Eyes of the Void
I wrote a lot of things for my Grade 12 creative writing course - poems, short stories, articles - and some of them I really enjoyed both writing and handing in. This one was for a 1000-word assignment with an emphasis on dialogue.
Eyes of the Void:
“You know, it reminds me of her eyes,” George said as he stared into the blackness of space, his gravelly voice clear on the intercom. “Even in the moments before she passed, they were like windows to another galaxy. Dark as the abyss and more beautiful than the sun. I always knew that if I let go, I’d be lost in them forever, floating like a buoy on the ocean or – or like me, I suppose, drifting away into the void if I let go right now!” He chuckled to himself, softening the wrinkles on his face.
I couldn’t help but smile as I watched his helmet-cam on the monitor, the lens hidden right in front of his nose. I glanced out the window to see him hugging the side of the space station like a cat clinging to a log in a river. It wasn’t that he was scared of going out there. He loved it. But I hated letting him make those space-walks without proper equipment. The owners of the station didn’t have the cash to spring for the kind of safety measures those jerks on the ISS had. Oh well. At least he got to enjoy his last years up here, the Earth spinning beneath him and the endless black of space sitting above him. He always told me that he couldn’t imagine a better way to kill the time before he joined his deceased wife in the stars – that was how he always put it. George looked back down from the view and started working again, sparks flying from where he stuck his tools.
“Tell me the one about when Helen first brought you back to meet her parents and her dad kept a pistol strapped to his leg the whole night,” I told him, almost laughing again at the image of George squirming at the dinner table all those years ago. I saw him grin eagerly on the monitor.
“Alright, kid, I haven’t told that one in a while,” he replied. I thought I saw his eyelid twitch like it usually did before a tremor. “So, there we were, on her parents’ porch, waiting for her dad to open the door. I was staring up at the stars as usual when—“
His face grimaced in frustration on the cam. I glanced out the window to see him fumbling after one of his tools as it floated away from the station.
“Damn this Parkinson’s!” he groaned. “Another one gone. Sorry about that, kid.”
“Don’t worry about it,” I said. As I always did after he had a tremor, I looked out the window to make sure he had a good hold on the station’s arm. So long as he had one hand wrapped around the little railing that ran along it, he was fine. But, with his Parkinson’s disease getting worse every month, I was constantly terrified of a spasm affecting both of his hands. Once he lost his hold, he’d be lost in space forever. I saw his one hand still on the rail and took a breath of relief.
“George, maybe it’s time to quit these space-walks,” I suggested as he grabbed a replacement tool and got back to work.
“And miss this view? Not a chance, kiddo!”
“You can see it from inside, you know.”
“You can tape my face against the window when I’m dead. But for now, I’m gonna live on the edge!” He stuck out his tongue and made a “rock-on” symbol with his free hand.
“Alright, old man, have it your way.”
“I will, thank you very much,” he chirped, grinning like a child. “Now, where was I? Oh, yes! So, her dad opens the door, and what’s the first thing I see? His hand is patting a magnum like it’s some kind of Rottweiler at his side! And Helen, of course, just tells me with those gorgeous eyes that I’d better shake his hand or she’d be the first one to tear out my—“
He stopped as his replacement tool drifted off, released by his shaking fingers.
“There goes another one,” I sighed. We were started to run out of those things.
“Don’t worry, kid, I’m gonna get this one back,” he said.
“Don’t even try it,” I warned him.
I looked out the window to see him reaching after the little piece of metal, his body stretched and anchored by his good hand. It was just out of his reach.
“Gonna show you that this old man still has game,” he said, straining for that last inch. His fingers just tapped the edge of the tool, spinning it a bit further away. On the monitor, his brow hardened and his smile faded. He was gonna go for it. I could see it in his face.
“George!” I yelled as he reached too far and lost his grip on the railing. He floated away from the arm. I fumbled for the controls to the station’s stabilizer jets. I could hear his panicked breathing coming through the speakers as I activated the throttle on the station, turning it slowly. The arm George had just had a hold of swung toward him. He started to grope for it, as if he was swimming in water. But that just sent him spiraling away to the edge of the arm. By the time it came beside him, he was almost beyond its reach. He managed to get a grip on the top of the solar panel at the very end of the station’s arm. The rest of his body was dangling behind him as he hung on with one hand – his bad hand. I turned off the rockets.
“Hey, hey – okay, George,” I stuttered into the microphone. “I’m gonna get a suit on and come get you, alright? We’re gonna be okay, I promise!”
I looked over at the monitor, expecting to see him shouting and sobbing in terror. But he was smiling – that same peaceful smile he had on his wrinkles face when he was fast asleep.
“I guess it’s time, kiddo,” he said, his eye twitching ever so slightly.
“Just hold on a little while longer!” I shouted, jumping up and rushing to the spacesuits beside the window.
“Just like I always wanted to go,” he continued happily. I stared through the glass to see his fingers roll back on his wobbling wrist. He lost his grip on the station and drifted toward the blackness of the void.
“Lost in her eyes.”
Thanks for reading,