She opened her eyes to a deep violet sky spattered with lights of colors beyond imagination.
Stars, flickering in and out of life, close enough that she could reach out and bury her hands in them like sand.
She'd tried many times before, but night after night the stars proved themselves capable of evading all attempts at capture.
It was another dusk. Another breathtaking view she was blessed enough to take for granted.
Naomi paused to survey the sky and found Taurus in full bloom inches from her nose.
An endless expanse of blackness, pressed up against a glass-like surface beneath her feet, and Earth, tucked neatly between folds of empty space.
She allowed her gaze to dance from constellation to galaxy to nebula until finally, it fell on the faint radiance of sunset on the other side of the sky.
And outlined against the glowing embers was the Sun himself.
Naomi's heart had stopped skipping at the sight of space laid out above her long ago, but it had never ceased to flutter at the sight of him.
She didn't know his name, didn't know what he looked like.
She knew nothing about him except the shape of his silhouette against the fiery sky, yet she had once believed with every ounce of her being that he was destined for her, and she for him.
He had to be. He was the Sun. She was the Moon.
That was before she had given up on him, though. Just like she had given up on the stars and on her mother. It wouldn't happen.
They had never seen each other but for across this ridiculous expanse, so even if they did meet in back on Earth, they would have no idea. It would be pointless and heartbreaking to hope.
An instinct, a tingling sensation beneath her ribs, reminded her that she had yet to send the moon swimming up into the sea of stars above her.
Habit claimed her and tugged her eyes away from him, not hesitating to set her limbs to work immediately.
She stretched out her palm and coaxed the moon up from its sleep below the horizon and led it upwards, releasing it like a child would a balloon.
This kind of serenity was hard to come by on the planet nestled so tightly beneath her, yet she felt it every dawn and dusk as she guided her moon over and under the horizon.
Rarely interrupted, the peace she found here was--
Shoot. She had a paper to write for history. Due tomorrow.
Double-checking that the moon was safely on its course above her, Naomi crossed her legs and sat, letting her eyelids slide shut.
She concentrated, willing her consciousness to leave this place behind, and after a moment, felt her body jolt awake in her bed.
She shook the sleep out of her joints and rolled over beneath the blankets, groaning and seriously considering forgetting the paper altogether.
Suddenly, a memory struck her hard in the gut -- the image of her dad at the kitchen table in the middle of the night, a mess of bills fanned out in front of him.
Naomi had poked her head around the corner, shallow breaths whispering between her lips as she observed, unnoticed.
He bit the pad of his thumb, and a broken, desperate sound escaped, one hand stringing through greying hair while the other struggled to make ends meet for an ambitious college student,
two hungry young girls, and a lonely father. She'd stayed there too long, scared to move and betray her intrusion, but agonized to keep watching as silent tears crept down his cheeks.
The consideration died there. Resolve took its place. The tack, tack of computer keys echoed through her room until pale moonlight began to shrink away from the window.