6 Months Later


The stars were so close that he could almost touch them, let alone count them. From his position, nestled comfortably in his pilot’s chair, he navigated his way through space, leaving his thoughts, worries and domestic duties behind him. The faces of the planets loomed large ahead as he swooped and served past them. His final destination, according to his calculations, was only a few hours away, and then—


--“Tommy? Dinner’s ready.”


The black vastness of space, the stars and the planets disappeared as Tommy came back to earth, and stepped out of the chair and into the garden. His Dad stood at the door to the kitchen, wearing an apron and brandishing a pair of tongs., indicating that food was ready. 

Tommy bounded out of the cockpit, locking the telescope into place and went into the house. 

His Dad ruffled his hair as he past. “Find any new life?”

Tommy shrugged. “Almost.  A few more hours and I would have.” 

“Well maybe after dinner, I’ll come be your co-pilot. Now go wash your hands, Aunt Charlotte and Jenny are waiting on you.” Tommy nodded and rushed into the house, joining his two Aunts at the table. For a moment, Matt lingered in the doorway, looking out at the contraption in the garden that had once caused so much pain, so much heartache and now brought so much joy. After Tommy had fallen, his injury hit Matt like a wake-up call. He realized how foolish he had been, how he almost lost his son in his grief-driven madness. Whilst Tommy recovered, Matt took to the machine he had built in his backyard and stripped it away. Instead of building a rocket that would take him to some far-flung planet he had seen in a drunken stupor, he decided to make it into an observatory, a place where he and Tommy could explore the universe above them, side by side. 


Some nights, he still thought about that world he saw and when he and Tommy looked to the sky, sometimes he’d try to find it again, but he never did. Closing the door behind him now, he looked back into the house to see Charlotte, Jenny and Tommy serving up the food before walking over to the observatory. For a moment, he sat back in the chair, lined up the telescope and closed one eye, pushing the other to the eyepiece. Looking through, searching one more time, Matt smiled, his feet firmly on the ground. 

Chris PatrickComment