As soon as I was sharp enough, my mum told me I was born under a red comet trail.
She would remind me every birthday, how the rare comet was due for its annual crossover.
It wasn’t until I turned 10, that she bought me my first telescope, she said she wrapped it with love.
After I unwrapped my present, we spent all afternoon putting it together, aligning the viewfinder.
She called it the blood comet, to match my hair, and my hot-blooded temperament.
That night, we set up the telescope and fixed it on a patch of stars we called ‘The Mumma and Babe’.
After a few hours of nervous stargazing, we caught a twinkle and saw the trail of the blood comet.
It passed over the lens, and dragged across a clear night sky, like a rogue flare over a freckled ceiling.
I always remember that night; nothing lit up the sky quite like that outer space rouge rock.
She put comets over my eyes, I was forever changed, she gave me direction in this humble universe.
Decades later, after I secured my position at Star Command, I took a break for my mum’s health crisis.
It wasn’t long after my mum was diagnosed with cancer, I visited her house and found the telescope.
I made sure to stop by my mum in hospital, it was nearing my birthday and I wanted to surprise her.
Twenty years had passed since I first saw the blood comet, and now it was coming round again.
I spent a week by her bed, we viewed the moon in close-up every night before visiting hours ended.
The night of my birthday, I brought the viewfinder bedside and let her watch the miracle in action.
‘There it is, there it goes! Have a look.’ She said with heavy breathes.
‘This time it looks different, smaller, in fact.’
‘That’s cause it’s hurtling through space; shedding its wings with every go around.’
‘Sorry the telescope is so dusty. Didn’t have time to clean it on my way over.’
‘Give it a spit polish now. Did you remember to clean the lens?’
I grabbed a wet wipe and dusted the telescope top to bottom, till I happened upon the lens.
‘The lens, it has a kiss all over it. Was that you? Has that been making the comet red all this time?’
‘I told you; I packed it with love.’
‘And the comet, is it an annual occurrence, or is it any old random comet?’
‘It’s whatever phenomena you want it to be.’
‘Did the doctor tell you your progress, and your likelihood of beating this?’
‘Doc said “I’ve got a meteor’s hope if this treatment lands.” Let’s hope it’s a red miracle.’
My mum beat cancer, I survived by her kisses to my head, every peck would plant stars over my eyes.
Dedicated to my mum.
(Artwork assisted by AI, Powered by Midjourney Nov ’22 Image rights belong to me
Prompt: telescope in a backyard under a clear night sky of one red comet:: --ar 3:2 --test)