“mom,” eight-year-old safiya asks. “what are we made of?”
she runs her hand affectionately through her daughter’s hair, a small smile twitching at her lips. “you’ve learnt that at school, raja. muscles and bones and—”
“not that. tell me a story.”
a story. how could she ever resist?
with a sigh, she began: “years ago, the stars wept. they triggered an explosion, and our earth was formed from their blood. the skies wept at being separated from their master, and thus we got the sea. you and i, we’re made of stardust. we are celestial beings connected by narrow strands of humanity; we are but dirt in its most complex form.”
“really?” her daughter asks, wonder twinkling in her eye.
“promise,” she replies, and they watch their siblings plummet downwards, burning balls of light, and she wonders if that could have been them, a different possibility.