My short story, Stargazing, published in .Cent Magazine.
Organza was no ordinary girl. But none of us are ordinary, or so we are told by adoring mothers and grandmothers. They shine our noses and tell us we are special. And then we remove that shine with an angry sleeve.
But Organza’s freckles were not like the freckles of other little girls, but like dancing dots of violet, blue and green. And wherever Organza stood she appeared in spotlight, like the beautiful actresses of the world.
Organza believed that she must have been very special in her mother’s eyes to be named after the dreamiest of fabrics.
Joy, Organza’s mother, was adamant that the world had changed colour the day her darling daughter came into existence with a sneeze. Yes, a sneeze, as simple as that. Childbirth was just a spore of pollen in a nostril.
“What colour was the world before I was born, Mother?” Organza asked.
“Black,” her mother replied, before downing a tumbler of foul-smelling liquor. “As black as a night without stars,” she slurred.
“What colour was the world after I was born, Mother?”
“Off-white,” smiled Joy. “Like a wedding gown.” Organza watched as her mother’s cheeks turned from grey to pink, as if kissed by bitten berry lips.
As the daughter of the Queen of Stars, Ulyana had known only vapid home scholars and dim nursemaids. So when a white dwarf star named Patrick extended an honest and gentle hand, Ulyana was oscillating above his blazing body before she could say contraception. On her 1000th birthday Ulyana gave birth to a dinky bundle of pink nebula. The Queen of Stars was outraged by her daughter’s dalliance with a man more than a billion years her senior and declared the newborn a “dormant, incapable of an incandescence befitting royal service”. The tiny star was banished to Earth where upon descent she would dissolve to twinkle dust and be ingested by a reproductively challenged female. The estimated journey time from night sky to semi-detached was eighty years. During that time, the Queen of Stars suffered a fatal supernova. She would not be missed.
On a Tuesday evening in December, seven years ago, a young woman in her twenties prepared a slap-up meal of shepherd’s pie and buttered baguette, before announcing to her beloved the miraculous conception. That young woman was Joy.
Nine months later, and with Joy in the climax of labour, Organza travelled the length of the birthing canal.
The wedding celebrations were commenced, with Ulyana, the celestial bride, resplendent in a trompe l’oeil tunic of off-white. Like many a forward-thinking star, she considered pure white an untrue reflection of her virginal state – and indeed of life itself. Patrick, never one to make a fuss, kept it classic in a haze of knitted maroon. Miles and miles of grosgrain ribbon snaked like runways between neighbouring galaxies, with an invitation to all. Guests vibrated to 80s power ballads. Meteors filled the sky with a shower of violet, blue and green. And with a final eruption of nuclear fusion, Ulyana and Patrick locked lips and vowed to watch over Organza for as long as they both shall live. And that was a very long time indeed.
With a final sneeze from a hospital bed, a star was born.