Jack had always loved the stars.
From the time he was old enough to look up at the evening sky through an empty toilet paper roll clutched in his hands, all he could imagine was being up there among them and not stuck here on Earth. The night skies offered Jack a place to focus his attention, to imagine and dream, and to escape from his sometimes miserable life.
It wasn’t much of a surprise to anyone when he decided to study astronomy, but after a while, Jack realized it would never be enough. Although he loved his studies, he just couldn’t see himself stuck in a planetarium or a classroom for the rest of his life. Jack decided the theory and standard career was fine for now and immersed himself in learning everything he could about his beloved stars, but what he really wanted was to get in the cockpit of something – anything – that would fly and get him up there among them and away from all of the bullshit he knew down here.
When he applied for the Academy, Jack never dreamed he’d actually be accepted, but somewhere along the line, when he was concentrating on being anywhere but home, Jack somehow managed to become a serious student and get his act together. Hours spent on homework and at the library were the excuses he made to spend as little time as possible with his so-called family, and they paid off big time when that acceptance letter showed up – his ticket out of there.
He threw himself into his education and training with a genuine excitement that would send him hurtling at top speed through the next few years. No more making excuses just to get away – this was for real, for him, and he needed to make the most of it to compensate for the years of disappointment and failure that characterized his childhood. Jack flew through the ranks to become the youngest astronaut on record and signed on to help manage one of America’s earliest space station living communities.
“There’s a surprise for you, Dad,” he thought. “I managed to accomplish something great and find a way to get as far away from you as possible.”
Life on the station was exciting and busy and Jack had worked so hard and waited so long to get here. He was motivated, determined, and successful. He was a top scholar, a seasoned pilot, and an eager adventurer. He had won honors and accolades for so many things, was appreciated by so many people, except for one…the only one he had ever wanted to notice and the only one who never did. But that was part of another time, another season of his life and Jack had to shake that off and leave it behind; he was ready to join one of the permanent space communities and get as far away from his past as possible.
Then it all fell apart.
A freak accident left him with two broken legs, a pile of broken dreams, and a severely broken spirit.
After a long period of physical and mental recovery, he was finally living out the dream he had cultivated. Life on the station was exciting and busy and Jack had plenty to occupy his mind between acclimating to life in space and helping to manage the community.
He never thought about how much he missed Andie, never thought about all the time they had spent dreaming and planning, dancing under the stars with the sounds of the night their only music. He still couldn’t understand how or why she loved him after the way he treated her when she showed up dripping wet for his first physical therapy session; he definitely did not deserve her.
But this…now…this was nothing like life on the station and nothing like the life he imagined all those years ago when he stared up at the twinkling stars from his tent in the backyard. This was the aftermath of broken dreams and a broken world and for the first time in a long time Jack had no idea how to fix any of it.
Want more? Catch up here.
The Lie, Part 1
The Lie, Part 2
The Lie, Part 3
The Lie, Part 4
The Lie, Part 5
The Lie, Part 6
The Lie, Part 7
Each week, the lovely and talented Ivy Walker hosts a link-up challenging writers to spin a tale in six sentences – no more, no less.
As you can see, this week’s post is far from six sentences. I wanted to play a little catch-up and see if I could incorporate the last several prompts that I’ve missed. I believe I have 24 sentences here, drawn from the last four prompts:
RANK, STAR, SEASON, and FIX.
Click on the link right here to link your own post and read more stories from some wonderful storytellers.