Monday, January 25, 1999

Lexi Lavitschke

As a little girl she used to sit at night, staring out her window to the skies above. The stars in her eyes were the inspiration to many an endless dream. There was something soothing in the infinity of the black star speckled landscape of the heavens. She had memorized so thoroughly the star patterns that when she closed her eyes she still could with picture perfect precision see all the constellation formations. At the same time the predictability, the knowing that whatever was up above would be there long after her own life was over, was of great comfort. There was something meaningful out there that was far bigger and more important than the daily tasks she had in front of her.

It didn't matter how the events of her day left her feeling. At the end of every day her gaze into the stars filled her heart with wonder and comfort, her mind with all that she could look forward to. Then one day she read a newspaper report saying that those who had the power to, were considering downgrading Pluto from a planet, to something else. The unthinkable was about to happen, she was going to lose a planet. And it was her favorite one on top of it all.

The news was of quite a shock and she began to see that the things she had come to take for granted and rely on were not as eternal as she had always believed. It was a gnawing, disheartening realization that was interrupted by a loud noise from outside. The noise startled her. She looked down at the wintery scene below her beloved stars. Something was out of place but she wasn't quite sure, nor could she see enough from her window to know what it was. There was something alarming about the sound that made her think about those people frightened at the prospect of the end of the millennium. Their fears seemed so crazy. She knew the sky wasn't going to fall. She rocked herself to sleep, her mind racing a mile a minute.

The next morning she wandered out to the lake outside her house. The frozen lake was covered with an undisturbed fresh sheet of snow, so smooth, so white that she wondered if the events of the previous night had just been a dream. She looked farther out on the lake and noticed a hole in the ice. As she got closer she noticed no footprints leading to the hole which she could now see was star-shaped.

Instinctively she looked up to the gray sky. Something was different than ever before. She couldn't see it with the naked eye, but she somehow knew that bigger than the hole in the ice was a hole in the heavens where Pluto would usually be. It must be tough to accept a loss of planet status, she thought. She was now directly over the hole. The water below seemed as deep as it was cold. She couldn't see anything underneath the rippling green of the exposed water. She was due to be at work soon so she slid her way back to her house and began her daily routine. On her way to work she turned on her radio and heard that local officials thought the hole in the ice she had seen was caused by a meteorite.

When she got to her work, she wondered if she should tell any of her co- workers about her recent events. But the words weren't there. Instead she pulled out her notebook and jotted the following: "Due to a limited lexicon I have a legitimate liability that can't be legally levied. Lots of leprechauns are less lucky. So soulfully I sing to the sinners who sold their salads for a song and dance." It didn't make any sense but somehow it made her feel better. She closed her notebook and carefully put it back in her desk in its familiar spot.

She decided she indeed could accept what she now knew, even if such an admission (and the internal confession of that self discovered admission) would've been inconceivable just twenty four hours before. How she felt, how she saw her world was forever changed yet there wasn't a choice in returning to the comfort of what she always knew. She pulled out her favorite comic book- the only comic she regularly read and its pictures were as familiar as those stars she sat underneath every night. Maybe the heavens weren't as reliable as she once thought, but at least the pictures of the yellowing pages of her favorite comic book would always be familiar. Yes she could always rely on her favorite storyline to remain consistent and true- Popeye forever in love, forever chasing the admirable independence of his heart's true love, Olive Oyl. The dependable 70 years of courting made her feel calm and relaxed. She knew she could always count on them to remain true to their code...

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