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July 2, 2012
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I wear a blue plastic retainer at night. It's painful, tight on my teeth, as if my mouth has outgrown it. I don't put it in often enough, so the shape of my jaw twists and changes, until I remember how much I despised braces and consent to slip it in, and I lie awake at night, loathing the imperfection of my teeth and the ache that pulses there as my mouth readjusts to the wires and plastic that force my jaw into the correct position.

I wear glasses too – ugly things, dark maroon on top, with a thin, squishy plastic wire on bottom instead of another rim. Not many people know I have them. When I was a kid, I had the rimless kind – some part of me believed them to be less noticeable. I'd pop the lenses out and tell my father I slipped on the gravel at recess so I could get away with days without the slippery plastic ridge balanced on my nose, and the glances I got for being the only nine-year-old with glasses. Nowadays, I use contacts, and I slip my glasses case under my pillow when people come calling. It's a shock to everyone when my eyes grow weary of my contact lenses and I'm forced into using my glasses for a day.

Imperfections. Easy to hide, but aggravating that they should exist at all.

When I walk, no one notices the tremor in my legs – my knees are bad, worn down from years of biking and running. Nor do they see the mousy brown roots of my hair – hair dye is a wonderful invention. Or the way I gnaw on my nails; that's hidden under a thick layer of dark blue nail polish.

We glue ourselves back together at the end of the day.

I was twelve the first time I saw the universe do the same. She's a vain old thing, same as us. When we're not peering at her with our colossal telescopes or probing her very being with our electron microscope, she powders herself, fixes herself up. It's almost like she's on a date with us at a fancy French restaurant, and she's slipping into the bathroom to check her hair.

It's because of my imperfections – my teeth, my eyes, my hair, my knees, my nails – that I ever saw her at all. Or so I like to think. Birds of a feather and all that. Us imperfects have to stick together.

I climb on my roof in the summer. Dad doesn't approve. He says it loosens the shingles and he doesn't want to pay to have new ones put down. I ignore him – I'm pretty good at that. Usually, I only go up in the heat of day, with sunlight beating down on me, so I can see where I place my feet and I don't slip over the edge and tumble the twenty-odd feet to the dead brown grass below. But dad was out of town – Germany, I think, or maybe Singapore – and I was feeling rebellious.

So I climbed up at night.

That might have been stupid. In the summer, in the middle of the night, raccoons scramble around on my roof, snatching the unripe, hard little green peaches off the tree in my wilted backyard. I hate raccoons – their golden eyes, their little claws, the way they move almost but not quite like my cat. I was lucky that night – there were no raccoons up there to join me.

But there was the universe. She was polishing a star. Now, I'm no astronomer; I have no idea which one she was scrubbing at with her silver rag. She was gazing at this little pale blue ball like it was the most important thing to have ever been created, and maybe it was. Maybe that star's got a planet circling around it with the real chosen ones, or maybe it doesn't. Maybe she just liked the quiet flicker, the subtle strength as it burned.

I said hi to her as I settled against the chimney. She glanced at me, raised an eyebrow.

"It's late, kid," she told me, turning the star this way and that in her long, delicate fingers and examining it for spots and flares.

"My dad's not here," I said in reply, stretching my legs before me. The breeze had died. I couldn't hear the traffic from the main road, half a mile from my house. "And I don't have a babysitter this time. I'm too old for one."

"How old are you?" the universe asked, before gently blowing on the little star and giving it a last little scrub before she hung it up again to dry. She reached out for the moon and began to slowly buff it, polishing it until her reflection shone down on this little world.

"I'm twelve," I replied proudly. "I'm mature for my age, though. Everyone says so, because I can bike to the grocery store and do my laundry and I get up on time for school." She smiled, briefly, attention focused on the moon. "How old are you?"

"Ooo, been a while since someone asked me that," she muttered, scrubbing at a crater. "Thirteen or fourteen billion years old, give or take a few million years." She paused, examined her work, pursed her lips. "I've lost count though," she admitted as her cloth glided over a mountain range.

I remember thinking that that was sad. I told her as much. She just looked amused. "Well, it's just been me for a very long time," she said, "I don't usually do much with my colleagues." Her gaze shifted to me. There was a star being born, in the corner of her eye, and a nebula shifting through the gentle waves of her hair, shimmering like an oil spill. "Tell me, and do be honest - does the sun need polishing?"

I shrugged. "Venus is looking dull lately," I offered. She nodded slowly, contemplating, and reached out a hand, pulling Venus towards her so she could bring it to its former glory.

