The Death of an Astronaut

The Death of an Astronaut

by Tuere T. S. Ganges

I witnessed the death of an astronaut in a Wal-Mart parking lot. The sky was as deep, dark, and blue as the ocean it reflected with scattered stars that looked like twinkling jacks careless cherubs left outside.

I clutched a 24-pack of soft white toilet paper, looking for my car, when a little brown-skin boy in a striped polo shirt walked by, his finger looped around a stainless steel bar of his mother’s shopping cart. His feet bounced off the asphalt as though his shoes could hear the song in his heart. The mother’s voice was soft as a lullaby. “And what did you do at your dad’s last night?”

“We just looked at the stars,” he sang and pointed up, his feet skipped past discarded candy wrappers and wrinkled receipts. “It was awesome!”

My mind danced, thinking about constellations and all of the science awards the boy would have in his future. I wondered if he had a telescope and tried to remember which aisle I’d seen them in so I could suggest they buy one.

“Hmm,” the mother said. “That’s just like him. Cheap and stupid. Couldn’t he take you to the movies?”

The little boy’s chest caved in. His shoulders rose and sunk with one heaving shrug. “I don’t know.” His heels touched the ground, feet no longer reacting to playful, imaginary springs. He’d crash-landed mid-step, no longer a dreamer, but a small man wondering how he’d fallen into a child’s body.

– refers from the phrase “own blue sky” in  Walking into the Wynn, Las Vegas, and You Are Stitched Into by Rose Hunter

  1. oh. Oooh. I read this in the evening, and by the time I’d finished, the sky had turned dark.

  2. It’s like it knew! 🙂

  3. This is a powerful story. And I love that it is short. It’s got me praying not to kill anything in anyone today. Thank you Tuere!

  4. What a poignant story, a DIY manual on how to crush a child’s dreams, how to sow doubt in a relationship.

  5. Yes, very powerful indeed. A great example of flash fiction.

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