Day 117: Holes in Space

Jane watched the empty space where the Earth used to be and sighed. The porthole-shaped monitor linked to the external camera system, which, for all the complicated technologies aboard the shuttle, was mid-range quality at best. She thought if she could look out a real window she’d be able to see a speck of blue light reflected by the sun and think back and remember the sun and the warmth and the fresh air and life before all this. But no. A window was a structural weakness, the engineer, Kamilla, told her. The cameras would have to be enough, and they weren’t.

Most of all, Jane missed gravity. Real gravity, not this rotating fuselage meant to imitate a gravitational pull like that on Earth. It wasn’t like Earth. She felt light, and consequently bloated, stuffed with air–or maybe that came from spending so much time with lawyers. In any case, she was a balloon, all helium and plastic, and she ate to weigh herself down, which never worked, but made her look like a balloon, too. Stretching the fabric of her charcoal vest, tearing little holes in her coat’s underarm when she reached, making her cringe and remember that there was no one left to buy coats from. And yet she never felt more comfortable in her cream-coloured heels, which used to squeeze her feet with fingers and nails by the end of the day, but now steadied her ballerina-light weight with no undue pressure to speak of. She missed the pain.

And then there were all those little holes in the inner structure of the ship–the support beams and the surfaces that didn’t need to be smooth. Polka-dot circles through everything, preventing privacy, making the whole ship (other than the outside walls) like swiss cheese. To save on mass, Kamilla once told her, eying Jane’s plumping figure disapprovingly with crystal-clear blue eyes. The slim, long-limbed engineer, keeping it together, keeping her figure–her mass–tight and efficient. Not round like Jane the tubby lawyer. Jane the circle. Circles everywhere, holes in everything, stars like pin dots punched in the universe, porthole monitors made circular, fuselage spinning in a neat imperfect circle circle circle.

Earth. A perfect circle. Too far away to see.

Jane turned back to her desk and thought about squares of paper and where the ship was going and what she would give to be on Earth again and whether or not she was losing her mind.



Today’s three prompt categories were, “Space ship,” “Maximalist,” and, “Envy.”

I haven’t read enough David Foster Wallace to properly pull off the maximalist writing. I just keep wanting to do things the Heming way.

– H.


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