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  • Writer's pictureThe Fake Guru

The Boy, the Stars and the Earthquake (or: The Satellite Mechanic - Part I)

Updated: Dec 6, 2021

HE WASN’T QUITE SURE WHERE THEY WERE, but he knew they were somewhere in California. His parents had told him that they’d stopped between Vancouver and Seattle. It made no difference. All he knew was that the sun had gone down, and the blue American sky had been pushed out, replaced by a glittering sheet of magical darkness.

In the green field beside him lay his brother and cousin, both older by several years. No words were spoken, and nothing needed to be said, for they had all become bewitched – as one easily does at that age – by the mesmerizing constellations of the night-time sky. The stars twinkled distantly.

Never in his life had he seen them so brilliantly on display and he could not quite understand the enchantment that drew in his gaze. He’d been told that he should try to count them, and he tried. But it was impossible. There were too many. And they seemed to shift, sparkling in the sky. Suddenly, one would shine brighter than its neighbor – but when he tried to focus on it, it appeared the same as just before. He would reach out to grab it – but his hand would return to earth, empty. Occasionally, one would streak through the heavens above, leaving a trail of blazing light. Then, in a heartbeat, it would vanish, swallowed by deep space. Somewhere in the back of his mind he started to understand that the universe would stretch on forever and that, in the smallest way, he was part of it. He lay there, watching it expand. It pulsated and breathed – a living being in and of itself; and he learned that perhaps it wasn’t meant to be completely understood and that it might be better that way.

They lay there absorbed, for minutes or for hours, he couldn’t tell. Later, they would be roused by the anxious voices of his parents.

“Are you ok?” they would ask. “Did you feel it?”

Feel what? He had felt something, but he knew it would be impossible to put it into words. He also wasn’t sure it was the same thing they were asking about.

“The earthquake! Did you feel the earthquake?”

While he had traversed the Cosmos, the earth had shaken.

But he had not felt it.


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