A New Color for the Sky

By Margarita Cárdenas

For Alina

One night, while a certain little girl slept quietly in her room, a shower of stars slipped down from the sky. All the stars were brightly colored except one, the smallest of them all.

“Wee, wee,” cried the little star. I don’t have pretty colors like all my friends!” But the girl slept placidly on and didn’t even hear the weeping.

“Be quiet,” said the other stars. “We don’t want to hear you whining about a color.” And none of them took the trouble to help her.

“Boo hoooo!!!” cried the little star, all the louder. “I’m just black and white. That’s no fun.

The little girl spoke, saying things that no one understood because she was fast asleep. Then the star decided to get away from the others and have fun on her own.

The other stars were playing and jumping all over the girl. They enjoyed this because she was nice and soft, and up in the sky there was nothing soft—only dust and planets made of gases, and rocks, and fire. Not even the clouds were fun because they were really like smoke or steam, and if you tried to jump on them, you just went right through, the way an airplane does.

While the others jumped and danced. The little star (whose name, by the way, was Clementine) broke away from the others and hid . . . But unfortunately for her . . .

. . . she fell into a deep, dark hole full of twists and turns.

“Help, help!” yelled Clementine.

But her friends were so tired of hearing her whine, that no one paid any attention.

Besides, she couldn’t go on calling because every time she made a sound, there was a tremendous shaking and a rush of wind like an earthquake and a hurricane combined.

What happened was that she had fallen into an ear. The shaking was the eardrum, and it produced winds that came and went, tumbling the little star about like a miserable little speck of dust.

“Oh, ratsacaplung!” said the little star (who liked to use important-sounding words). Now how will I get out of here?

Suddenly the girl turned on her side, and this shook poor Clementine up so she fell right on top of the eardrum.

“Wheee!!” she cried. “A trampoline!” And she began to jump. She had no idea that this was an eardrum because she never paid much attention in her anatomy class in star school.

The girl (who was still asleep) felt something annoying in her ear and opened a pair of big magenta eyes which, unfortunately, scared all the stars away.

Forgetting all about their small friend, they flew off like shooting stars to their place in the sky.

(Well, they thought they were shooting stars, but a shooting star is a meteor that falls and they were just plain stars. The thing is, they didn’t pay any attention at all in their astronomy class. Don’t think Clementine was the only unruly one.)

Meanwhile, Clementine was having a great time jumping up and down on her trampoline. Suddenly, she jumped so high that she flew right out of the ear and landed smack on the little girl’s nose.

From way up on the tip of the nose, Clementine looked down and saw a big, brilliant eye—a beautiful magenta eye. She didn’t even think to be scared.

“Oh, what a lovely sun!” she said. And without stopping to think about it, she jumped inside the girl’s eye.

Now, Clementine didn’t fall onto the iris, which was the magenta part. She fell through another hole, which was the pupil. She fell way inside and kept falling until she landed in the middle of the aqueous humor.

“Ah, what fun!” she exclaimed. “How soft and mellow! It’s a pool full of jello! (You see, when she was excited, Clementine waxed poetic and made rhyming phrases.) But just then, the girl closed her eyes again, and Clementine was enveloped in darkness.

Now I really messed up, she thought. I don’t want to be here any longer. Besides, I’m hungry, and this jello tastes bad. (It was salty, not because it was in a bad humor, but because that’s the way aqueous humor always is.)

Making a great effort, Clementine was able to climb out of that gooey pool. She made her way up through the pupil and finally came out to the iris. There, she sat down to catch her breath, surrounded by color on all sides like a shiny, magenta meadow.

Clementine had a great idea. Very softly, so as not to hurt the little girl, she tore off a teensy-weensy, insignificant little piece of iris. (Insignificant was another of her favorite words. It was a big word to indicate something small, and she found that contradictory and very interesting.)

Anyhow, she took such care and was so delicate about tearing off the bit of iris, that the little girl never even realized what was happening.

Clementine wrapped herself in this soft gauze of color and twirled around in delight. She had a new dress, more precious than anything out there in space! It was a color that none of her friends in the sky had ever seen. “Oh!” she said to herself, “This is even better than moonbeam pie — a brand new color for the sky!”

Meanwhile, even though she was asleep, the little girl felt something pricking inside her eye. Just then she woke up and rubbed them very hard with both hands.

Now the little star was scared. Grabbing on to her new dress, she jumped right out of the eye.

“Thanks, little girl, for your beautiful gift,” she said, planting a soft kiss on her nose. But the girl did not hear a thing. All she felt was a slight tickle, as the little star prepared to jump off her nose and return to her home in the heavens. As she flew off, the little star thought with a sigh, I only wish I had left her a gift, too.

And that’s how there came to be a brand-new color in the sky.

But the strange part is that ever since that day, people who looked at the little girl saw a very special twinkle in her eye—a silvery sparkle that looked very much like a magical little star.