by Tanya Breshears
May returns to her familiar place to grieve, a moment she once spent on a sunny hillside, flat on her back with her face to the sky, fingers twisted in the grass like she might soon be flung off this spinning planet. She supposes it's telling that her most comforting moment is a human one.
May argues with her superiors, insisting on a post on Earth.
"You won't learn anything from humans. Their minds are hopelessly clouded," she is told, time and again.
But May is very good at her job, and she has been planning this moment a long time. She spends all her political capital, and so to Earth she comes, in a form assumed after much consideration: black hair and green eyes, and one slightly crooked front tooth. Humans cast a doubtful eye on perfection, after all.
As a child she watches her small cache of human films again and again, holed up with the dusty Earth television set her uncle once procured at a junk sale. Mae West, Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland. She stares, mesmerized by the many lives they each lead, a kaleidoscope of experiences and people and places. And the human world: the sun and the sky, even in black and white, so terrifyingly brilliant in contrast to the subterranean labyrinths of home.