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Noodles while you're sleeping

The smell of charred onion and annihilated garlic fills the room. Smells that make your eyes water, set off smoke alarms for miles. Smells of home.
Add mushrooms to the pan and sear.
Kye stares out the window, or what passes for a window here. Cherry blossom drifts on the breeze as children run through the streets, their parents casually window-shopping--no intention of buying anything more than a coffee at the local 'mart, perhaps some candy to fuel their hyperactive offspring.
Remove mushrooms and brown meat in the same pan. Add butter and oil as necessary to stop it catching.
Outside, a man in a light, granddad collar shirt calls to a boy leaning over the canal. He pulls the boy away, sits on the wet cobbles with him to watch the birds and the fish playing cat and mouse across the elements. The image flickers, static cutting through the view. The man is like Sol, but not quite. The arch of his shoulders is different, the tone of his hair, the angle on his smile. The child was never there, even though they tried.
Remove the meat from the pan, boil eggs while noodles cook.
The kitchen was never Kye's domain. It was Sol's world and that was, by all accounts, a good thing. Safer for all concerned. But now, travelling in this tin can through the stars, this was the only way to be close to him again.
Sol had not wanted to come, and the fallout from their argument had been savage.
Drain noodles and combine with stock and vegetables. Simmer.
Sol's home would forever be the one that the window showed her. The one Ship remembered from the archives. The home that was unrelentingly lost to them now. She'd known that the home Sol loved was dying, dead. And yet she still couldn't change his mind. She tried--pleaded, screamed, cried. But he drew lines in sand that was never shifting, and Kye promised never to speak of it again.
Ladle noodles equally between two bowls and cover generously with the broth. Cut the chicken and egg into even pieces and place on top.
So she never spoke of it again, she just cooked them dinner.
Add one teaspoon per serving.
Sol had been sleeping for ever-so-slightly-longer than Ship had been passing through space. Their last meal together, their anniversary soup--a tradition, characterized by her burned garlic and dry chicken. This time, with a secret addition. She kissed him after noodles with tears in her eyes.
Sol sleeps in the bowels of Ship, waiting to wake in a world that must be better than the one he loved and lost. Kye saved him from something but will never know what prize he will win. Because she is Ship's caretaker and does not have the privilege of sleep. The rest of her life belongs with Ship. The rest of Sol's life belongs with whatever comes next.
Season as necessary.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, December 30th, 2020
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