We stand, scattered, on the brightly lit deck. No one looks from side to side or talks, we close our eyes and prepare ourselves. Shift 2a is about to end. Our aching bodies won’t matter in a few seconds. We breathe out.
I open my eyes and see the hull dissolve into the vastness of space. The crew has been replaced by a nebula, I feel the claustrophobia I’ve been hiding fall away: I float in the colours. Soon I have an urge to reach out and feel the cloud, I’m always surprised to find that the rhythm has already synchronised with my movement.
I dance. I conduct a symphony of sound, light and motion. The strands of luminescent dust swirling around my body become shapes, symbols that have meaning to me, home, family, my childhood dog, things to cherish. They become. I can touch them, hold them.
Now they mirror my emotions too closely; I’m not sure who controls whom, the confusion makes the images even more vivid. Soon the sound becomes discordant and loud. I can see other people and their memories trying to cling to existence. The ghosts fly at me; speechless and inquisitive but very real. They beg me to stay, but I cannot.
I regain gravity; my feet are wet, like I’m wading in a cool stream. People look around at me, their eyes are open but not yet smiling. We are still trying to work out who are real as the images fade from view. Taking a deep breath I realise that I too am overawed. I smile, blink, am reborn and in the glaring space station lights the stillness lifts.
Re-energised, we start shift 2b.