Twinkle, twinkle little star,
A star in the sky.An exploding star.So terrible is the evil that hides in beauty.Neighborhoods stood still and reveled in it, eyes tantalized by the little sphere of light that disturbed the thick night sky--a crack in the heavens.Every few seconds, the prismatic mass would swell, and then draw back in on itself, as if gasping; it had its own pulse.And then--
And then the dust fell.
How I wonder what you are.
For a long time, all people saw was the star.It was a painfully human quality, this obsession with light, even in a time when light was deceiving.The same parents who stood in wonderment that silver-tinted evening, eyes taking in the colors but not the chemical reactions that took place behind them, regarded their children in the that manner; they were blinded by the radiance of their smiles, the twinkling of their eyes, and failed to see the dull of their skin and the weakness of their limbs--the chemical reactions that were occurring within their own sons and daughters.
It took months for medicine to realize that there was something wrong.By then, death had outnumbered the vaccines; the disease had won over the cure.
It was Earth.Their very own Earth.And, the defeat of their children shaking the starlight from their eyes, the parents saw their planet for what it was:damaged, lost, a maiden turned to stone.Earth was losing her children.Her light.Earth was no longer home.
Up above the sky so high,
Akin to the designs atop one's fingertips, parental instinct is written into one's heart and mind the second life is given to them.Just like a fingerprint, this instinct can be both fatal and a great remedy.For the owners of Citizen Fifty Eight, it was the latter.Subtle, like the lines that make up a finger print, the instinct prompted the mother to slacken the muscles in her arms and open the spaces between her fingers just enough for her newborn to be taken away.
In the hands of the astronaut, the infant glimpsed the sky for the first time.Littered with stars, space sparkled like silk.He blinked, touching a thumb to his mouth, quickly removing it when laughter, mixed with a series of syllables his tongue tasted for the first time, spilled from his lips.In the eyes of his mother and father, out of his line of sight, was also a star.In their eyes, reflected with his thumb by his lips, was Citizen Fifty Eight.Hope.
Like a diamond in the sky,
Earth was a diamond.He knew.He just knew.It was grey and cloudy now, but soon, the adults on Earth would rid it of its dust and reveal the jewel underneath.He just knew.
He fell asleep with Earth doing a ballerina act outside his window.His dreams took him closer, to a land the color of gems--sapphire, jade, ruby; to a place the creators of the universe had decided to color, unlike the ashen surface of the moon.
Before dreams, there came stories.At twenty hours, nighttime--although night and day didn't really matter on the moon, Surrogate Fifty Eight would read him stories.Stories about all the volcanoes, oceans, brave adults and strange creatures that resided on Earth.Stories that would cease to be stories just a few thousand miles away."One day," said Surrogate Fifty Eight, "when you're old enough, you'll take a spaceship back and you can meet your real parents."
"But you are my real parent."
Surrogate Fifty Eight simply smiled, shifting the features on her face into an expression of complacency."Sleep, young one."
Twinkle, twinkle little star,
"Are we really leaving?" he held his books close to his chest, as if, in this final step from moon to Earth, from lost to found, his heart had become alien and forgotten its home.
"You're leaving, Citizen Fifty Eight.I am staying here."
"Why can't you come with me?You're my mother."Her skin, her eyes, her voice.His mother.
"I am not your mother.Your mother is on Earth, and she belongs there.I do not.I was not made for your world--only you."
The boy made some distance toward the ship, then turned, his face consumed by desperation."Mom!"He stood his place as thousands of others, Citizens, streamed past him into the large mouth of the ship.
"Surrogate.Surrogate Fifty Eight.Not Mother.Return to Earth and feel its touch.You will know then that my touch is not real.See its light, and realize for the first time how insincere the light that shines in my eyes truly is."
"They can get my eyes right, they can get the temperature of my skin, the curve of my smile, but they can't get my heart.It will never be like yours.You are human.A beautiful creature.Cherish the gift.Find others."
"Goodbye."He felt, with bitterness, the tears in his eyes and the soreness in his heart that was too stubborn to accept the fact that his mother's wasn't feeling the same thing."But I'm human."
How I wonder what you are.
"They can never get my heart completely right."
As the ship drew closer to landing, and the picture of Earth narrowed into forests and mountains outside the cabin windows, he thought of Surrogate Fifty Eight for one last time.He thought about her, sitting on a bed that used to be his in the house on the moon, smiling her perfect smile and staring out the window at Earth with her bronze eyes.Just like him.Except, she wasn't feeling the loneliness he was feeling.She wouldn't miss him.
He'd miss her and her eyes and her stories and the way her hair was tucked to the side, but only in the back of his mind now, because he missed the Earth he was approaching far more.That first contact.That first touch.
His real mother.
"In a sense, each of us is an island.In another sense, however, we are all one.For though islands appear separate, and may even be situated at great distances from one another, they are only extrusions of the same planet, Earth."
- J. Donald Walters
© Copyright 2016 Diana Christina. All rights reserved.
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