The Stars In Her Eyes – A Collaboration

the radio sounded and caused him to jump
bursts of static came into the capsule
broken words from home
unable…
rescue…
sorry
thank you for your service

all he could make out as he drifted towards the dark side again
the oxygen indicator beeped again
low levels
he wouldn’t make it into the light again
not alive
he reached up to where her picture is taped above the console
above and below subjective at best
the asteroid came from out of nowhere
god flicking marbles out in space
his fingers on her face
he remembered seeing her for the first time

when the call came in,
‘there’s been an accident’
her world, so large, suddenly became
small, still, quiet
he said he’d give her the moon
he just had to get there first
and oh how she believed him
they were eight then but
twenty years gone and she still
saw the stars in his eyes
laundry on the line
wind whipped, sun bleached
but all she saw was his face when he’d said
‘goodbye, I’m getting that moon for you, baby’

she was a scruffy little tomboy
knees covered in scabs
but she always carried her astronaut action figure
everywhere she went
he was dragged along
her unwitting captive
he was not impressed
but she was new to the neighborhood and his mom said he had to play with her
and except for training
they haven’t spent more than a few days apart since
and now
is it cold here
now he is floating
so far away from her
staring at the thing he would have lassoed from the sky for her
their inside joke
his only unkept promise
that little girl
with her action figure
the one she traded in for him
was all he could see
in an ocean of stars
she still shined the brightest

her world began and ended with him
as a child she knew what she wanted from life
she’d marry a smart boy who adored her
she’d fly amongst the stars
he would live and breathe for her
she was meant to be an astronaut, could feel it
though her heavy glasses wore divots on her nose
she didn’t care

dad said she could be whatever she wanted
dreams don’t care if your socks match
or your mom lives with you or your hair is combed
the world was her playground, the stars her home

‘he’ll have just enough time to
hear one last message
maybe two’
and her heart tore

david bowie played in his head
they would sit together in her treehouse
she would play major tom on repeat
he hated bowie
but he loved her
even then
so he listened to her sing
put pins in the star chart on the wall
tell him all about the planets
he wondered if she knew
he hoped she didn’t
couldn’t stand the idea of hurt on her face
she’d be furious
demand the impossible
there is nothing you can’t accomplish
not if your heart’s in it
she’d be screaming there is a way
and there isn’t
if he could go back in time
relive it all again
he wouldn’t change a thing
she was the greatest thing in the giant universe
the only thing
everything he ever did was to see her smile
and now
with ice forming on the windows
he knew he had failed
failed her
he just wanted her dreams to be reality

he held her tightly
when the rejection letter came
no longer a gawky child, her teenage years waning
apparently dad was wrong though
there are rules to dreams
and being nearly blind means
you can’t actually be an astronaut
she cried and cried

she wondered if the stars were clearer
viewing them from the inky black
she wondered what stars really looked like so
he sat beside her and held her hand
and he promised her the moon
as he promised her his heart
as he promised her he’d live her dreams for her

and that very night they promised each other
their bodies, minds, and souls forever

‘baby, I love you
how you lived my heart’s desire
will you tell me, can you please
are they any brighter from where you see?
is the moon any crisper, clearer?’
and her heart wept

her words echoed in the capsule
tears seemed to freeze on his cheeks
he hit record
‘remember that night in montana
we laid in the back of my truck
and we swore we’d never seen so many stars in the sky
it’s like that but times infinity
but it isn’t the same
without your head in the crook of my arm
without you telling me their names
they are just lights in the cold

all the wonders of the universe are nothing
nothing at all
if I can’t share them with you
the moon is how you told me
ugly and gray with bad acne
you said it reminded you of me freshmen year
remember that
did you know I loved you then
you with your braces and coke bottle lens
me with my acne and squeaky voice
did you know
my eyes could never lie to you
you’d love it out here my dear
it’s everything you ever said and more
but it isn’t home with you
so it’s the second most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen
and that scabby kneed little girl
I didn’t know it then
I was so blind
but she was then
and is now
the stars and the moon to me
I love you’

he hit send as the tears floated around him

in a moment that stretched to the end of her days
she realized with a start and a sigh
everything
everything he said, everything he did
all he was had been for her
a thousand moments came into sharp focus
for a woman whose eyes would never
have done the same
how every day had been an
‘I love you’
that she was losing him today
that she was losing everything
every single thing, today
and to her knees she fell, those scarred up knees
tears smudging those far off stars

‘thank you’ she whispered
‘you’ve always been the best part of me
my moon and my stars
my beginning, my end
we’ll be together soon, my love’
and as the transmission sputtered to an end
so did the light in her eyes

he was fully out of range now
spinning absently through nothingness
hisses and cracks the only sound
short panicked breaths
he tried to calm himself
he pulled down her picture
put it inside his helmet
made sure it was facing out the gold coated visor
‘wait til you see this’
and ejected himself into space
he pushed
trying to take her with him to see the millions of diamonds glimmering
it became impossible to differentiate the black haze at the edge of his vision and space itself
but he was calm
he’d had it all
and now he floated
and stretched out his hand
knowing she couldn’t take it and squeeze three times
their code
I love you
but he squeezed three times anyway hoping against hope
somewhere she felt it
‘and all of this I give to you’
and as his labored breathing stopped
he was floating
smiling
in that last maybe
they were in montana
this was just a dream
and they had their entire lives together to live
and as the light left his eyes
now just reflections of space
his last attempt to make her dream come true
her picture
drifting endlessly
surrounded by stars


©️mike ennenbach & tara caribou – 2018

I’ll be honest here, I was crying like a baby as we worked on this one. I hope you all enjoy. It was such a humbling experience to work with Mike again.

4 thoughts on “The Stars In Her Eyes – A Collaboration

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