I had a book and a flashlight in my pocket. I pulled them out and flipped through the pages. There was a quote I wanted to share with her, I remember that much, but when I peeked over the cover of my book, she was already gliding away, Venus glowing like a newborn planet in her wake, reaching for another star far away that needed mending.

I saw her again, when I was fifteen. I was in Norway that time, with my dad, visiting some relative of his who pinched my cheeks and fed me too much boiled fish and potatoes. Summer in Norway is exasperating, and very strange. Land of the Midnight Sun is the right title for it. Dad's relatives didn't invest in blackout curtains, only these flimsy lace affairs that let sunlight in constantly so I never knew when it was time to go to bed.

So I usually stayed outside, unaware if it was night or day, until dad called me back to the house so I'd remember to sleep a spell.

The house – this traditional little Norwegian house, red and stout with thick windows – sat right on the bottom of a fjord, next to the water. It took me an hour or so to reach the summit. There were some wooden planks in my relatives' garage, and at the beginning of our two-month stay, I dragged them up to the top, along with a hammer and some nails, and put together a shoddy bench. I'd creep out with my books and sketchpad and spend hours there while dad and his family laughed and chattered away in that stout red house, drinking coffee and eating pastries.

That's where I saw the universe for the second time – two or three days after Midsummer, after we'd set up this huge pile of sticks and logs and poured lighter fluid all over it, which led to an  enormous bonfire on the beach in the eerily pure light of a Scandinavian summer and I'd eaten myself sick on strawberries and ice cream.

The universe was sewing clouds together – not our clouds, the kind we have down here, but nebulas. I asked her why she was working on them. "Star nurseries," she said. Her stiches were very small and precise, and the fabric flowed like water under her careful hands. "Of course, you won't see these. The light from them will reach the earth…" she paused, lifted her work to examine her sewing critically before she remembered what she had been saying, and finished, "Oh…maybe a thousand and two years after you've died."

Fair enough. "Can you name one after me?" I asked.

She grinned – a quick, sudden lift of her lips that shifted the swirl of gas a black hole was slowly slurping down. "Which do you want, a nebula or a star?"

"Either one. I've never had something named after me before."

The universe has an odd laugh. It sounds like a barrage of asteroids striking a planet and wiping out any sign of sentient life. "Sure, kid," she said. She pointed to one that she'd just finished and let fly free. It was drifting away slowly, thoughtlessly, almost like a jellyfish. "There. That one's for you." Her smile was very gentle. "I'll make sure to whisper your name in the ear of the one who discovers it."

"Sweet. Mind if I sketch you?"

She said no. I still have that drawing, buried in the mess under my bed somewhere. She looks serene and contemplative as her needle dives in and out of the fabric of space-time, and the star nurseries slip off her lap to float away through the vacuum. My roommate unearthed it last week and wants me to redo it, paint it, sell it. Earn some cash or something like that.

Last time I saw the universe, I was nineteen and just finishing my first year of college. My dorm building had a roof access, and on the roof, I could see the glittering lights of the city spread below me, and the diamond studded sky up above. When I saw the universe, she was arranging the stars around her neck, adjusting the way they hung here and there.

I said hi. She asked me for my opinion on her current design. I liked it, and told her as much, but it would be much improved if she added a red dwarf there and a yellow giant, with maybe a gas planet twenty times the size of Jupiter just there.

She did so, and smiled. "Much improved," she said, "Thank you, kid."

I asked her if she'd heard about the star the big shot scientists had discovered just the week before – the brown dwarf that burned at room temperature. She snorted at that, and dissolved into a fit of chuckles when she saw my bewildered expression. "That one was fun to make," she said happily, toying with the positioning of a constellation on her breast. "Very unique, that one was. I can't quite remember how I came up with her." Her lips twisted. "Maybe I was drunk. I was quite drunk when I came up with quantum mechanics." She looked pleased with herself at that. "It still amuses me, watching scientists try to work that out. The electron changing its behavior based on whether it's being observed or not…now that was brilliant." She sighed. "Maybe I should work drunk more often."

I asked her if the odd little brown dwarf had a name. She nodded, a little distractedly. "I call it Abigail, but I'm sure your people will come up with something else entirely for it."
She twisted the Big Dipper on her wrist. "How do I look?"

"Marvelous," I said. Her smile was very self-conscious.

"Thank you." She combed her curls of galaxies and nebulas nervously with her long fingers.

