My mother and I nurse small wounds on our fingers. We’re sweating at her kitchen table making daisies out of can lids she’s saved all month. On the black and white television we’ve moved to a kitchen chair, history unfolds in space. Apollo 11. Nine years have passed since President Kennedy intoned to a special joint session of Congress: “I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to Earth.”
We use a special pair of snippers to cut the metal. The white and yellow paint I found in my mom’s tiny garage. We talk about coupons and curlers and reducing diets. One of her eyes is made up with liner and sky-blue shadow; the other is naked and tired.
My brother would use can lids as ineffective ashtrays. Ashes still cling to the fibers of the carpet under his window. He’d sit on the sill to watch the stars. He knew all about the cosmos. He was saving for first and last on an apartment in Cocoa. He’d have a view of Cape Canaveral from his balcony. A front row seat to roaring black space.
The last time I saw him, he was crawling on the floor, eyes wild, begging me to draw the curtains. He clung to my legs and asked if he could sleep on my floor. I didn’t answer him. I didn’t answer. As if his sputtering light, the sounds he made, died before reaching me.
I slice my thumb and gasp. On my mother’s kitchen chair, Neil Armstrong sets foot on the lunar surface.
PATRICIA Q. BIDAR — Patricia Q. Bidar hails from San Pedro, California, with family roots in New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah. She is an alum of the UC Davis Graduate Writing Program and a former fiction editor at Northwest Review. Her stories have appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Sou’wester, Little Patuxent Review, Pithead Chapel, and Wigleaf. When she is not writing fiction, Patricia ghostwrites for progressive nonprofits. She lives with her dog and her DJ husband in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Art by TCLARE — TClare is a greater New York area artist who currently is creating works that express and celebrate the healing energy of the natural world around us. Tee grew up in New York and spent half his life in the San Francisco Bay Area where he taught “Expressing Grief through Art and Music” workshops. When he isn’t creating art or listening to music, he can be found wandering the deserted marshes and bogs of the Northfork, East End of Long Island, along with his faithful black lab, Karma. More of his work can be found at www.tclare.com.