Eric the Astronomer lives alone, in a tower made of memories. Old notebooks, scribbled front and back. The musings of a day, rendered indecipherable by time. Yellowing sheet music of songs reticently tinkled for loved ones who appreciated the effort. Copper-bottomed frying pans which made French toast on Sunday mornings.
The things that are left behind after a life has happened.
He sleeps most of the day in his bric-a-brac minaret, until night falls and the stars and the planets come out, answering his call to prayer.
With mighty Jupiter he shares a glass of Scotch, and talks of his father – of whom he remembers very little – apart from the way he used to wink with just the corner of an eye. How that one tiny gesture would make him feel bigger than himself.
He dances with gentle Venus and tells her his favourite memories of Juliet and the life they shared together. Tonight it’s the time it was too rainy to take a boat out on Rydal Water, and a goose chased them along the lakefront. Neptune laughs.
Venus twirls across the firmament, and as she spins, she unravels spacetime like a spool of silk. The fabric of the universe detaches itself, rending apart the threads of this great celestial tapestry, and it’s as if Eric could reach out in to the nothingness and touch Juliet’s fingers one last time.
The solar system rearranges itself around him, and a single object falls slowly from the sky, dragging a comet’s tail in its wake. It’s an umbrella, and it lands softly at the top of the tower.
And so it goes on for Eric, night after night – this dance, this worship. And every night, Eric’s tower grows a little taller, heaven gets a little nearer.