“Ten years ago,” said Mother, “I thought, What if he dies on Venus? Then we’ll never be able to see Venus again. What if he dies on Mars? We’ll never be able to look at Mars again, all red in the sky, without wanting to go in and lock the door. Or what if he died on Jupiter or Saturn or Neptune? On those nights when those planets were high in the sky, we wouldn’t want to have anything to do with the stars.”
“I guess not,” I said.
The message came the next day.
The messenger gave it to me and I read it standing on the porch. The sun was setting. Mom stood in the screen door behind me, watching me fold the message and put it in my pocket.
“Mom,” I said.
“Don’t tell me anything I don’t already know,” she said.
She didn’t cry.Well, it wasn’t Mars, and it wasn’t Venus, and it wasn’t Jupiter or Saturn that killed him. We wouldn’t have to think of him every time Jupiter or Saturn or Mars lit up the evening sky.
This was different.
His ship had fallen into the sun.
And the sun was big and fiery and merciless, and it was always in the sky and you couldn’t get away from it.
So for a long time after my father died my mother slept through the days and wouldn’t go out. We had breakfast at midnight and lunch at three in the morning, and dinner at the cold dim hour of 6 A.M. We went to all-night shows and went to bed at sunrise.
And, for a long while, the only days we ever went out to walk were the days when it was raining and there was no sun.
- the rocket man, ray bradbury1 year ago