This is a story that I wrote for the “Reflections” competition, which is held in schools around the US through the PTSA. The theme this year was “Let Your Imagination Fly” and I wrote a short story using this theme (though now that I think about it, it didn’t really fit the theme, but it’s fine).
I hope you enjoy it.
When Amy was seven years old, she wanted to be a superhero.
The cape, the alter ego, the foiling of the villains’ schemes: she wanted all of that.
(And maybe she could also save them.)
But when Amy grew up, when Amy turned eight,
She realized, she realized.
But there are other ways to fly, she thought to herself, there are other ways of getting them back.
And Amy turned her face upwards to where the glowing pinpricks of light should have been.
You know how most people remember the first time they see snow?
Those downy white puffs that slowly drift downwards at an angle, coating the world with white.
You know how people see it and suddenly, their lives are changed?
She is not one of those people.
Snow doesn’t matter to her (it is inconsequential because it will always melt away).
No, Amy, Amy remembers the first time she sees the stars (the stars never leave, not entirely).
Far, far away from the artificial lights,
They were sprinkled in the sky.
And the inky blackness curled around them, cradling them gently, protecting them, knowing how precious they were to her.
She had never actually seen the stars because the lights outshone them, she had only seen them in pictures or on television.
Where Amy lives, in the city, she cannot escape the light pollution, the light pollution which snuffs them out.
Blinded by neon lights and car headlights and taillights and skyscraper lights and traffic lights she was.
Holding the memory next to her heart, she guarded and cultivated the little seed.
I am going to see the stars one day.
While her friends were blinded by the human stars
With their gleaming, solid walls of teeth and the flashing bursts their background,
Amy’s mind, Amy’s being was– and still is– full of galaxies.
I will see the stars. I will see my parents again.
The road to the cosmos is difficult.
She almost breaks under the burden of no and disapproving glances and discrimination and you can’t do it, what are you thinking and you have no chance at all.
There are moments sometimes when she feels that her head is above the clouds, but her feet are still stuck in the cement and concrete sidewalks of an impersonal city, and she feels far away from her goal.
But she takes her small steps, knowing that one day she will achieve her giant leap.
The stars understand her.
They were always there, watching and supporting Amy from above.
And today, she is ready.
She was chosen.
Giddily, three, two, one, blast off.
Flying away, ever closer.
She steps outside of safety into the blackness.
Except it isn’t just black.
It’s so much more; it’s more than she could have ever dreamed of.
It exceeds the limits of her imagination: her imaginings didn’t do the stars justice, not at all.
Liquid light everywhere, and the fabric of space unwinds before her.
Hello, Mom and Dad. I’ve missed you. So, so much.
Welcome home, Amy, welcome home.
She finally knows where she belongs.