“You should go to the moon,” he says. “I’d go to the moon. And Mars. Did you know it takes two months to get there? Or it takes four years if you don’t leave at the right time. So you’d have to leave at the right time.”
He is sitting on top of a table swinging his legs. He needs a haircut. He is excited and scared and smart and I love him.
“We’ve done all the tests,” he says. “We tried the needle one with the string and it swung and it said it will be a girl. My wife is doing good, she’s happy, she’s healthy, we’re all doing good.”
He is going to be a father, this man. I walk away and write poems about him on flashcards. I think about how he has changed me as a person. I think about him being a father.
“I wanted to be a guitarist,” he told me. “A musician. Now I’m sitting on this table.”
Years later I see him again, with a tiny pink sweater thrown over his shoulder. His baby girl is growing up. Is he still growing up?
“What do you think it would be like to leave? To never see your family again? What if I didn’t hug my father goodbye? Do you think I would regret it?”
“I wanted to go to the moon,” I said, “when I was younger. Now I just want to see as much of this planet as I can. I haven’t even seen much of this country, not yet. How much time do I have? Why is it always going by? Should I hurry?”
“Juxtaposition,” he said from the table. “Do you know what that means?”
The moon is far away now. He is far away now. Mars is farther. I still remember what juxtaposition means. The flashcards are duller and the pencil is smudged but the words are still there.