The Astronaut and the Photographer
by Jon Stark
Above. The heavens stretch infinitely away, calling, teasing, dancing as I stand tethered below you. I shot a brook today, the water rushing happily between the stones and toes, kicking up foam and reflecting the sky. My eyes lift and I know you are there beyond the clouds that swirl between us--
Form a boundary. To see them from here, vast blankets covering whole continents, is something that must be experienced. The Earth is so big here, such color in the darkness of space. And it is dark, black of black, making the clouds so much more spectacular. But they keep their treasure from me. I cannot feel the rain on my face--
Washes the tears that have come, unbidden of course, as I photograph the moon. He is a traveler like you, hanging by a gossamer strand at the edge of nothing, and you are now peers with my old friend as he sets full at the end of another night, at the dawning of another day without you --
And the mystery of space, the luster of this grand adventure diminishes further. I don't belong here, in this tiny capsule floating in nothing. I sit in infinity, of space, of time before I return --
To the studio and develop my work. At midnight, when in darkness space settles around our home, I open the window and welcome you in, but it leaves me unsatisfied --
To merely observe. I feel myself slipping away, you held me firm with a gravity that I don't even remember. I miss the wind --
In the trees makes the stars dance. All my life I have longed to go there. I run from the house and twirl with them as black streaks to cobalt and morning threatens. You are one of them and I envy you --
The sun on your skin. The sound of rustling leaves. The scent of a rose against your cheek. The taste of a kiss. The beauty of a butterfly spreading its wings and drifting in front of me --
Somewhere, in that vast night sky, is your station. I lie on my back in the dew and watch for it. You are living our dream --
In space isn't everything I thought it would be. There's too much here to ever See and do --
But still I long, desperately to be where you are --
Is where I want to be. Infinity isn't enough.
I want to be with you.
* * * * *
Jon Stark is a husband and father of four living and working in Northern Virginia. His profession has exposed him to the best and worst of us in back alleys all across the country. **Note on this story: The two lovers are finishing each other's sentences/thoughts. The italics differentiate the speaker and indicate where they overlap.