‘Come with me, let’s go have a look at the Southern Cross,’ he says.
He walks out in front of us all the way to the end of the alley, over by the chalta tree. In order to be able to see the Southern Cross you need to be far from the lights of the house. We look up at the sky, almost without breathing. I immediately pinpoint ‘The Followers’ high up in the sky at the tail end of Centaurus. To the right, the Cross hovers palely, slightly tilted, like the sail of a pirogue. Laure and I spot it at the same time, but we don’t need to say anything. We gaze up at the Cross without speaking. Mam comes out to join us and she doesn’t say a word to our father. We just stand there and it seems as if we’re listening to the sound of the planets in the night. It’s so beautiful, there’s no need to say anything. But I can feel that pain in my chest and throat growing tighter, because something has changed on this night, something says that it must all come to an end. Maybe it’s written in the stars - that’s what I think - maybe what needs to be done to keep things from changing and save us is also written in the stars.
[The Prospector, Le Clézio, J. M. G.]