Wednesday, August 12, 2015

By My Stars

                Kyle looked up at the night sky through his new telescope. He was hoping he’d be able to catch some of the meteor shower but he had his doubts. He lived in the city and thanks to the light pollution it was hard to see even a few stars, let alone a whole meteor shower. Kyle looked at his watch and then back through the lens of the telescope. He’d bought the telescope a week ago in anticipation of the celestial show. It was something he’d always wanted but never had the ability to afford. It was one of those nerdy luxuries he just didn’t think he’d ever be able to get. When he saw it on sale and realized he was a damn grown up with money that he could use to buy any damn thing he wanted he decided to take the leap.

                He looked through the eye piece again and could see an airplane gliding across the night sky. It was clear and visibility was very good. No clouds were blocking the stars. There was still some ambient light pollution but Kyle hoped it wouldn’t matter. He just wanted to see a meteor shower. He’d never seen one having grown up in the city. He’d had a few jaunts to the country, a few “camping” trips, but he hadn’t been lucky enough to experience the vastness of the cosmos first hand. It was just one of those things he just always wanted to do.

                Kyle sat back down in his folding chair next to the telescope. He’d set up on the roof of his apartment building, with the landlord’s permission, to view the celestial event. It was a lovely warm night. It wasn’t humid. It was very pleasant. It was a perfect night for sitting outside in a folding chair on a rooftop.  Kyle looked up at the sky overhead and wondered when it would start. He knew there was a general time for the shower to begin, but he wondered when he’d see his first one. He wondered what wish he would make.  

                He felt like part of his motivation for being up on the roof with his new telescope was greater than just wanting to see the shooting stars. He wanted to make a wish; a real, magical, cosmic wish that only a shooting star wish would be capable of granting. Kyle knew it was silly though. He knew that wishing on stars was childish and that there was no conjuring power of shooting stars. They weren’t even really stars, just hunks of rock and ice hurtling through the emptiness of space, skipping through the atmosphere.  But still, there was something powerful in the mythology of shooting star wishing.  

                Kyle opened a can of pop and took a sip. He had thought about taking a few beers up to the roof but then he didn’t want this experience tainted by alcohol. He wanted to remember it and be clear headed. Plus, if he did make his wish, he wanted it to be without ambiguity. He had a feeling that shooting star wishing required some level of clarity. Even though he knew, again, that it was silly to wish on space rocks.  He was too old to believe in such fairy tale nonsense, but something in him, just wouldn’t let him simply not believe.

                It seemed like a last hope. A last chance to finally get what he’d wanted for so long but never seemed able to find. It wasn’t for lack of trying, or capacity or that he was lazy. He just couldn’t seem to get it right. Plus there was the plain wonderfulness of the whole meteor shower experience. It was an experience that could make a man feel down right tiny in a universal sense. He was, after all, completely insignificant in the scope of things. So maybe that’s why he hoped his wish might come true, since in the end, it really wouldn’t have an effect on the spinning of worlds or the heavens. Why not grant it?

                A flicker in the sky caught Kyle’s attention and he leaned in to the eye-piece and tried to focus up at the night sky. He adjusted the nobs and leaned forward in his chair. He blinked several times and opened his eye wide.

                He saw it. The shimmering brilliance of it as it shot through Kyle’s area of focus. It was glorious and Kyle was unable to think. He wasn’t actually sure he saw it or not, it had happened so fast. He then remembered his wish and was about to say it, when a second and then a third star zoomed through his view.

                “Whoa,” said Kyle.

                He leaned in closer and watched as meteor after meteor streaked overhead. It was different than he imagined or had seen in the movies. It was delicate. It was like ballet. It was like seeing the brush strokes of some famous painter as they finished a masterpiece.  He smiled and took his eye from the eye-piece and looked skyward without the aid of the telescope.

                The sky was washed in streaks of glittering silver, rocketing by so quickly that Kyle wasn’t even positive it was happening. It was though. Kyle looked back through the lens and remembered his wish and wondered if it was too late. He couldn’t remember if you could only wish on the first shooting star you saw of if you could just make a wish on any old star as it went by.  Kyle decided it didn’t matter.

                “I wish… I wish she would know that, I’ve always loved her, in the best way I could and not a night goes by that I don’t think about her soft and sweet electric kisses. That when I dream, I dream of her, looking up at me, edged in soft beauty and her playful smile. I hope she knows that,” wished Kyle.

                Kyle kept looking through the telescope lens as space continued its show. An ambulance siren blared in the distance. A car alarm went off. A train’s rumbling echoed off the concrete buildings.  

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