Would you like to swing on a star?
Carry moonbeams home in a jar
And be better off than you are…
The two of us drifted lazily in the shared beams of an unfamiliar moon. The solar system where our temporal lives had played out their stories was now a distant memory. So, too, were the corporeal bodies we’d once inhabited. Now, together, we sail through the universe, sharing a thirst for the onward journey. We hurtle through far-off galaxies, feeding on the wonders around us.
We swing on the stars.
During our temporal existence, our paths never crossed. Now we are constant, eternal companions.
Pausing our journey, we mingle with the moonbeams bathing a planet reminiscent of the one that spawned us. Old memories surface; with them, our sleeping humanity rouses. Recollections make us, once again, almost human.
“Look,” said Norma, “a shooting star!”
After timeless travels throughout the universe, her child-like wonder continues. Tinkling laughter dances lightly through my mind. It is her laughter.
The star’s incandescence quickly fades. Norma’s wistful thoughts restrain me, thwarting my desire to track the flaming object, to follow its path wherever it might lead.
I swing on the stars.
“There was a time they called me a shooting star, said I was brilliant, that I lit up the silver screen…”
I said nothing. What use have I for ancient memories? The journey was onward.
“They weren’t all bad, you know. The years with Joe – they were good. He loved me. He might have been the only one…”
I stayed silent, sealing my mind against past regrets.
“But other years… I slept through those, wrapped in barbiturate dreams of stars and moonbeams. I suppose my star travel really began back then.”
Her anguish sent currents of sorrow eddying through me, evoking human feelings that had long lain dormant.
“I spent years staring at stars while Mama spent years in the nut house, while foster daddies took terrible liberties, and made me ripe for old men with filthy desires hiding behind screen tests. And to what end? A 30 second walk-on while the camera watched my ass…
“But my Joe… He thought he wanted Marilyn, but it was Norma Jean he really wanted. But I’d lost her a long time ago.”
I longed to be off, but her grief held me. “Then the years with Frank and Dean?”
“Funny I’ve never run into any of the guys.”
“It’s a big universe, Norma; we’ve never run into the Kennedys either…”
“Don’t speak of them. At the end, I was vulnerable… four years shy of forty, time catching up to me…”
Sadness dimmed the stars.
“In the end, it wasn’t the users or abusers that made me do it.”
Her eyes briefly materialized. In their blueness, I glimpsed the tears of a thousand sunsets.
“In the end, it was the goddam loneliness.”
“Look!” I said. “Another shooting star!”
We watched it burn, leaving shimmering particles in its wake.
Word Count: 500
Song: ‘Swinging on a Star’ by Jimmy Van Huesen and Johnny Burke.
Author’s Note: This story is loosely based on a challenge by ThainInVain to write a 500-word story about a celebrity (alive or dead) who applies for a job and gets an interview. Well, I did say loosely. 🙂 Instead, my mind took off in another direction, but I hope you all enjoy the ride, nevertheless. ThainInVain hosts a weekly flash fiction challenge which can be found here.