So there you are, staring up at the sky searching for shooting stars with a boy. It sounds romantic. And it is. In theory. But it is also scary. In practice.
Because when you stare up at the moon and stars and the smell of fire smoke is all around, you can only think about how what you are seeing is only the past catching up with you now. How the moment the light finally strikes your face it’s already old and continuing on to the next galaxy where it will change and be different for someone else. Plus, being in the dark always frightens you. It makes you think of dying and that makes you want to hold someone’s hand. And that is scary too.
But you are captivated by all that is above and the moment you are participating in that is somehow the past and the present and the future all at once. Growing up you were always fascinated by supernovas and the idea that something can go to pieces and turn into something else entirely.
Then you remember the last time you hunted for shooting stars. It was years ago and 2am and the sky was exploding with debris someone in the heavens decided they didn’t want anymore. And they made something beautiful in the process.
After awhile you stopped making wishes. There were too many. So you just watched the streaks burning across the sky and wondered if he saw them too, and what he asked for, if he asked for anything, or if he wasn’t the type of person who wishes on stars.
But you never asked. And it’s too late to bring it up now – he probably doesn’t remember anyway. But you recall how you sat on his rooftop, your hand in his, and there was just silence between you. And it was perfect. And then it wasn’t.
Only this time feels different. You are older and wiser and have stopped wishing on stars for things like love. Instead, you look to the stars for guidance. You see people you once knew and ask them how they are doing and what it’s like to be so far away. You look up and wonder if she still remembers you. Then you ask her to help you find what it is you are still looking for.
Besides, what you wish for now has changed too. It’s more about what you are in search of and less about him or any other boy. Or at least, you hope that is the case. You find yourself wondering, what will make you happy? When are you going to figure it out? Or are you ever going to? And then a part of you wonders if he fits into any of that.
So when he asks, ‘Don’t you want to stay here forever?’ You shake your head and say you disagree without really understanding why even though you know he’s only really asking about the geography. But it probably has something to do with the fact that he never holds your hand when he’s supposed to and you never reach for his when you want to. Kind of like now. And how you are on your back staring up to the left and he is standing up staring off to the right.
Instead, you wait in silence for the meteor shower you both know you are too early to see. You wonder why he always waits so long before kissing you. Perhaps it’s the same reason you never lean in first. You wonder if he ever notices. You wonder if he’s thinking about it now. You wonder if there are just some people you are supposed to know in this life. You wonder if he is one of these people.
And then you stop thinking so hard about why you are still there and begin feeling how cold the cement is under your back. You hear the coyotes howling in the distance. You notice how the air smells a little like snow and firewood. And you stop worrying about whether you will ever figure it all out. Because sometimes it’s just kind of nice to just stand in the dark next to someone who doesn’t mind standing in the dark with you.