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Two sisters discuss their resentments before the end of the world.
Gina Gidaro is a creative writing graduate and photographer from rural Ohio. She enjoys playing video games, watching Asian dramas and anything spooky. Her work has appeared in a few magazines and online zines. If she's not writing her own stories, she is probably obsessing over someone else's. More of her information can be found at ginagidaro.wordpress.com.
Gina is a returning contributor to Soft Star Magazine with work in Issue Two: Aurora.
“Tell me where you want to go,” I say.
“To the very bottom of the ocean,” she replies without hesitation. I turn my head to face her. Her eyes don’t leave the stars above us.
“That’s impossible,” I tell her. Her ambitions have always been higher than mine.
There’s a quick whooshing sound, and then a loud crashing boom from outside. The decaying house rattles. Dust falls from the gaping hole in the ceiling. Without words, we shuffle closer to each other on the rickety bed.
“Tell me where you wanna go,” she says, her body tense, her voice unwavering.
“A bookstore,” I say. I feel her gaze shift and her eyes burn into the side of my face.
“That’s not impossible enough,” she demands. I roll my eyes.
The house shakes again, but this time it lingers. The foundation of the building holds together somehow, regardless of how many doors have toppled over, how many walls have caved in, how many stairs have given way, or how many cabinets have fallen to the ground. The glass in the windows shattered a long time ago.
She grabs my arm and closes her eyes until the shaking stops. I tell her to remember catching fireflies in the warm evenings and then letting them go. She doesn’t remember. I tell her to think of the first time she swam in the creek on her own. She doesn’t remember. I tell her to remember the night we saw almost twenty shooting stars. She doesn’t remember.
Sometimes, it feels like I’m in this crumbling house by myself.
“Can I ask you something?” she says.
Her voice is neutral. “Are you ever scared?”
“Always,” I tell her.
“What do you do about it?”
“I look up there,” I answer, gesturing to the piece of sky visible to us.
“And then what?”
“I think of the planets, carrying all the weight, billions of miles away from each other.”
“You think they’re lonely?”
I ponder this as the house lets out a tired groan. A crashing sound in the distance registers in the back of my mind. “No,” I decide. “They’re aware of each other but… they’re all so different, so spaced out, they can’t rely on each other. They have to rely on themselves, and the simple awareness that someone else is out there.”
“Why do you always personify things?” There is a sharpness behind her voice. “I mean, the planets are just rocks, minerals, and gasses. That’s it.”
“Did you not feel bad for Pluto when it was declared not a planet anymore?”
“It’s a dwarf planet,” she says, like I’m dumb.
“Only because it hasn’t dominated enough gravity around it. Do you realize what space-hogs the other planets are?”
“It’s been quiet outside,” she observes.
“It usually is before it gets really bad.”
We’re silent for a while. I’ve learned to listen to time. The waves of it, the airy nothingness it leaves behind, the tingly feeling of it that resides on your skin and the salty taste in your throat if you accidentally swallow it. Sometimes, it sounds like the ocean, an enormous abyss of the unknown, daring someone to try to know it. It’s a demanding thing.
“Do you blame me?” she asks. I’m surprised by her question. It’s vulnerable, and she hates being vulnerable with me.
“Sometimes,” I answer honestly. “But I’m working on it.”
She sighs. “Don’t you ever get tired of not being impossible enough?”
And then the world breaks open. The bombs hit, the lightning strikes, the house tilts, the bed snaps and our fingers interlace so tightly it aches. The gaping hole in the ceiling stares at us like a cyclops’ eye, but the stars make it look like a pool of the universe.
“You wanna know where I want to go?” I ask her, jumping in.
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