Today, for my twelfth birthday, Mom gave me a pair of binoculars to watch the birds and a leatherette notebook with a chain. Notebooks with chains are for girls, and I didn’t even know what... [+]
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Bashir looked at the sunlight coming in through the window. The weather was magnificent, but he was forced to wait here, in the shade of the big boarders’ dining hall at Mimosa School.
It was a peaceful place. From time to time a breath of wind would move the door with a muffled creak. A young girl was also waiting a little further off. Apart from the two of them, the building was empty. One by one, friends and students had all left with their families.
Where are my parents? wondered Bashir. Have they forgotten me?
He gripped his bag with its picture of an astronaut.
“Are you alright?” asked the girl, coming up to him. “Are you waiting for your parents?”
“Yes,” he replied. “What about you?”
The girl smiled sadly. “Oh, I have nobody to wait for any more. But you’ll see, I’m sure yours will be here soon!”
“I hope so,” said Bashir. “I’m starting to get hungry.”
“You’re like a stomach on legs, you are! Look at the sky,” she said to change the subject, “a star’s just come out!”
“So it has… Isn’t it a bit early for stars?”
“It must be an early morning star!”
“It’s enormous, that star,” remarked Bashir, fascinated.
“Yes. And it’s getting bigger and bigger… Be careful!”
The girl crouched down on the ground, pulling Bashir to safety as the star crashed onto the playground!
The smoke cleared and Bashir and the girl stood up, covered in dust, and found themselves in front of… a rocket! Its door opened and two astronauts stepped out. Bashir recognized them immediately.
“Mom! Dad!” he shouted.
“We’re really late,” said Mom. “There were traffic jams all around Jupiter!”
“Yes,” Dad agreed. “We had to take a meteor shower and here we are!”
“Are you coming, Bashir? The gaseous seas on Trappist-1 are at their best at this time of year and you love swimming so much!”
“Of course I’m coming!” exclaimed Bashir, picking up his schoolbag. He turned to the girl. “Are you coming with us?” he asked her.
“Why not?” she said with a smile. “I’ve never seen the sea!”
And all four of them took off for the stars.
Translated by Wendy Cross