I am very smart. My mother said so, so it must be real. Yesterday I said to her that I was born in the year 2209, because 2213 minus four is 2209. My mother applauded me, and said I was practically a genius. My father said I don’t even need to go to school, because I know everything there is to know.
I live in Louisville, and I am very lucky because it is the end of a long string of cities, meaning I live near the sky. A few months ago, I discovered that if I sneak out of Louisville and walk through some scary electric lines and stuff for about an hour and a bit, I will find the edge of the sky. That day I was chasing a butterfly, but then I got lost. I ran into a great big wall, and it was blue. There was no door, so I backed up to see that it was, in fact, the sky.
When I finally made it home, my parents were crying and the police people were looking for me. Preston, my babysitter, was being yelled at by his mother for letting me out of his sight. He usually stays and talks to me for hours, but that time he wasn’t in the mood, so he let me go out to play.
When I told my parents about the sky, they were very confused, and they also told me to never sneak out of Louisville again. But that didn’t stop me from asking mother questions about the sky, such as to why the temperature is always the same, and if it’s ever not sunny out. She always says that one day I will go way up there, and see the truth.
So today I am visiting the sky, against my parents orders. I wait until Preston uses the bathroom before sneaking out.
The time on my Kitten Meow Meow watch tells me it took an hour and forty five minutes to reach the edge this time. Maybe because I kept on stopping to check behind me, because it felt like somebody was watching me through the snarly looking fences and buildings. But nevertheless, I make it to the hexagons that make up the sky. The hexagons are so big, that I can’t even reach the top of one! They’re also wet. Actually no, just one is wet. Just a little stream of drippies that I’ve never seen before, coming from way up, up in the sky. It’s odd, because water never comes from the sky. I walk towards the stream, slowly. I’m about to touch when a voice behind me says:
“It’s called rain. From outside.”
I shriek and whip around to face the source of the voice.
Preston smirks at me, clearly glad to have scared me. He is what my parents call a, “wild child.”
“If you look way, way WAY up there,” Preston continues, pointing, “You’ll see a little hole in the sky. Then you can see the outer sky.”
I look up. Nothing but blue sky. Apparently it’s not outer sky.
Preston motions for me to come with him and starts jogging away. He looks excited.
After running for a bit Preston says,“It should be right around… here! Right - OOF!” He falls over.
Carefully, I get to where Preston is. When I feel in front of me, I realize that he ran smack into the sky. Groaning, he gets on his knees and feels the blue hexagons. After a while and another, “OOF!” Preston begins to scale the sky, like he’s on an invisible ladder. In fact, he IS on an invisible ladder! I follow him, and notice on one of the rungs, there are very faint blue letters that say a word I cannot read. It’s spelled M-A-I-N-T-E-N-A-N-C-E. But I do not have time to study it because Preston is already pulling up and away from me.
Suddenly, Preston stops and says we are halfway to the top. I look down and it’s like I’m on an airplane! I can see way beyond Louisville, cities and cities stretching so far away I cannot see them all. Then we continue.
At the top, there is a blue ledge. Preston collapses on it, and is breathing so heavily that it looks like he may faint. My father says that the older you get, the harder it is to move. I think that’s what’s happening to my babysitter.
He asks if I’m alright. I nod, I didn’t realize that I’m shaking and panting too.
When I look up, I can barely start to see hexagons above our heads. They are blue, but the sun is close to where we are, so some of them are blue- yellow. The sky is a huge dome, reaching way, way beyond Louisville. Preston and I look around, and he seems so jolly, like he’s just found a bunch of gold. Apparently he comes here as often as he can, to watch the outer sky.
“There!” he exclaims, grabbing me and pointing, “There is the outer sky! Look, it’s still raining.”
I look to the distance to see a hexagon that isn’t blue. It’s grey. And if I squint, I can see that there is water falling in the outer sky. Preston squeezes my shoulder so hard I think he’ll break it, but not before he breaks his face with his wide grin. The outer sky is fascinating. We gaze at the rain beyond the hole in the sky. It’s so far away that the huge hexagon looks like a tiny hole, completely invisible to the people on the ground below us, continuing with their lives. I can’t even see them from up here.
“If you come here at night,” Preston says, “It’s nice and quiet and you can hear the electricity humming in the sky. But the outer sky is probably not electric. One day I’m going out there to see rain, and all the other things. I like to think the outer sky is made by God. But this one is…”
He doesn’t finish. Instead, we sit there for a long time, watching a sky without a sun. Preston says that sometimes the outer sky has a sun, and sometimes there are white things coming from it called snow. I don’t know where he gets his facts from, but I like the thought that outside they have more than just the same sun every day.
Preston’s ancient iPhone 278 rings, jolting us away from the outer sky. It’s his mother screaming at him and wondering where we are.
“Oh well,” I sigh, “Back to the real world.”
Preston gestures to the small world beneath us and chuckles, “You call that real?”