“I did it,” I whispered to myself, imagining that first day I lugged Theia’s gold legs onto the deck. She’s beautiful. You could stare into her eye all day without absorbing its true beauty. She’s sturdy and strong, like you need her to be. Her golden skin a friend to the moonlight, and enemy to the sun. Not to mention those legs. They go on for days, and their smooth, shiny reflection captures any light that dares to mask their glow.
She’s the prettiest telescope in the world – and she’s mine.
Slowly slipping Theia’s legs into her secured position, I looked at all the still water around me, and the hundreds of metal boats that were evenly spread out across it. I saw Mrs. Harper stuffing the Davis family’s canoe with fish right on schedule and, without a beat miss Davis hastily explaining she’ll have her fishing rods fixed next week. Again, right on schedule. We’d all become a family out here on our little sardine cans, there were dozens of boats connected by hand made metal bridges, and someone was always taking their canoe to a friend’s boat across the village. The Hartwell’s with the biggest boat, hold a feast after every storm with such consistency that I get hungry every time I see the clouds turn grey. As I made my way to the mast line, I saw Mr. Hartwell hitting golf balls off the top of his boat. The green plastic bristles that lay flat under his ball shake and fall back into place with his swing. They’re so beautiful, and even though mom says it’s nothing like real grass, I always want to swim over and walk on it.
Pulling my eyes away from the grass I hauled the mast line down just enough to turn home towards the sun. We were lucky enough to have our boat on the community’s edge where the ocean never ended and there were no silver boats in site. Here and only here could I revel in emptiness, like a bottle alone on the ocean’s floor. I ran my fingers along the notches I had carved into the boat’s metal side, 300 little dashes for each time I’d spotted the rock. It was miles away with waves blocking its view and harsh sunlight hiding it with a glare. But when the sun was just right, and the water was calm, the rock was as clear as ever, staring back at me and asking if I’d visit.
I waited until the sun had calmed and there was only a silent glow of light over the water. Everyone had gone in their cabins to prepare for dinner, the silence of their absence was a comforting symphony. I lifted Theia’s head and pointed it directly at the heart of the rock, took the cover off her eye, and gave it one quick rub with my sleeve for good measure. Then our eyes met. I saw through Theia green grass flowing like mom’s hair in the wind. Each leaf had its own dance, but met together like a school of fish chasing plankton. When the wind forced it back, a flash of silver smiled at me, only to be quickly stirred back into a conjoined flow. It was moving. It was breathing. It was alive. And in the very center stood something I had never seen before. A long leaf of grass stood tall against the others. It wasn’t swayed by the wind’s persuasion and had on it’s top a colorful hat. Yellow like the buoys that marked the community’s boundary lines. The yellow exploded from the top of the grass blade, moving only slightly in the wind’s presence. It has in it’s center a green button that held the soft yellow to the top. When it turned to face the sun, the yellow hands made a bowl to collect the rays of summer sunlight that remained in the air. It sucked up the sun until it was gone, and I couldn’t see it stand alone in the grass anymore.
Finally pushing away from Theia, I ran my finger along the circle that now surrounded my eye. The rock was a rock again, and the lighthouse that stood strong in the moving grass was hidden through the weakness of the human eye. Suddenly people started to emerge from their cabins, preparing the evening’s festivities of a communal swim in the large gap that lie between Mr. Hartwell’s boat and the others. I knew once people had caught a glimpse of Theia, they too would want to look in her eye, and uncover the world hidden around us through distance. They would pull each yellow arm from the lighthouse. They would pluck every leaf of grass. Until the rock, like the rocks our ancestors once stood on, sunk below the water too. Quickly I picked up a knife and scratched the dashes on the boat’s side until it was one big gash. I unhooked Theia’s legs from their secured position and lifted her to the boats edge. Once more, I brought my eye to Theia’s. I saw the lighthouse waving to me. How lonely she must be. How happy she must be.
Theia was in my hands, and I knew the only way to protect the rock was to let her go. Quickly I threw her into the ocean and watched her sink into darkness with our secret.