Lucille 1: Sonder

Lucille 1


n. the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own—populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness—an epic story that continues invisibly around you like an anthill sprawling deep underground, with elaborate passageways to thousands of other lives that you’ll never know existed, in which you might appear only once, as an extra sipping coffee in the background, as a blur of traffic passing on the highway, as a lighted window at dusk.

— The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

Dear Lucille,

I know that you aren’t aware of this, but today, you passed by me on the motorway. I was just emerging from the service lane into the highway, when you whizzed by at breathtaking speed. I gave chase, but my old Jalopy was certainly no match to your pearl LaCrosse. So I hugged your wake, and tailed you till you disappeared far ahead. And for those precious minutes that I could still spot you ahead, I remained in Utopia.

Lucille, you left behind a portion of your essence on the motorway.

Perhaps it’s my imagination, but as long as I remained in that outermost lane, I could pick up your fragrance. It was a heady sensation – riding a Jojoba and Eucalyptus trail. Memories were unlocked; of idyllic meadows, of scenic nature trails… and of vast savannas. But at one time, a ChromaFlared roadster cut in ahead of me, and the scent abruptly gained some Tiare and bergamot notes. You used to wear these ones too. And once again, yet other memories flooded; of Samoan rainforests, of a great many lakeside walks… and of misty, sleepy skylines. I was enchanted. And I wondered whether I was turning into a synesthetic.

A few wistful wishes run across my mind then. Forgive me, Lucille, but my professional background rendered a rather bland dimension to the wishes. For instance, I imagined myself getting out of the jalopy, standing on the tarmac, and twirling round and round, until I robbed the earth a teeny tiny fraction of its rotational velocity, and extended the day by a single, precious millisecond. Doubtless, by the time I achieved this, my entire mind would be scrambled from all the twirling, but that extra millisecond would be a unique, original, and priceless gift from me to you. And as you experienced that extra millisecond, I would lie on that tarmac, oblivious to the world… having fried my mind completely. And I would smile, contended.

I imagined launching myself into a geostationary orbit, and acting as your personal sentinel from deep space. I would bear up with the freezing cold, the utter silence, and the vacuum of deep space, just to maintain a constant proximity between us. I would master celestial mechanics, and draw up intricate ephemerides of all asteroids. And whenever any asteroid broke free from the belt, and headed towards earth, I’d have you look into the skies, witness the shooting star, and make a wish for us. And upon the dusk of my days, I’d launch myself from orbit, descend towards earth, and turn myself into a shooting star in the earth’s atmosphere.

My mind explored the toil of time on your fragile beauty, Lucille. And I vowed, in my fantasy, to craft a space-ship for you, launch you into deep space, and activate a luminal-velocity space-drive. At this velocity, time for you would come to a standstill, and you would never grow old. Instead, you would transverse the hearts of galaxies, make acquaintances with quasars and pulsars, and skim along the event horizons of black holes. You would peer through the windows of the multiverse, tunnel through worm holes, and surf on cosmic gyres. Truly, you would become ageless, and your true spirit would emerge: the spirit of stellar dust… a heart after my own.

Yours forever enchanted,

Cystorm Cintanex

 N/B: For a related note, see Lucille 2: La gaudière

About Joseph Wahome

Used to the quirky side of life: been there, done that, got burnt, got redeemed, sticking the neck out again, but this time, with some titanium necklaces.

19 thoughts on “Lucille 1: Sonder

  1. john zande says:

    Brilliant, and loved The Pale Blue Dot. Yours? If so, I have a sneaking suspicion you’d love reading Robert Reed.


    • Joseph Wahome says:

      As ever, I’m very grateful for your kind words, John. And yes, all those notes that have been hyperlinked to are mine. That’s my facebook profile there. If you have a facebook account, perhaps we can link up there too.


      • john zande says:

        Certainly, but fair warning, I’m not very active on FB


        • Joseph Wahome says:

          Ah, I see. Well then, if you prefer that we interact solely through this WordPress platform, that is very okay. I’ve realized that most bloggers on WP tend not to be active on FB. Which is quite okay.

          Say, could you recommend anything by Robert Reed that I could start on, to get a feel of his works?


          • john zande says:

            I check FB, but don’t post much… Or anything, really. Marrow is the first in the Great Ship books (two published, The Well of Stars is 2nd, eagerly awaiting the third, but there’s a collection of short stories in The Greatship). The opening of Marrow sprung to mind reading you Pale Blue Dot. I started with Marrow and became a hopeless, hopeless, hopeless fan of his writing, devouring everything I could get my hands on. The man thinks BIG and has an astonishing way with words. Without doubt, the best Science Fiction I’ve read. Sister Alice is superb, and Memory of the Sky is an expose of great writing. I actually contacted Reed after finishing that book as I needed a question answered. He was kind enough to answer it.


  2. mark says:

    Excellent writing, and I should just clarify that I rarely use the word excellent and only when I mean it. This was poetic as well as being your usual scientific self and both aspects worked well. I hope that I am not wrong in presuming the ‘1’ would indicate that this is the first of a series, I look forward to more.
    Also, just wondering, is ‘The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows’ also yours, I’ve just had a quick look at the page and on first impressions it is also excellent.
    Thanks for the read.


    • Joseph Wahome says:

      Hello there, Mark: thanks for your compliments. I’m humbled. And yes, this is the first of what will become a series of similar-themed letters. I like creating series, but as ever, every single installation can be read separately.

      “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” is not mine. However, I find that it really resonates well with most of my perspectives. There are a lot of deeply-felt sentiments over there.

      So do stay locked, Mark – more such narrations are on the way.


  3. Sonel says:

    Another excellent piece of writing Joe and so very true. I am always amazed at people always hurrying past and not appreciating the beauty around them. Great sentiments indeed. 😀


    • Joseph Wahome says:

      Thanks for your comments, Sonel. Indeed, people rush all over, and never stop for a moment to simply live. There’s a saying – let’s stop existing, and start living. For, after all, our lives here on earth are the most precious gift we can ever hope for, and to waste it in a lifeless existence is unfortunate.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Wow, this was very visual. You’re a great writer, Joseph.


  5. makagutu says:

    John this is truly awesome


  6. emmylgant says:

    Well… You just blew my mind. Synesthesia indeed.


    • Joseph Wahome says:

      I tend to think that people who are synesthetic must see the world in a totally different way from the rest of us, Emm. It must be interesting to taste colors, to hear numbers, to smell music, and so on.


  7. […] N/B: For a related note, see Lucille 1: Sonder […]


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