forgot that I wanted to be an astronaut. The yearning for spacesuits was replaced by a longing for fancy boots after Mother’s passing. I wore two buns in my hair, symbolic of my dilemma: the excitement to touch the moon and my desire to trace the Earth with my fingers, traveling to deserts and cold mountains.

The sky today is draped with layers of cumulonimbus clouds and swathes of thick cloth-like smog.

My telescope’s dusty now.

I feel the stars ignoring me like the sun ignores the needs of melting ice cream. I think the stars have changed their coordinates to escape being seen – it is as if they are more displeased with me than Mother for reneging on my promised dream.