Bounce

This world was not always a planet of blue.  In the early times, she was small, and without much to make her significant, unattractive to the other planets.  They hurled passing meteors at her and mocked her weeping.  She suffered each blow, absorbing the painful collisions.  Metals and stone, frozen gases and water ice, each hurt differently.

Then came the worst of all.  Another planet, equally bland, had been tossed into her path.  It was smaller than she was.  This had happened before, and her entire surface shuddered at the memory of it.  She didn’t know how she could survive that again.  Parts of her had never healed properly, and she could still feel plates rubbing against one another deep inside where once there had been fiery peace.

She watched the planet as it came nearer.  The water ice she had taken in from so many frozen meteors over the years melted from the heat of her fear.  Great oceans spread across her skin. Thick clouds lifted into air and wept down upon her body.

“Why don’t you alter your course?” called the planet.  “That big ringed planet threw me directly into your path.”

“I know,” she cried.  “I don’t know how to change course.  This is going to hurt.”

“I’d say,” said the planet, getting closer.  “I’ve changed course several times already.  Maybe it’s easier for planets my size.  Let me try.”

The little bland planet huffed and groaned, and bit by bit, was able to change her course just enough.  Now, instead of collision, she found herself drawn into a loop around the weeping planet.

“Well now,” she said, “I didn’t see that coming.  I guess it’s better than colliding, anyhow.  How do you do?  I’m Moon.”

“I’m Earth,” said the formerly weeping planet.  She wasn’t weeping anymore.  She was so relieved, she felt like spinning double-speed.

“Well Earth,” said Moon, “since it seems we’re to be close from now on, we may as well get to know each other.  What has you so sad?”

“Oh, the other planets throw things at me,” she sniffed.  “It’s terribly painful.”

“Why don’t you throw them back?” asked Moon.

Earth hadn’t considered this before.  “I want them to like me,” she said.  “If I throw things back at them, then I’m behaving no better than they are.”

Moon thought this over.  “Good point,” she said at last.  “That doesn’t mean that you need to take everything they throw at you, though.  The way I see it, nobody should be able to decide what you keep as part of yourself.  I say you decide, and reject whatever you don’t want.”

“How do I do that?” asked Earth.

“The next time they throw something at you,” said Moon, “throw it back just a little.  Not so much that it reaches them, just enough to push it away.”

It wasn’t long before Earth and Moon spotted a meteor whizzing toward them.

“I’ll give it a try,” Earth said, unsure.

She concentrated, and at the moment of impact, instead of absorbing the force of the collision, she held firm.  The meteor hopped away from her and skittered off in a different direction.  She had a pock where it had glanced across her skin, but it wasn’t nearly the pain she was used to.

“This could work,” she said.

Years passed after that last meteor without another incident.

“Why do you suppose they stopped?” she asked Moon after she was sure she wasn’t imagining the respite.

“Have you seen yourself lately?” asked Mars as he passed nearby.  “You’re the most interesting one among us.  Your blue and white, and green, it’s a stunning combination.  I think Venus is jealous.”

“Why do they continue to ignore me?” asked Earth.  All she had ever wanted was to belong.

“Because you’re beautiful,” laughed Mars.  “Jupiter has been practicing his apology for several rotations now and Saturn is too embarrassed to speak.”

“They should be,” said Moon.

Mars shrugged.

“You’re talking to me,” said Earth.

“Yes, well, I’m hoping you’ll forgive me,” said Mars, “and teach me that trick.”

“What trick?” asked Earth.

“The one where you reject what’s thrown at you,” said Mars.

“Simple,” said Earth.  “I don’t let it in.  No part of it.  Only I get to choose what I incorporate into myself.”  She cast a wink toward Moon, who beamed at her in encouragement.

“That’s wonderful,” said Mars.  “What do you call this trick?”

Earth had to think.  “Self respect,” she said.

“Well,” said Mars, having to raise his voice as their paths grew farther apart, “it suits you.”

Earth and Moon shared a smile.

“Thank you,” said Earth.  “Without your friendship, I never would have had this.”

“You’re welcome,” said Moon.  “And without your friendship, I never would have seen how lovely self respect can be.”

Written by W. C. McClure www.wcmcclure.com. The characters and events in this story are a work of fiction.  Any similarities to persons living or dead are purely coincidental.  This short story may be shared (and please do); just please be sure to share it in its entirety, unaltered (and including this fine print), with credit given to W. C. McClure. Comments are welcome at http://www.farsideofdreams.com. Oh, and if you want to show your support, tell your friends about this short story blog – and pick up one of W. C. McClure ‘ s books.  Thanks!

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