by Lewis Christian
Barbara Moon is the single most important being in the entire universe; it’s true. She’s even more important than God, albeit slightly less famous.
Each day passes and each wrinkle tightens. She sits alone in her caravan, casually orbiting the planet Moonshine, waiting for the kettle to boil for the billionth time as she clutches a biro in one hand and countless papers in the other. She just sits; second-fiddle to God, yet slaves away doing all the work, spending 99.83% of every waking hour manually documenting the universe.
Nobody visits, nobody calls, but she gets on with it because she has to, because nobody else will.
Meanwhile, just beyond the gravity belt of Moonshine, there’s a stool down the local pub with God’s name on it and a leaning tower of graffitied beer mats full of new ideas for planets and beings, the sum total of his contribution to the universe he once proudly created. Beer mats, he concluded, were ideal because they ‘both held beer and also fit nicely into an envelope with no prior folding required unlike the awkwardly-sized A4’. Hence, by ‘countless papers’ earlier, I actually meant a stack of soggy beer mats. It was no wonder her home was frequented by confused alcoholics. In any case, though, they provided Barbara with a much-needed laugh throughout her heavy routine.
She zimmered on over to the kitchen for a brew; black coffee, her favourite. Reaching for her mug, she felt every bone in her body crack. She was so old now, and was mere days from retirement. Blacking out each day on her calendar made her smile grow wider – she couldn’t wait to just sit back and relax. In an odd sort of way, however, she knew deep down she would miss her job. After all, this was all she had ever really known. After worrying about the potential boredom of retirement she was scared half to death and so, from that day forth, she decided she’d never do that again. Instead, in between drawing up new galaxies and hammering out some timelines, she had started to plan her own future.
First, she would move out. She deeply adored her caravan as it’d been her safe haven for the last seventy-four years but it was time to move on, to leave her old lifestyle behind. Barbara mapped out her own gorgeous little cottage and garden in the south of a little country called England far across the universe on the famous Blue Planet. Of all matter she’d created under God’s orders, Earth was her proudest achievement – such diversity, and such beauty. Everything would be perfect there, with her elegant furnishings and the old wood-beamed ceilings she’d always desired. And actual proper walls with actual proper rooms separated by actual proper doors. All that complete with a lush acre of surrounding greenery and wide-open fields. Though she’d once designed heaven and knew it was just amazing, this little cottage was her personal idea of heaven.
Unfortunately, this dream would never become reality.
Instead, Barbara woke one morning to the sound of her alarm combined with her kitchen flying around the living area and her wardrobe slowly edging its way out of the gaping hole where her front door once hinged. Our moon was one small step for man, and one giant leap for mankind. But, for Barbara, it was just another component in the epic outer-space pinball machine her caravan hit as it hurtled its way tow-bar first through several galaxies, a wormhole and towards Earth.
It looked as though a bomb had hit; a harrowing sight. For miles around, scattered remains of this old woman’s life now lay, absolutely nothing could be salvaged. Except memories. Somehow, rather amazingly, this fragile woman had survived everything – beaten away death with her magical old walking stick I suspect – and survived the impossible.
Seven billion people in this world and, to this day, not one of them believes it. Not really, anyway – she’s just a story to them. I guess even I can’t believe it, not really, but I have to. I have to because when I visited this incredible woman at her deathbed she told me so many amazing and impossible stories, including this one – her final story – and then she also told me of her loneliness. For seventy-odd years, she’d been so very alone, floating in the endless vacuums of space.
Nobody visited, nobody called, and nobody believed her.
Lewis Christian is an aspiring writer currently studying Creative Writing at Edge Hill University, in the hope that one day he’ll become the first writer to carve a poem into the surface of Mars.