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Different Planets

Page 7

Alison Knight

The moment Bridie returned from Sydney it was evident from her air of suppressed excitement that things had gone well.

‘Why don’t you get the dinner on and I’ll open a bottle of champagne?’ She hugged me tightly for a long moment and sighed. ‘What would I do without you, Jasmin?’

She seemed preoccupied during the meal.

‘You look tired.’

She tried a smile. ‘It’s been a big few days.’

After dinner, we went out onto the deck. I sipped champagne while Bridie fiddled with the telescope. It was then she showed me the Jewel Box. It was then she put the ring on my finger.

‘Something to remember me by,’ she said.

But I wasn’t really listening. I was gazing at the jewels that sparkled on my finger.

She leant against the railing, stared into the silence of the night sky.


She put her arm around me. ‘I’m going to miss you, Jasmin.’

‘Miss me? What do you mean?’

‘I’m going away. For a long time.’

My heart thudded, skipped a beat. ‘But you’ve only just got back.’

She pointed to a dull red dot in the sky. ‘See that?’

‘Mars. Yeah?’

‘I’ve been selected for the first Red Planet mission. One way trip. To boldly go et cetera.’

‘You’re joking.’

I looked at her face and knew she wasn’t.

‘It’s a great honour. I’ll be a pioneer.’

I clutched the railing. My knees buckled. I hardly heard the rest. Her knowledge of hydroponics…her engineering skills…her opportunity to fulfil a lifelong dream…

‘You’ll be all right, Jasmin. I’m leaving you the house, the land—everything.’ She patted my shoulder, edged away. ‘You’re stronger than you think.’


The stars blinked impassively as I howled into the infinite blackness of space.

Page 7

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