by Terence Cantarella

The old wind-up clock on the bedside table said three a.m. and the boy, sitting on his windowsill, fought the heavy, persuasive lure of sleep. The street below was empty except for the occasional moped whirring by in the night, briefly obscuring the nighttime cricket songs of summer and throwing up invisible plumes of pungent smoke. Ship lights blinked in the dark distance and some were so far out to sea that it was hard to tell whether they were stars low on the horizon or large vessels on the verge of dipping down to the other side of the earth. An hour passed and drowsiness eventually jumbled his thoughts to the point of hallucination, until he slid off of the windowsill and onto his bed, but sleep didn't come easily and once again he was awake and staring at the stars through the open window. For years, they appeared as white dots painted on a flat surface, but now he could see their depth and understood that the bright ones were closer and the faint ones farther away. The notion of eternity briefly entered his brain and a sick, helpless feeling took hold of his gut and he closed his eyes and tried to think of something else, but the thought would never be far from his mind again.


Terence Cantarella is the author of "The Goddess in the Lemon Grove," a novel about two young boys on a Greek island who convince themselves that they can sail a small fishing boat to America to escape their difficult lives. You can see more of his work here.