It has taken over fifty years to reach this point. When David Bowie hears the countdown in his headset, each number hits him like a cold bullet and brings him a step closer to 1969, to his first hit, to the inside joke that made him a star. Later, as they’re unraveled into orbit—the sixty-minute spacewalk for which he’s paid almost everything—David Bowie turns slowly in the less than-gravity to face his wife, Somali supermodel Iman (for whom he has written songs, unlike this one), only to find that in her spacesuit and helmet she has lost virtually all form. A voice crackles through his headset, “I love you, Dave,” but it is a voice he doesn’t recognize. He reaches out and touches her shoulder through six layers of Gore-Tex, nylon, and Mylar. The sensation is like pressing into a fossil.
The line revisits him long after he could be expected to have a response: he sings, “Tell my wife I love her very much. She knows.” But beyond its obvious self-reference Iman knows the truth, just as she knows exactly when her husband was lost to the distant past, and as they unspool from each other David Bowie looks down at the glowing surface beneath them and realizes his mistake: Planet Earth is blue. And white. And green. And yellow. When he returns home he will begin painting again. Somewhere over Tucson, Arizona, a star falls from the sky.
Simon Jacobs is a writer from Ohio currently living in NYC. He curates the Safety Pin Review, a wearable medium for work of less then 30 words, and his writing has appeared in places like Paper Darts, Columbia Poetry Review, PANK, and Best Gay Stories 2013. He may be found at simonajacobs.blogspot.com or if you like on twitter.