17 Jun

“It’s alive, it’s…it’s…”
“I know right?”
She looks at the time lapse video over and over; we play it in a loop.
“It’s nothing like I’ve always thought; you know, like they teach you how to draw it. It’s nothing like that.”
“I know.”
“It’s so…angry, and beautiful,” she says. “I love the different colors, I love the lilac.”
“They’ve shot it through different filters. Each one is a different color. The lilac is shot through a special lens that only records ultraviolet light.”
“It’s not really ever yellow, is it?”
“No. Probably orange is the closest color.”
“Red. Fiery red,” she says.
She rolls the video again. The pin head moves slowly across the bottom of the star from left to right.
“How does it keep burning like that forever? Why doesn’t it cool off like our earth?”
“You’ll learn in physics or astronomy. You’ll learn in high school.”
“Why can’t you tell me?”
“It’s too complicated.”
“It fuels itself. It keeps making itself burn.”
“It’s alive. It takes care of itself. That’s all you need to know right now.”
She sighs. She is disappointed that I cannot explain properly why our sun is alive. And so she keeps replaying the video. We’ve been at this for over half an hour now. Venus moves slowly on the bottom third of our star. Left to right, left to right, always left to right.
“…like a cut up hole.”
And then brusquely she is up and gone into her room. She shuts the door.
“Mind the sign,” she says. “Don’t come in until I say so.”
I don’t answer.
“Did you hear me?”

Later in the evening, after I have taken her home to her mum, I straighten out her things in her little room. 48 hours of her presence can turn things upside down physically. And I don’t want to accidentally vacuum up little pieces of a flower, tiny mermaids, a minuscule plastic crown. There is one sock buried beneath her covers; it’s a rainbow sock. No sign of the other. I turn and slide in her chair, underneath her desk. Sometimes I want to leave it as is, for two weeks, so I’m reminded she was here and life was lived for two days without any regrets. On her desk, in large sizes, are six detailed drawings of our burning, raging sun in different colors…Venus, the little pinhole, in different positions on its lower third. The purple version is labeled: “Altraviolet Light. Please never burn out.”


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