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The Rocket

Updated: Oct 2, 2021

Sitting on a shelf, the highest shelf, far beyond the reach of any wandering fingers or reaching hands, tucked out of the sight, out of mind.

The shelf is dusty, having been forgotten for so long, abandoned in the dark, sullen perspicuity of existence.

The shadows wrap around it, the paint faded and chipping from years of attention and then sudden neglect. It pulls it in, protecting it from the cruelness of a world that has forgotten everything it once stood for. A world that has decided its significance is no longer allowed to haunt the existential significances of the world.

The shadows are well hidden in the brightness of the greater bounds of the world, the world that extends beyond the small, makeshift corner of the world. The world where leaves have long since changed color, the months shifted from September to October, and the little apartment is still the same little apartment it was a month ago, and the red rocket on the shelf is still the red rocket on the shelf sitting in the shadows, out of sight and out of mind.

The air outside is crisp, and sneaks in through the open window, painting the apartment with fall and eliminating the use of the small radiator in the corner of the main room.

The door opens to the apartment and a woman walks in, clutching her newly obtained coffee tightly in her hands as she breaths in the fall air that fills the apartment, now joined by the smell of coffee, creating what she sees as the perfect October day. She sits down at the small table next to the window, next to the small section of the apartment that resembles a cross between a kitchen and a dining room.

Outside, the leaves are swirling in dances yet to be choreographed but succinct in their arbitrary movements. The city is quiet in the midst of the morning lull, but not silent, as the city is never so devoid of life as to be completely silent. A few people run past the apartment in the park across the street, some walk their dogs, some children race in haphazard directions followed by frantic teenagers desperate to keep their jobs.

Another woman walks out of the bedroom, hair ruffled and rubbing her eyes to clear the sleep from them so that she can start the day. She pauses, looking at the woman at the table, and her eyebrows crease and then lift as she notices the coffee.

“Have you been up long?”

The other woman shakes her head, setting down the coffee and reaching her arms out toward her. She smiles, but doesn’t say anything. Her words speak for themselves in the quiet of the morning.

The woman walks over to her and wraps her arms around her waist, pulling her close and looking up at her. She doesn’t say anything, and takes the quiet of the morning to observe every detail. The cuteness of the plaid pj pants and simple blue sweatshirt she wears to bed, coordinating her clothing even when no one else will see them except the two of them. The messiness of her hair, which is brown, but not a dirty brown. It’s a pretty brown, scattered with auburn highlights that match the fall atmosphere outside. The woman tucks it behind her ear, looking down at her.

“What?” she asks.

The other woman doesn’t say anything. She just smiles, looking at the curve of her nose as she looks down at her, the eyes that one would call brown but are really scattered with green and auburn. The face devoid of makeup that she thinks is ugly, but will never see as she sees it. The face that she has waited to wake up next to for the past five years.

“What?” she asks again.

“You’re beautiful,” she says, pulling her closer.

Her face changes from one of confusion to startled surprise, her eyes getting big and her mouth shifting into a soft smile like it always down when she calls her beautiful.

“I just woke up,” she protests.

“Yes,” she kisses her hip, which the highest point she can reach while sitting, “and you look beautiful.”

“Lily?” she says, sitting down at the table next to her.

“Yes, love?”

“How long have you been up?”

Lily shakes her head, “Not long.”

“But-”

She hands her the coffee, “I got this for you.”

“You didn’t have to do that!” her faces changes again, and she takes the coffee, holding it in her hands for a bit, staring at Lily.

“I know I didn’t, but I wanted to,” she shrugs.

“Thank you,” she says quietly, taking a sip.

Lily looks out the window, staring at the world as it moves by in short clips, connected by existence and short bursts of sound. The sky is a beautiful blue, a rich, clear sky blue like one you would find on a paint palette except so much more real and unobtainable.

In the light of the morning, the rocket remains forgotten on its shelf. A shelf that resides in a different state, a different house, a different room, and a different existence than the one in which the two women sit together in silence, Lily staring at the window, and the other woman staring at her as she stares out the window.

The rocket that remains in the confines of the closet, ridden with memories and a history that the world has deemed are ones that should not be remembered on such a picturesque fall day as today.

The rocket that speaks of a past she won’t even speak of, one that remains so far in the bounds of non-existence that it has almost ceased to exist.

But the thing about existence is that it doesn’t cease to exist.

Things in existence may fade so far into the bounds of time that to retrieve them would be to reach into the places so out of touch with the present reality that they almost cease to exist.

But they don’t cease to exist.

