by Charles Quimper
translated by Guil Lefebvre
QC Fiction, 2018
Did you learn about the water cycle? Every drop of water on the planet follows a well-defined order. From every stream, river, lake, and deep blue sea it rises unseen into the sky, falls as rain or snow or sleet, and swells the waterways once again.
Every body of water is drawn to the sea. That’s all I know for certain. It’s what keeps me going. Maybe I can track the current that carried you away. Maybe it will lead me to you.
I am a dying star, a fading supernova, but there is strength yet in my hands and somewhere in my chest. If I search long enough, I’ll find you. It’s inevitable.
Do you remember our holidays on Neptune? We spent every summer there, splashing around in the clear river. Pure and clean as holy water, it flowed around us. Mom would sit under a tree, lost in her reading, a castaway washed up on the pages of her book. You would pretend you were a sea lion or a submarine, and my laughter would echo in the forest. We used blue fern, petrified wood, and sheet metal from our rocket ship to build a shelter against the high winds.
The whole universe was our playground, and we explored its furthest reaches every Sunday after bath time.
We would play Marco Polo by the Great Dark Spot. The wind was so strong you could hardly put one foot in front of the other. One of us would hide in the methane clouds while the other searched blindfolded, hands out and trying not to stumble.
I’m almost positive I heard you fall that day, babygirl. I think I heard a splash.