"There's a universe ball tonight," she told me, adjusting the hem of her vacuum. "Never been to one before. Multiverse and all that; there's a lot of them and I wasn't sure if I was ready. Old enough, you know, with enough advanced civilizations. I mean, what was I going to do three billion years ago? They'd all be talking about intergalactic subways using wormholes and faster than light neutrinos and the ionization of oxygen and what would I say?"

"You'll do wonderfully," I told her.

"I hope," she said. Her smile was a bit shaky, now. "It'd be nice to meet another universe, maybe mix the two of us up, destroy everything within us in a fiery crunch and then have everything be reborn in the next Big Bang. Every universe's dream, you know." Another run through her mane of swirling gas and fire. "Well, wish me luck."

I wished her good luck, and she waved at me as she soared away.

Imperfections.

Really, the universe is just as self-conscious and as much a dreamer as we are.
Conversations with the universe. We've all had them.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2012-09-15
Polishing Venus by ~WildWolfMoon94 The suggester writes, "This is the kind of story that everyone should read growing up; it teaches us that we are perfect in our imperfections, and that there definitely is something mystical and magical about life." ( Suggested by shebledgreenink and Featured by thorns )
:iconhunterofartemis726:
hunterofartemis726 Featured By Owner Oct 22, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This is amazing :)
Reply
:iconhedwigs-art:
Hedwigs-art Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
This was s breath-takingly beautiful...
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:iconhedwigs-art:
Hedwigs-art Featured By Owner Feb 9, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
*so
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:iconcourtessa-love:
courtessa-love Featured By Owner Jan 31, 2014
This was published, what, a little under two years ago, and I still love reading every word of it. I think about it from time to time and read it when I can. I love reading this. I just thought I'd let you know.
Reply
:iconthecheshercat:
TheChesherCat Featured By Owner Jan 28, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Creative and interesting, well done. :)
Reply
:icondailylitdeviations:
DailyLitDeviations Featured By Owner Jan 27, 2014
Your wonderful literary work has been chosen to be featured by DailyLitDeviations in a news article that can be found here: dailylitdeviations.deviantart.… Congratulations on your DD!

Be sure to check out the other artists featured and show your support by :+fav:ing the News Article. Keep writing and keep creating.
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:iconlalalandmuse:
LalalandMuse Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013  Student Writer
This is lovely :) Your writing is beautiful.
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:icontwilightpoetess:
TwilightPoetess Featured By Owner Feb 11, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Hello!

As part of =SilverInkblot's Found Poetry Project, I've used the title of this beautiful deviation in a poem here:

Vampire Planet

Thank you so much!
Reply
:iconsynesthi:
Synesthi Featured By Owner Feb 4, 2013
This is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. Thank you so much for writing it. Thank you so much for sharing.
Reply
:iconladyofgaerdon:
LadyofGaerdon Featured By Owner Nov 10, 2012  Professional Writer
:wave: Hi! Your piece has been featured in #Lit-Visual-Alliance's Sixth Allied Artwork Feature! Please :+fav: the article to bring attention to the feature. Thank you for being a part of the Alliance! :salute:
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:iconnaturesharmony:
naturesharmony Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2012
This. was. amazing! xD
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:iconwooltree:
Wooltree Featured By Owner Oct 13, 2012
A beautiful story, loved it :)
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:icondaystar-art:
Daystar-Art Featured By Owner Oct 8, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Hey there, it's Feature time! [link] :)
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:iconcrematedman:
CrematedMan Featured By Owner Sep 22, 2012  Student Writer
Us imperfects have to stick together.

Truly inspiring, very beautiful.
Reply
:iconkarinta:
Karinta Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2012  Student General Artist
I love this. It's brilliant, and sweet. I adore this story and I can't wait to read more.
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:iconnettleheart:
Nettleheart Featured By Owner Sep 18, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
...
...
...
...
I love you. *-*
Reply
:iconsqu1rrel-e-gurl3:
Squ1rrel-E-Gurl3 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I have few words to describe this it's so beautiful. I myself wear glasses and have a few other imperfections, but i remember when i was younger i wanted to get a telescope and camp out on the roof looking at the stars and planets at night. I never got to sadly, but if i did i would hope something like this would've happened to me :)
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:icondweckie:
dweckie Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012  Student Writer
Absolutely stunning, I adore this :heart:
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:iconwildwolfmoon94:
WildWolfMoon94 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
:) Thank you! I'm pleased you enjoyed it :heart:.
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:iconthe-loony:
the-Loony Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012  Student General Artist
hah..:D
what a lovely story - a tale to my liking! better than most fairy tales, really.

itīs written so smooth and convincing, that itīs, effortlessly, able to take away our minds on a stroll into the realms of dreams and fantasy.
beautiful.
Reply
:iconcoprite:
coprite Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012
This is simply amazing. Thank you SO much for sharing it, and congratulations on the Daily Deviation! It's been a while since I have read something so well-written, and it is very exhilarating!

