God's Eyelashes - Sofia Tantono
I know this will be hard for most readers, since you’re more likely than not to be someone who lives in a city where the air is too polluted for this kind of thing, but try and imagine a clear, black-blue night sky sprinkled with stars so bright that a luminosity competition between them and a set of LED lights would be fair. Add to this scene a blonde boy who is a spitting image of one of those little big-headed angel statues your grandma would have on a shelf somewhere (sans the halo), all snug in his bed. Also unlike one of those statues, his eyes aren’t closed and his hands aren’t clasped in prayer—rather, this boy is lying in bed while staring at the ceiling, and on his babyish face is an expression as serious as a philosopher’s.
The doorknob turns from the outside. His mother peeks in. “Why aren’t you asleep?” she asks.
“I’ve been thinking,” he says, snapping out of his reverie.
She enters her son’s bedroom and sits by him on his bed. “Oh. What about?”
“When we die, we go to Heaven, don’t we?”
“Yes…” The look on her face is a mixture of confusion and concern. “Why do you ask, sweetie?”
“Well, I was just wondering—where do eyelashes go after they fall into our eyes and we blink them away?”
The boy’s mother is silent for a second. She doesn’t know, but that’s not something she’s allowed to say, naturally. “They, um, they go in the backs of our eyes.” Quieter: “I think?”
He ponders this before asking: “Is there an Eyelash Heaven? Do they go there?”
His mother’s expression looks less like a philosopher’s and more like that of a high-schooler trying to make sense of what their maths teacher is scribbling on the whiteboard.
“Maybe Eyelash Heaven is behind our eyes and that’s where they go when we blink.”
“So are we God’s eyelashes, Mum?”
“Well, I guess...”
Sofia Tantono is a writer and curator who lives in Indonesia. Her work has been featured or is forthcoming in Anak Sastra, Yuwana Zine (whose fifth issue she curated), Klandestin, Counter-Narratives and Samjoko. She can be found on Instagram @sofias.writing or her blog sofiatantono.wordpress.com.