Refugees: A Nano-Story
Adam squeezes my hand as everything around us quakes. My breathing is heavy, labored. I can taste the all-beef hotdog, the chili cheese on the back of my tongue. They say to wait thirty minutes after a meal before you swim, and riding in a space shuttle feels like swimming.
“How much longer?” I ask, then quickly hold my breath as the contents in my stomach gurgle.
“We’re almost out,” he answers without checking the view. He’s the astronaut. He’s used to this. He’s ridden the layers of the atmosphere many times to know how they feel.
I’m the only one who’s new.
I glance out the window the width of my face and watch the clouds clear for darkness. When the turbulence calms, I let out an exhale.
“You shouldn’t have ate that stuff,” he says, shaking his head.
As relieved as I am to not be floating in vomit, it was my last meal on earth. Who knows if I’ll ever get a chance to eat something not freeze-dried again.
“We can never go back,” he says flatly, apparently reading my mind.
I crane my neck to catch one final glimpse of the tiny blue planet we’re leaving behind, shrinking in the distance.
I wonder if there will be a sudden explosion of light before it finally disappears.
© 2023 Nortina Simmons