Louisa was a girl who fell in love with a cable car. This may sound odd but if you saw the car you would understand. It was bright red with orange stripes down the side, had a bell that rang at every intersection, and it always took Louisa not where she wanted to go, or had to go, but where she needed to be.
However, loving a cable car isn’t easy. Cable cars are always on the move, but they always move in the same directions. They go back and forth all day long in routes that cannot change, not without great turmoil and the tearing up of of tracks, and Louisa’s cable car was no different. Its route was carefully drawn in green lines, blue lines, and red lines that made up the transit map that soon became Louisa’s bible. She carried it around in her purse along with her wallet, sunglasses, and her lucky toothpick that had never actually brought her any luck but always made her feel strong and cocky. (Though Lousia was never sure why.)
Not until the day it became her extremely unlucky toothpick that is. Then Louisa understood everything.
Because that was the day her cable car did not show up on time. In fact, it did not show up at all. Instead there was a new car in its place that wasn’t bright red and did not have orange stripes. The new cable car was green and it had checkered yellow boxes down its sides that didn’t look like stripes at all. They looked ugly. Like boxes with sharp edges. Like clunky things that sat and stayed and did not have lines that streamed and flowed and flew the way Louisa liked.
“Where is the old car?” Louisa asked the driver.
“I don’t know,” he answered. “Gone.”
And that was that. Like so many other that’s that came before this that, Louisa’s cable car was gone. She didn’t know where it went, why it went, or what she was going to do about it. She only knew that her cable car was no more.
So Louisa did what she always did when she didn’t know what to do (which, admittedly, was quite often), she reached into her purse and pulled out her lucky toothpick. She put it in between her teeth so she could feel strong and tough like Clint Eastwood or Dusty Baker. But the lucky toothpick didn’t work. Louisa didn’t feel lucky. She didn’t feel strong. And she definitely didn’t feel tough. She felt not-tough. She felt like something pliable and squishy like jelly. Or less than jelly. Like liquid. Like water.
Or no, Louisa wasn’t even water. She did not flow. She was not part of something larger than herself. She was small. She was insignificant. She was something that could easily be lost or brushed away. She was not from this world–a world where cable cars disappeared and left her to travel alone.
The truth was, Louisa wasn’t Louisa anymore. The cable car had changed that. But Louisa also wasn’t jelly or water. She was something far away from all of that. Far away from things like green lines, red lines, bells that rang, and cable cars that traveled with her wherever she needed to go.
She was something almost celestial–a little bit like a cloud or a star, only sadder and smaller. Perhaps she was only part of a star. Perhaps Louisa was a star’s shadow. Only stars didn’t have shadows, so perhaps she was another something else. Maybe she was a discarded piece of the star, like a spec of dust–a spec of star. A very very tiny spec. That was sad but not horrible. Even if it was only a spec, it was still part of a star after all.
Yes, that was it. Louisa was stardust.