4.5 Vega, Altair, Deneb


The train to Brindleton Bay pulled out of the station.

As we waved, as the left behind did, they waved back: three happy figures in a perfect family unit, faces half-turned to face their brighter future. Upwards, onwards, to happier things.

We had all anticipated this day. It was long overdue, in fact. But when Altair finally hugged me goodbye and muttered a hurried “you take care of yourself, Vega”, it felt like a heartbreak. I had welcomed two brothers into my world. Now they had left me in turn as I, a useless old maid, remained. All I had left was consolation in the fact that this ending, at least, was a happy beginning.

Not a word was said on the drive home, except for Iris, gracing us with her attention long enough for her to snap at Deneb’s tears. 

Gem, tired from emotions and the heat, had gone to bed early. Deneb however, her eyes swollen and rimmed with red, hadn’t been able to fall asleep, though she had exhausted herself sobbing into my arm all evening. 

I took her out that night past the well-manicured lawn kept by Mister Fontaine to where the grass grew wild. We hadn’t been stargazing in a while now, but the lights that brightened the night sky had stayed the same, comforting in their consistency.

“Uncle Altair will always be there for you, as will I,” I told Deneb as our eyes traced the familiar patterns. “I named you myself, so I can keep us all together, even when we are apart. Do you see?” I pointed them out, the names carved into my heart; the three brightest stars in the summer sky: Vega, Altair, Deneb. “Every summer, you can see us rising together, brighter than all the rest.” I squeezed her hand. She squeezed back.

“Where can we see Gem?”

My finger travelled down the sky to hover doubtfully around the treeline. “Oh, we can’t see him from here. He’ll be low on the horizon tonight, next to Taurus.” 

It was fitting, really, that his namesake should be next to his father’s. They resembled each other so much. Was that what Iris was thinking when she named her son? Or was it yet another way for her to disavow her daughter? Perhaps both thoughts were going through her mind as she named her first child Gemini.

Gemini, a name meant for two.

“Gem likes to pretend he visits when we’re sleeping. Dad, that is,” Deneb said sleepily, breaking into my thoughts. “He says he likes to think dad tucks us in and strokes our hair and tells us he’s proud of us.”

I realised with a trill of guilt that all this time I had been so focused on Deneb, who had also lost her mother’s love, that I had forgotten that she was not the only one who had lost a father. 

Would I ever do anything different, though? I loved Gem, I did. But he would never weigh larger on my heart than Deneb.

My own father told me, once, that children grow off of their parent’s love. I always thought I would tell that to my own children. But how cruel those words would sound to these children, how blessed and sheltered I was.

“I’m sure he is watching you proudly. Both of you,” I whispered, but Deneb had already fallen asleep.


It’s the 31st here! Wishing everyone a happy new year. Hopefully 2021 is kinder on us. Stay safe, and see you all next year 🙂

5 thoughts on “4.5 Vega, Altair, Deneb

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s