|Zooming in will help.|
When I looked up at four in the morning, eyes like razor blades in their sockets, back throbbing from bending over things that would earn it a pat, the clouds were so different. They did not form the Virgin Mary or swirl in hexagons, no; they were like wakes of ships crossing turbulent waters.
Not for the first time in my life, I stopped to look at the sky.
The clouds were grey. That was obvious. There were little slivers of blurry light glowing in brushstrokes across the unseen stars. I stood on the pavement like a statue, sleep-deprived and completely entranced. Only the moon could light congealed moisture from behind like that.
So I flew up, up, up. The wind sounds wonderful when it rushes by your ears. It is the whipping of a towel, the old lady who lost her cat last week striking her knee with freshly-washed clothes – altogether loud and quiet, it rumbles low, low, low. Cars still flow down bitumen veins at this hour. They’re not important though. None of them were. Not them, not the city flickering with pretend life in the distance – only the impenetrable sea above mattered. What do clouds feel like? Cotton? Mist? Water?
I’ll tell you what it felt like. It’s like that thing that waters the grass on football fields, the… sprinkler, I think it’s called. Yes, the sprinkler. When you stand at just the right spot, the sprinkler sprinkles up into the air and the water just turns into little, invisible droplets that feel like angels’ kisses. Like that, but with more risk of being struck by lightning. I was going way too fast to enjoy it, and before I knew it, they were left behind. Goodbye, angel kisses, hello, pitch black night.
Now, night is a lovely thing. Black is an absence of colour, but don’t forget: it’s also the presence of nothing. But nothing can’t be ‘present’! you say. What if nothing is a thing? It’s one, right? No-‘thing’! This nothing is where all of us came from, where life, dreams, hopes, death, your childhood crush, that one time you tripped and fell and cried, that one moment you realized that there was no one left in the entire world who cared about you; all of this came from nothing. We’ve been trying to comprehend this nothing for millennia. Gods and goddesses, myths and legends. At some point we stopped, though. Not sure why.
Still, when you look up at that nothing, that pure sheet of night just stretching out into forever, you can see the stars. If there was no ‘nothing’, there would be no stars, and the stars are beautiful pinpricks of light and hydrogen and cataclysmic energy because of the nothing behind them.
And the moon… it was huge. Maybe it was because I was so close. Each pockmark, each line in its wizened, hoary face failing to take away its magnificence, its shining beauty - once again, an eye, staring unblinkingly out from the expanse of nothing. At least, that was just a metaphor at first. There were more clouds above me in what would probably be non-breathable atmosphere, the strata... stratosphere, it was called the stratosphere. Didn't know it had clouds. Anyway, there was a forest of white, but most of it was covered in night except for the ones lit up by the moon, and those lit up by the moon also happened to be facing it rather than pointing at it, you know, like how when there's a flood the waters tend to hit hardest where whatever poor wall, car, sod, or beast was looking right at it rather than adjacent to it, but I'm getting carried away. The light did the thing that light does, so the clouds were glowing in a circular pattern, kind of what it'd look like if you were at the bottom of a really fluffy well and the moon was just staring down at you judgmentally instead of throwing a rope down or something. "You just want attention," it'd say. "You couldn't possibly want for anything else, so don't come to me with your made-up problems."
Ouch. Eyes: getting dry and itchy. They stop blinking when you're too tired to sleep, so the lids force themselves open and your brain just kinda goes along with it. I want to close them, I need to close them, but then this dream will end. This majestic view will turn back into the glaring laptop and the barking of dogs and the honking of cars and the rattling of air-conditioning and the hooting of assholes flapping their lips in the dead of the night because obviously they couldn't have held their drunken gathering any other time -
Back to the stars. I forgot to look at the stars. Five hours from now I will reconsider how I saw them in such detail and clarity and wonder if it was a flashback to half-remembered astronomy books and documentaries. Stars are colourful; stars can be blue, red, purple, orange, white - stars can blink because their light gets refracted all over the place on the way to my tiny pupils. They could be flashing like strobe lights already, being pulsars that spin like intergalactic lighthouses for passing schools of nebulae. All the light coming from things that have been dead aeons before mankind ascended from the sea as small, moist creatures. From our little grain of sand... No, our mote of dust... no, from our comparative atom of existence, our Sun is a grain of sand. The beach it is on, Existence, extends so far out to the edge of reality that really, we can only see what happened an obscenely long time ago because the light bouncing off what's happening at this very second hasn't reached us yet. Most of it won't, not until long after the Earth is a dead rock disintegrating in the dying Sun's arms. I like to relax on this beach and endure the treacherous dreams of my brain. It shows me scenes of children shot from behind while running for a safety that was never there. It mocks my deeply-held and oft-challenged faith that there is good in humanity. Some dreams are simply men and women in the street, up to their chests in filth, wading through them blindly while their children drown. My city and country and species has so many murderers, rapists, destroyers - it is brimming with the cruel, greedy, sadistic, arrogant, ignorant, foolish and mad, and I am one of them.
