Sunspots (Part 1)
Ho Lin
[Total Pages: 20]
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The last time he had seen real stars, so many ages ago, he had nearly died. For the first four years of his life he had known both day and night, loved the children's storybook in which the sun waved good-bye as it sank below the horizon over successive pages and the moon celebrated its own arrival with a wink and an upraised hand (a gloved hand, the moon's hands were always gloved, like a gentleman about town). And so it went until the summer of his fourth year, on an unremarkable evening, when he dangled his legs off the front stoop of his family's apartment building that served as a porch, and watched the sun fall. And as soon as the first pinpricks of stars emerged in the still-aquamarine sky, he felt his chest constrict, as if someone was pressing hard there, then still harder. He was the sky and the stars were stress points

inside him, threatening to coalesce into something dense and virulent. The next thing he remembered was awakening in a clinic, respirator clamped over his mouth, doctors with luxurious beards and bad teeth fussing over him.

His condition lacked unanimous diagnosis. When morning came he was weak, his limbs like noodles, and when evening returned the same symptoms reasserted themselves with doubled force, and this time his body broke into a rash, whole whirlpools of angry red and pink marring his skin. It was suggested that he be kept in daylight for as long as possible while treatments were conducted, but the notion was only taken seriously when a young internist given to fanciful thinking suggested placing him on the next cross-continental cargo plane, the one that remained in perpetual sunshine during its 24-hour voyage