When you say we’re moving to the moon, I laugh for a long time before realizing that you’re serious. You don’t say anything else, and I finish the rest of my breakfast in silence. I put the bowl in the sink and walk back up the stairs. The room on the left has been our bedroom for the past six years. Remember when all of this felt new? I watch you from the window, loading boxes into the spaceship. There’s a thing you do, which happens when you’re concentrating hard, absorbed by a single motion: you look the way you would if you were the only person alive. Once, that bubble would have included me. When I think about the way relationships end, with one person walking away from the other, I always imagine myself as the one who would do the leaving. These things have a way of signalling their arrival, and anyway I would have already been left. I think I would rather spend nights alone than to stay with a person who no longer looks at me the way he once did. “Goodbye”, I would say, “I am done with all this needing; this body wants these hands back.’ This body wants to belong to only itself again.” But then it is August, and I am strapped into a seat; I can feel my eardrums splintering with the sound, eyes rolling back involuntarily. This is the last image of the earth I have to hold onto: the blueness of the sky and sea. Then the ship is silent; and the darkness is beautiful. I look at you, concentrating hard on the shape of the moon, which is closer than it has ever been. Did you know that if you bite your tongue hard enough, it bleeds? The blood spills, forming a pool of metal in your mouth. I thought I knew how to leave, yes; but my first instinct is also always to swallow.
Natalie Chin grew up in Singapore and lives in London. She is the Literary Editor of Galavant Magazine & will graduate from University College London in June 2015. http://herbonestructure.com / http://twitter.com/herbonestrcture