When you step back far enough, or close enough, the history of humanity is pockmarked and stained with the actions of these... humans. It is a disservice to call them beasts. It takes away the responsibility, the capability from ourselves; yes, beasts can be cruel, unforgiving, but few of them have the luxury of choice. Even fewer want to scream and scream and scream and burn themselves up, destroying everything around them in that burst of light and energy. Collapse on themselves, becoming a black hole in reality, a spot of less-than-nothing upon a sheet of nothing. One over zero.
Don't want to go back down to the world. Don't want to. Want to stay up here and stare at the stars forever. Want to lay down on the bed of clouds, drink moisture, eat upper-atmospheric pollution, anything that isn't the dank and dirty cityworldreality we have to carve open a smile at every day. Why? Because we're weak, both of us are weak. One Science disgraces his namesake and doesn't even try to hold on to his compromises. Hates himself more than his own failures, and consequently doesn't fix them because he's too busy using that energy to hate himself. The other Science is so scared of the outside world she treats everyone like a predator; she's got an excuse, though, and it lies in years of corrective therapy and medicative treatment. Why bother with happiness, anyway? To be able to happy one has to be indifferent to the horrible things done to humanity, and when the streets seem clogged with scum and the corridors of power drip absolute malevolence, whatever left that's beautiful look like stars - shining pinpricks in a universe of the exact opposite. In fact, just like them, they die out eventually. Burning out to create the off chance that their remnants may spring forth something equally, if not more, unselfish in its motives. Give for the sake of giving. Love for the sake of loving. In a dream world, that blank sheet of space would be the good, the kind, the honourable; the dots in it would be the ugly, immediately standing out and burning away in their meaningless efforts.
But it's not. It's not. Science is dying.
I fall down, clouds shooting by again. So fast there wasn't enough time to taste them, but they would, most likely, taste like ozone or air conditioners that had been left on for too long. The moon and stars just kept staring down. They were big and far away enough that nothing that happened on our miserable little planet would perturb them in any way. And why should they be?
Jerked awake. Back of eyeballs re-enacting the Battle of Thermopylae, and losing. Computer screen gone into screen saver: a void of gray. I looked at the clock; the Sun rises in an hour.
The moon and stars were gone, covered by layers upon layers of distorted maroon clouds, undulating across their canvas blanket. It struck me that I'd only ever seen true night once. Once. The rest were blurry smears of city lights and headlamps, as if we were trying to outshine the sky with our pathetic glimmer. Besides, that one time, it was black as the... well, it was black. Really, truly black. No stars. Nothing.
I thought I understood then. Things like the meaning of life, some dumb philosophical-sounding quotes from books I'd skimmed. Childish, naive perspectives about how the world turned under our feet. I was wiser now. Which was nothing, really.
I dreamt of stars last night. In all honesty, I never returned.
Banner by after we won 's contest. Do check out their wonderful pages.
Hello. Thanks for visiting, even if it is by accident.
We like Warhammer 40,000, video games, Dragon Nest, anime, original characters and some other stuff. Traditional art is our mainstay, but we're dabbling in the digital realm as well. Also some writing and poetry, because why not.
Sometimes we say things we don't mean. Please forgive us.
We don't know anyone on Deviantart in real life. Then again, real life doesn't have as many friends.
Life can be hard. End it well.