Please, PLEASE can I share it?! I promise to link it back straight to you.
Reply
:iconwildwolfmoon94:
WildWolfMoon94 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
:XD: No, thank you! I was kind of shocked that this got a DD, because I did no editing and was kind of rushed when I wrote this, so I didn't think it was anything stellar...

Thank you again :) It means a lot to know people like my rambles.

Go right ahead, dear. Thank you again for reading :heart:. Have a wonderful day!
Reply
:iconc-c-gagnon:
c-c-gagnon Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Student
I absolutely LOVE this story!! I would never think to make the universe self-conscious let alone have a conversation with her. Well done dear! :)
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:iconthynkpynk:
ThynkPynk Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Student General Artist
Beautiful writing, absolutely beautiful. It's the kind of thing that makes you feel really happy yet sad at the same time. The thought of an 'insignificant' kid chatting with the universe just gives me the warm fuzzies. :)
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:iconzololuveru23:
zololuveru23 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012
Simply stunning. :heart:
Reply
:iconwildwolfmoon94:
WildWolfMoon94 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
:) Thank you! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it :heart:.
Reply
:iconzololuveru23:
zololuveru23 Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2012
You're welcome! It is such an amazing piece X3 :heart"
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:iconpearl-whisper:
pearl-whisper Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I have no words. Stunnings
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:iconwildwolfmoon94:
WildWolfMoon94 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
:) Thank you! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it :heart:.
Reply
:iconsyrenaenchanted:
SyrenaEnchanted Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Your writing is so smooth! Everything just flows together beautifully.
Reply
:iconprincen-scythe:
princen-scythe Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Student General Artist
Totally deserves it's DD, congratulations! This is an absolutely marvelous peice of writing
Reply
:iconcorneille-crow:
Corneille-Crow Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012   Writer
This is really and truly amazing.
Reply
:iconwildwolfmoon94:
WildWolfMoon94 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
:) Thank you! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it :heart:. It means a lot.
Reply
:iconscoutle:
Scoutle Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Breathtaking, you did a wonderful job with this. It all flowed so smoothly, congratulations ^-^
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:iconwildwolfmoon94:
WildWolfMoon94 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
:XD: Which is hilarious, 'cause I did no editing or anything. But... :) Thank you! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it :heart:.
Reply
:iconiluvart88:
iluvart88 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012
wow this is great! congrats on the dd
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:iconwildwolfmoon94:
WildWolfMoon94 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
:) Thank you! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it :heart:.
Reply
:iconbhappybug:
bhappybug Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Student
aahhhh this so so wonderful!
Reply
:iconwildwolfmoon94:
WildWolfMoon94 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
:) Thank you! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it :heart:.
Reply
:iconbellotempestade:
BelloTempestade Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012
I'm utterly speechless, I love it
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:iconwildwolfmoon94:
WildWolfMoon94 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
:XD: Speechless? Odd, I didn't edit it and wrote it in like half an hour when I couldn't sleep...but thank you! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it :heart:.
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:iconbellotempestade:
BelloTempestade Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
You're welcome. Well, no matter how you wrote it, it's one of the best things I've read
Reply
:iconsteve-c2:
Steve-C2 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012
Okay, I'm adding to favorites on the grounds that this made me smile. I could picture the scenes in my mind.
Reply
:iconjessica35:
jessica35 Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012
Simply amazing.
Reply
:iconwildwolfmoon94:
WildWolfMoon94 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
:) Thank you! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it :heart:.
Reply
:iconrainbowdash3221xd:
RainbowDash3221XD Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
Wow. I am lost for words here. Which is pretty uncommon because I talk my head off.
Reply
:iconwildwolfmoon94:
WildWolfMoon94 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
Ahahaha, I do the same :XD: My dad tells me he wonders when I have time to write because of all the talking I do. Thanks for reading! :heart:
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:iconrainbowdash3221xd:
RainbowDash3221XD Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
:)
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:iconsuper-creative-syco:
Super-creative-syco Featured By Owner Sep 15, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Oh, this was beautiful!
Reply
:iconwildwolfmoon94:
WildWolfMoon94 Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2012
:) Thank you! I'm so pleased you enjoyed it :heart:.
Reply
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