The Two of Us by Chris Green
‘There are no stars out tonight,’ Cindy says. ‘Why are there no stars, Matt?’
‘You don’t get stars every night,’ I say. ‘Perhaps there will be some tomorrow.’
‘But, it has been a clear day,’ Cindy says. ‘There should be stars after a clear day.’
‘That’s true,’ I say.
‘So what do you think is happening?’ Cindy says.
‘I don’t know,’ I say. ‘But I wonder if it has something to do with that explosion earlier.’
‘What do you mean?’ Cindy says.
‘We’ve always been taught to believe that the stars are, you know, out there in space,’ I say. ‘But what if it isn’t so? Lots of things that we are told turn out to be wrong, don’t they? We were told there was a bearded fellow in the sky who would get angry and punish us if we weren’t good. But no-one ever saw him. We were told there was a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. But no one ever found it. We were told that computers would give us hours and hours of free time and lead to a paperless office. But, we are still waiting on both counts. So, you can’t believe everything you see or hear. How do we know the stars are really there?’
‘You mean the night sky could be an illusion to fool us into thinking that the universe is bigger than it is,’ Cindy says.
‘Or perhaps to fool us into thinking that the universe exists at all,’ I say. ‘The universe could be a colossal projection.’
‘But what about the moon?’ Cindy says. ‘I can see the moon. The moon is still there.’
‘Difficult to say,’ I say. ‘Perhaps the moon is not part of the night sky projection.’
‘What do you imagine caused the explosion, anyhow?’ Cindy says.
‘It could be terrorist activity. I know we don’t hear a lot about it now but it might still be happening,’ I say.
‘Or it might be some kind of accident,’ Cindy says.
‘We will probably never know what caused it,’ I say. ‘I expect vested interests will want to keep it secret.’
‘But we might get the stars back one day if they repair the damage to the universe projection,’ Cindy says.
‘Could be,’ I say. ‘Who knows?’
‘There are a lot of uncertainties, aren’t there?’ Cindy says.
‘Shall we just enjoy the moonlight,’ I say.
Cindy and I decide to go about our lives as we normally would. Even if we don’t discover why the stars have gone, they will hopefully be back one day. Meanwhile, we still have the moon. And after all, it is in the nature of things to disappear from time to time. We ought to be used to this. It does not necessarily mean that they are gone forever. Cindy keeps losing her keys and I keep losing my glasses but they do reappear when the time is right. A while ago, the internet vanished for a few months. No-one discovered what had happened. But, eventually, it came back on and it was much easier to navigate. There were just a handful of sites rather than the millions there had been. Since then it has become simpler still. There is now just one site. TV programmes disappeared and when they returned they too were different, most of them in another language. But at least there were programmes to watch once more. There were fewer funny ones but heigh ho.
Days pass and the stars do not return. Then, after its regular monthly waning, the moon does not reappear in the night sky. Instead of a new moon, there is no moon.
Once more, Cindy says, ‘It has been a clear day. There should be a moon.’
Once more I agree that it has been sunny.
‘What do you think has happened to the moon?’ Cindy says.
‘Perhaps there was another explosion while we were asleep last night,’ I say. ‘I did think I heard something round about three o’clock.’
‘You think that the moon too was nothing more than a projection then?’ Cindy says.
‘It’s certainly a possibility,’ I say.
We have been led to believe that the moon exerts a strong gravitational pull on the Earth and it is this gravitational pull that causes the seas to rise and fall in what we call tides. More importantly, perhaps, we have been told that the moon stabilises the Earth’s rotation. But what if the moon’s function, all these years, has been a purely decorative one? It is too early to say yet if the Earth’s rotation is less stable but the tide seems to be coming in. In fact, there are quite big waves.
‘There’s something else I’ve noticed,’ Cindy says.
‘It’s not about the car not working, is it?’ I say.
‘No. It’s something else,’ Cindy says.
‘Ah! I think I know what you are going to say,’ I say.
‘There don’t seem to be any people,’ Cindy says. ‘I can’t remember when I last saw anyone.’
‘They became a bit thin on the ground after the stars went out,’ I say. ‘We had to change the seven a side rugby tournament to a one a side rugby tournament. And still, there were only two teams.’
‘No-one won the lottery last week because no-one bought a ticket,’ Cindy says. ‘And now there’s no TV.’
‘Even the internet has gone,’ I say.
‘What do you think has happened to all the people?’ Cindy says. ‘Where has everyone gone?’
‘It probably has something to do with the explosions,’ I say. ‘We could be the last two people left. Like in that book by the Australian fellow. They made it into a film.’
‘You’re thinking of, On the Beach,’ Cindy says.
‘That’s the one,’ I say. ‘I think this is it.’
‘So, that means it’s just the two of ……
© Chris Green 2018: All rights reserved