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Her boyfriend was an astronaut. Whenever he came back from a trip, she would ask him:

“Did you bring me back a piece of the moon?”

And he would answer:

“No, but I took some pictures. Wanna see?”

…So it’s no wonder why they broke up after five years.

But in within that time they were together, there were some interesting things that she noticed. For example, whenever he said:

“I’m ‘ll be another hour, ‘r so.”

What he really meant was, “I’ll be working for about another hour or so.” He tended to slur his words a lot. It was a sign of his casual demeanour, she said.

Or:

“The people always says I’m clumsy, like when I was trying ta eat this banana and it flung into Jamison’s eye.”

He always slurred his ‘says’, so it became ‘sez’ and flowed into its surrounding words. It was the same with ‘was’, becoming ‘wuz’ and colliding with ‘chrying’. ‘This’ became ‘dis’ or ‘zis’, depending on whether it was preceded by a vowel or not. ‘Into’,…’inta’. ‘Jamison’ became ‘Jamie’s sun’ for some reason. Also, he didn’t mean to bungle his grammar, she thought. Again, it was a sign of his casual demeanour.

Or, there was the rare time when he said:

“Les’ at it.”

She knew what he meant (although it made her blush to think about it now.)

Then there was another time when he came back from a trip. She asked him, like always:

“Did you bring me back a piece of the moon?”

…And he answered, “No, but I took some pictures. Wanna see?”

So he took out a stack of them to show her.

“Here’s Earth,” he said, pointing at the picture. “Pretty, is‘it?”

“Mm.”

“And from here you can see one of those TV satellites. Look? See?”

“Hmm.”

“And here’za graph of those radiation fluctuations we’re studying, like, um, I can explain–”

“No, ‘s fine.”

“Yeah, it’s kinda confusing,…” His ‘s’ preceding a vowel was always slurred, becoming a ‘z’ sound. He slurred the ‘s’ in ‘confusing’: sounded like ‘confuzing’, she remembered. Also, ‘yeah-its’.

She waited, and he continued as if in a daze.

Yeah-its really amazing, y’know?” He always slurred like that. ” When I’m up there,” he pointed up at the ceiling, “and studying the sun an’ ev’rything, y’know what I miss? ‘Bout bein’ here?”

“Mm.”

“Is the sun, an’ bein’ able to sit in the sunlight, is all.”

It was probably where they were sitting that made him say that. Middle of June, the weather was warm. She had opened the window, and the entire room smelled like summer. The proud sun was low-hanging that day, bright and impassive in their eyes.

“Do you ever miss me up there?” she said.

“You? You’re my sunshine.”

She knew he said that just because she asked. She remembered the way he said ‘sunshine’: the ‘n’s were all slurred so that he almost said, “suhshaing.” It made her feel content somehow. It annoyed her somehow, too, how it was as though it didn’t matter where he was; she could still hear him. Him, the astronaut and his terrible pronunciation.

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