“I’ll be back soon.” She said with a kiss on my cheek. This was her last mission in a while. Pretty soon she will be back home and we will be able to spend some crazy time together building the tree house we have been planning for a while. I send her a flying kiss and wave goodbyes.

“Let’s go in.” Gran says. Gran moved to live with us when my mom was assigned for the mission to Mars project team. Mom isn’t allowed to talk about it in details.  It’s freezing here. I wonder why mom liked this place so much, maybe its got something to do with her being a biologist of plants. This place’s got nothing but snowy mountain caps in winter for four months and uninvited rains in between, the so-called little summer time. I love this place in Autumn though, the red and yellow of the tree leaves and the bugs that crawl up everywhere.  This week I caught a bug when I was playing with Sana near the mountain base. The bug was up in the young Oak tree that we climbed. It had shiny silver wings and Sana was scared of it. We were only ten and Sana’s parents didn’t like her playing with the bugs. Her mother hated it specially when I showed her some bugs I caught. “You shouldn’t be playing with them. They might be harmful. Shuu now, drop it out side and come inside with Sana, the potato wheels are almost baked.” The potato wheels were delicious but I couldn’t find the bug later when I was going home.

I went home and told mom about the silver winged bug. Unlike Sana’s mom’s, my mom’s eyes lit up at the mention of the bug. “Tell me more about it. How did it look? What was it doing? Eating?” She jumped in my bed with a pillow in her hands and started to ask questions. “Umm.. it was a black bug with tiny silver wings, it’s eyes were tiny yellow and it was weird. Oh and it just set there.” “Uuuhumm… The universe is filled with far more wondrous things that we don’t know of Rohan. Tell you what, tomorrow I will lend you my book of bugs and you find the pretty little bugster? When you do, I will treat you to a burger.” The thought of mom’s homemade burger made my mouth water. I bet she already knows what bug is it, she just wants me to work for it. I love our little deals. “Look forward to it. Good night mom.” She kissed my head and wished me goodnight as she closed the door. “Leave it open.” I screamed. “Oops, sorry.” And with that she was gone.

The next day mom had to leave again for her work, it will be months before I see her again. I stat missing her even before she is gone. Mom has this crazy love for the Universe, she seems half mad, genius mad when she talks about the faraway Galaxies and the secret biology they might have. “We are just stardust wanderers. Wondering in the universe, trying to learn more about it, only to become a part of it in our death.” Stardust wanderer! Sometimes I felt I don’t know my mom at all. After breakfast mom left and I got busy with the book. Trying to find the bug. It’s tough with this mammoth of an encyclopedia of bugs. There’s so many of them.

After a few hours gran rings the bells for lunch. It’s 2 PM already? I look outside the window. The poppies I planted in the tiny pot have sprung up, I water them. “Poppies are pretty.” My mom’s voice rings in my head. I shake my head as I run out of our tiny library to the dining room. The amazing smell of gran’s potato stew and herb rice has filled the home. I sit as gran starts making a dish for me. “I am grateful for the food.” I whisper in my playful way before I dig in. My gran looks in my direction with a grand smile on her lips. Suddenly the phone rings. Gran gets up to attend it. She talks for a few seconds then calls for me, “It’s your mom, she has reached.” I take the receiver and her voice pours in, “hey kiddo, so did you find the bug?” “Not yet but wait till I do. You do remember the deal maa?” “Yep. Take care of gran for me. I love you.” Click, clank and that’s a bye.

Me and gran eat in silence. I help gran with the cleaning later and we talk about maa. “She calls herself stardust wanderer, it’s difficult to sum her up like that. She is much more.”  Gran says as she sips the warm jasmine tea. Gran looks like she is talking about someone entirely different than her own daughter. Gran is always scolding maa when she is around. It’s going to be a long time before we see our stardust wanderer.