They can still be retrieved, and remembered, and held, and then cast away again.

Nothing disappears.

Only forgotten as it is buried under time and things of greater remembrance.

If a stone sank to the bottom of the ocean, the deepest bottom of the ocean, where light is far from able to reach and no human or human made device is yet able to travel, it wouldn’t disappear.

It would sit there on the bottom of the ocean, perhaps slowly buried by other stones until its existence would never be remembered, but it wouldn’t disappear.

Over time, when the stones covering it are shifted by some presently unknown force, the stone will be carried from its place of oblivion. If the right currents are cast, it will be carried to places closer to the surface. It may be returned to the bottom of the ocean, buried, and retrieved again, but eventually it will make its way to the shore, where the waves will throw it onto the sand, drag it back, bury it on the surface, and then repeat the process. When the ocean ceases to carry it, it will be picked up by a wandering hand, and as years go by it will be picked up in buckets and packed into castles with other stones that have undergone the same test of time. And, eventually, it will return to the bottom of the ocean, and be forgotten again.

But it will never disappear.

The rocket remains, even though it has been forgotten. The things that accompany its existence have not ceased to exist. Because they have existed at one point in time, they continue to exist. Whether or not they are relevant is not a factor in their existence.

Lily stares out of the window, watching the world roll by on this quiet, fall morning. The apartment smells of coffee and fall leaves, and she reaches over snd takes the hand of the girl sitting next to her. She looks over at her, and smiles, giving her hand a squeeze. Neither of them attempts to disturb the quiet of the morning.

The rocket exists from a time when such a life was not imaginable. When she would never have guessed it could have been possible.

The faded red paint chipping contains the touch of innocent, happy fingers, that would hold it tightly in their small hands and lay in the grass under the stars, pointing it up at the sky, and imagining all the places it could take them.

The light metal remembers a laugh not yet disturbed by harsh words and neglect.

The tiny initials etched into the side toward the bottom exist in the shadow of a time where the closet was not a hiding place, but a place full of glow in the dark stars stuck to its interior where a small child could curl up with a blanket, a book, and a flashlight, and read into the late hours of the night.

Now, it connects the space between the present and the past, a means of transportation between the things that want to be remembered and the things that hide in the shadows in the dark corner of the closet. A space devoid of stars and galaxies and the unknown, yet to be explored and anxious to be discovered.

Instead, it is a space that exists as a dull, gray medium, with neither light, nor darkness, neither stars nor shadows, and is simply a medium within which all the things of a forgotten past remain in existence.

And on this cold, October morning, it is no more remembered than it was yesterday, and no more remembered than it will be tomorrow.

But it speaks of a time that existed in the space time continuum, and will continue to exist in oblivion until the very time that holds it ceases to exist. And then that time will exist in a greater medium in which it will never truly cease to exist.

Existence is arbitrary.

This is something that for some, provides comfort, and others, does not. But we lose sight of just how arbitrary existence is, because we ourselves cannot quite apprehend it. It is something we are aware of, but cannot wrap our heads around in the way that would allow us to take comfort in it.

Even though things never cease to exist, it does not mean that we cannot let things go, it does not mean that we will always have to remember the things we have forgotten.

It just means that those things in remembrance and those things in the forgotten mediums will continue to exist in some shape, or form. Simply because they never cease to exist does not mean that the way in which they exist cannot change.

The worst parts of our lives do not cease to exist, as much as we would like them to. But they can be shaped into existences that shape us to be who we are, and to do what we do, and to make what we make of our lives. And in that way, they can exist in the most forgotten depths of the world, never be remembered, but exist in a way that allows them shape our lives in a way that will be remembered.

The rocket itself does not contain bad memories. But the way those memories have been shaped creates a rocket full of forgotten, unwanted remembrances. The way those memories have taken shape in their shadowed existence means that the rocket will remain forgotten, and a symbol of things never to be remembered within their existence.

The October day in which the two sit together at the table, watching the world roll by around them within the great scheme of time, will exist in a medium that allows it to be remembered exactly as it is. It exists in a way that will withstand the test of time, because that is the existence it has obtained.

Existence is arbitrary. It is exactly what we make of it. It exists in our own minds as much as it does in the inconceivable depths of the universe.

The rocket sitting on the shelf will never see the stars, or galaxies, but it sees a different form of boundless existence. The space in which it travels is still space, and still time. And it exists. It will always exist.

It exists in a small space in existence in the space of existence.

Out of sight and out of mind.

Until it, once again, travels among the stars.

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