Lenny felt the warmth of the sun on his face. It felt good. He could see the fuzzy strands of the veins in his eyelids. He yawned, and then remembered the fun he’d had last night. He’d stayed up well past bedtime—not even trying to keep quiet—playing with Legos and swapping secrets with his best friend, Hiro. Hiro was allowed to sleep over because—
Lenny bolted straight up and looked to the sleeping bag on the floor. It was empty. “Hiro?” The house was quiet. A cloud crept in front of the sun out the window. “Hiro?!” he called again with desperation, his voice cracking. His mother opened the bedroom door. Her face said it all, but Lenny didn’t believe it.
“Honey, Mrs. Yasashi came by to pick up Hiro very early this morning. He didn’t want to wake you.”
Lenny launched from his bed, slipped past his mother, and ran to the front door. Hiro’s shoes were gone. He wouldn’t have. He ran outside, grabbed his bike from the side of the house, hopped on as he ran along side it, and began peddling furiously toward the pad.
The sky was darkening. The first few brave raindrops leapt from the safety of the clouds to fall to Earth. Some landed on Lenny, on his Superman pajamas and his bare feet, but he didn’t care. He had to go faster.
Mr. Yasashi took a job as an ice harvester on Enceladus six months ago. Now he was moving the whole family up. Lenny and Hiro had been best friends for four years—nearly half their lives! He wouldn’t leave without saying goodbye.
Just then, the sky beyond the orchards grew bright with hot white light. Lenny slowed until he could hop off his bike, abandoning it on its side as its rear wheel spun uselessly in the air. Then the roar reached him, and the wind further smeared his bedhead hair and made his Superman cape dance sorrowfully. Lenny fell to his knees and watched the rocket climb higher and higher, arching away like a sarcastic rainbow. He remembered to wave just before he lost sight of it in his bleary vision.