The View from Space – A short story by India Roberts
The View from Space
Sun poured onto his eyelids like smooth summer wine. Her eyelashes felt like feathers sweeping across his cheeks, soft and gentle and tender like her touches in the field the night before. Lightning had struck the tree again. It teetered at the edge of the meadow, a wizened and crisping statue that swayed in the breeze like a scarecrow. They used to sit underneath it for shade when the leaves were blooming and the sun spotted through them like marble. He could hear bees buzzing around them and the birds laughing as they played tag in the sky and rested on the burnt branches above. Her hands came up to swat something away and landed back down into her nest of silken flowing hair. He had missed her hair. When he looked up at the sunset he saw colours of sharp magenta and a delicate powder blue, like the colour of an earring he had seen his mother wear. The hues merged together as watercolours on a white canvas. He thought he would miss the sound of her supple voice when it had been softened by wine, but really he just missed the way her teeth glinted against her blood-rushed lips when she smiled and slicked them with gloss. He closed his eyes and he could smell her perfume and taste the fruit-filled flavour of her lipstick on the tip of his tongue as he looked over at her and pondered if she had tasted like this before.
His gaze lingered on her bottom lip with the full and sloping curve that jutted over her chin. He fluttered his eyes down and stuttered upon her clavicle, those delicate bones peeking out and covered in dewy, glistening skin. He had always seen her in sepia. Her skin was golden and the colours brighter and livelier, because the pavements around him seemed translucently grey and he liked her to be the one thing that was alive. Her dress billowed in the grass. It was the softest pink he could imagine, as if touching it would feel like candyfloss and frothy strawberry milkshakes. It was tulle. The fabric twirled in his hands and when he bunched it up it seemed to almost disappear it was so thin. She had told him before that she liked the feeling of pink on her skin, like it radiated into her and made her feel warm. He trailed the tulle over his lips and remembered how she had asked if he had missed her. “Yes.” he said, but he didn’t tell her about the times when he had lain in their field, surrounded by the grass that had once tickled her skin and looked up at the black spaces in between blinking stars in the sky, wondering if she was staring back. Sometimes he would think about what the view would be like from space. If he was drifting between planets, looking at the place where they had started would he be able to see the elderly, doleful tree and the lightning that haunted it? She looked at him now, with the material of her dress caressing his mouth and she said,
“Come back with me.”
“Where would I end up?”
“Does it matter?”
No, he supposed. He did miss the sound of her languid voice after all, he decided. He missed the colour of her hair and the way it curled around his fingers like the tentacles of an octopus. He longed for the imprint her body made in the soft, plush grass. He would go with her. Maybe then, he would find out what the view was like from space.
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