I always knew I’d end up amongst the stars. My father piloted a spaceship, and his father before him. I’d always wait for him to return from his trading missions, excited to see what he brought back. Sometimes it would be toys from far off worlds, sometimes it would be artifacts from some wild adventure he found himself in. The only thing I loved more than his presents were his stories. That time he saved the princess of some agrarian world, or the time he and his crew fended off pirates and stole their ship. Each story was an epic where he was the brave hero bringing justice to the galaxy.

When I turned 18, I immediately enlisted to become a pilot. My time in the Navy took me on adventures as amazing as my father’s. I stopped civil wars, ended insurrections, and destroyed pirate strongholds. It was a different type of justice I was spreading, but it was still justice. Eventually I left, started a family of my own, and took up the family practice of trading.

Just like my father, I would return home with gifts and stories for my son; and just like his father, he would listen in awe and wonder. I knew that he would one day follow my footsteps, just like my father probably knew about me. And I know that one day, just like his father and his father’s father, he won’t return home. Something will go wrong and he’ll be jettisoned from the ship. His last moments will be of him floating amongst the stars, thinking of his son.

I woke up in a dumpster today. I’m not really sure how I got there. Last night was Paul’s party, but I don’t remember anything spectacular that would lead to this situation. I walked in, grabbed myself a strong drink, and began mingling with the locals. Nothing unusual except — that girl. She was standing next to the couch by her lonesome when I caught my first glimpse. I hadn’t seen her at one of Paul’s parties before, and I’m not one to miss a party or the chance of new friends. I made my way toward her, molesting her with my eyes as I pushed past everyone. She had curly, shoulder length, brown hair, green eyes with a mix of hazel, and wore a much-too-large flannel shirt that hid a pedestrian body with skinny jeans that hinted at a voluptuous one. She was your cliché 2010 hipster, and I have a soft spot all things vintage. I introduced myself, but somehow missed her’s. It didn’t matter at the time, because she was a Siren and I had fallen into her trap. We talked and talked, about everything and nothing, and only moved from our spot when our cups ran dry. As the night progressed, time seemed to slow down and the world seemed to spin faster. I was lost in her smile, her voice, her words. She grabbed my hand and said something, I can’t remember what, but it sent my mind into a state of elation. Suddenly we were at the door with our coats, then the hallway, the elevator, the city street. Each flashing memory the same as the one before it but for the changing backgrounds: both of her hands holding mine, our eyes locked, and her smile wide.

And then I found myself here, in this hobo beanbag chair, with a spinning head and a hurting side. I tried to climb out, but each time I attempted to sit up pain would shoot down my side. So I rolled to the edge and just sort of fell out, instead. When I got to my feet and cleaned myself off, I lifted my shirt to see what was causing so much pain. That was when I first discovered I was missing one of my kidneys.