The summer I turned ten, my mother started babbling. That summer's hit was Kimbra's "Settle Down." In my head, at night, the two would overlap and replay as I stared at the moon exploding.
"Bimpbimba, babababa, bimpbimba. Bababa."
Six months later, it was decided that she would be taken. They also decided that it was time for me as well and that month my father made his decision.
Ten years later at the academy, the selective career choices were before me and I chose. They questioned me of course but I had already made up my mind. My mother was gone, my father long dead, earth no longer held any meaning for me.
Between the gaps of my vigorous training, they came. Armed and ready.
"Did my mother "specialness" have any effect on me?"
"Did my father's decision bother me?"
"How did I feel?"
The "feeling" question always got us. We hated it. One of the crew, in the lunch room, capitalized this by singing a high pitched song of: "Feelings, Nothing more than feelings." Everyone had a laugh and something to say about it but I said nothing, because I felt nothing. In the end, I was proved superior and those minor issues of mine were eventually swept away.
When we passed the moon, I shook my head. It was such a mess. Since that first explosion on the moon, it's been nothing but battlefields and minefields. The treaty that eventually came, gave the moon some peace. But still, those huge missing chucks were such an eyesore compared to the pearl beauty it was before.
Three of us are scheduled for six months' work on the minor space station. I've been up there the longest. The other two are always quick to get back to earth. I can see it. The usual symptoms are there. They start itching like those rare stray dogs back on earth, half-starved and filled with fleas. The space station feels like a hotel. But when the two leave, while waiting for the next arrivals, there's a period of quietness.
We were warned about the trash and its consequences. The last trash crash was a major one. Things didn't work. One of the arms, connected to the launch pad, is broken which makes it impossible for me to leave or for the other assigned ones to come. They tell me via message that they have a plan. That they're working on it.
If you look past the trash, the earth is still a beautiful thing.
I sleep a lot more. Sometimes the radio works, sometimes it doesn't. The music comes overhead through the sensory motivated speakers as I walk through the hallways. Out the windows, in the black universe, I see my mother.
She waves to me.
In another window I see my father, as I last saw him, waving me good bye, as the helicopter hovered away. Me crying, wondering why he's standing outside with no mask. I lie down. More images come to me as the song filters through the static: the untouched white moon, tall grass moving in the wind, me running thru a field filled with daisies and flocks of white cockatiels flying above me, happy healthy dogs running at my feet. Barking and wings' flapping fills my ears and the song, yes the song also fills my ears.
"Bimpbimba. Bimpbimba. I wanna settle down. Babababa. Bababa. Baba."
lives in southern China. A short story portfolio of hers came second in a competition run by UK publisher Biscuit
—meaning she doesn't know what to do with those stories now.
She's almost finished her novel, Chinglish—meaning she doesn't know if she's ever going to finish the dang thing.