A Small Story About Stars
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Politics and Activism

A Small Story About Stars

There's just something special about the night sky.

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A Small Story About Stars
Subhmohanty

I.

“Why are we even here, Miles? What’s the point? We’re all going to die someday, so why, exactly, do we even bother with all of this ‘trying’ nonsense?”

“You’re trying to be existential again, Lila. Quit it. We both know you want to be a foster mom,” Miles scratched his ear and rolled over on the old blanket to face her. “So quit it.”

Lila puffed up her cheeks and then blew the air into Miles’ face, creating a small cloud of fog that hung in the cold October night.

“Yeah, but it doesn’t even matter in the whole scheme of the universe. I mean, look how small we are,” She gestured to the sky above her, at the multitude of stars and the wisps of clouds meandering from east to west. “There’s nothing I can do that will ever be as big as those clouds or as beautiful as the stars. It’s just… really disheartening, you know? I want to mean something, Miles,” She looked at him and tried not to blink. Miles did blink, and then smiled and tapped her nose with his finger.

“Nah, silly. You mean lots. To me, your future foster kids, your family, that boyfriend of yours; all of them,” he laughed. “Plus, my mom thinks you’re a really good influence on me.”

Lila groaned and tried to hide her faint smile. She rolled onto her side and shook his shoulder. “Why won’t you let me be gloomy? I wanna be sad today.”

Miles closed one of his eyes and looked over at her. “You can be sad, friend,” he said slowly. “But you’re not allowed to say you don’t mean anything. You’re pretty great. Look at the stars. They came out tonight for a reason, and it sure as hell wasn’t to see me. They’re here for you. Don’t disappoint them by asking them questions they don’t have the answers to. Just smile at them. Laugh when they sparkle. Make pictures with them. Show them a good night,”

Lila closed her eyes. She stretched her hand to the outside of the blanket and let the slightly frosted grass brush up against her fingers, and then let her hand fall flat. She dug her fingers into the hard ground and felt the dirt push up under her fingernails.

“The grass gets to cry, Miles. Why not me?” Miles looked at her outstretched arm and placed his hand on her shoulder.

“You can cry, friend, whenever you need to. Just don’t say you don’t matter, please. You’re making the stars sad,” he murmured the last sentence, almost to himself.

She squeezed her eyelids so that the few tears that had been accumulating all day could fall out and then used her free hand to wipe them away. She pried her fingers out from the dirt and wiped them on her jeans, and then turned to face her friend again. “I thought I told you I wanted to be sad tonight. Isn’t that why we came stargazing? So I could be sad with you, outside of my house, away from all the lights and the noise?”

Miles tried to smile and then reached over and grabbed Lila in a hug, pulling them both into a sitting position. “Lila B. Milne, look at me. We came stargazing so you could be sad, but I had an ulterior motive. I brought you stargazing so I could help you feel better. We can sit here all night if you want. I have no plans to do my homework. But we can also sit here for a few more minutes, pack up this blanket and drive on the highway for a while, and end up at IHOP around three. How does that sound?”

Lila pulled away and looked at him. She sighed. “Okay, how about this. I dry my face, give the stars a show, and then we drive on the highway and end up at Waffle House around two? Oh, and I get to pick the radio stations.” She smiled.

“Well, let’s see this show and then I’ll decide,” he winked at her, so she punched him lightly in the arm.

“Oh, I’ll give you a show, you goose.” She scrunched up her nose and then stood up, dusting the grass from her clothes. She marched off the blanket and walked about twenty feet into the field.

“Don’t let them down!” Miles called to her, smiling. He watched as she did a sloppy cartwheel, twirled around like a dizzy ballerina, threw her hands in the air and jumped up and down in a circle. When she finished, she did an exaggerated bow and blew kisses up to the stars. Miles clapped and whistled for her. As she walked back to the blanket, still bowing, Miles stood up and continued clapping.

“A standing ovation, just for me?” Lila laughed. “I guess that means I get to pick the radio stations.”

“Anything you want, Lila. Shall we go?” He held out his arm for her to take. She pushed it away and smiled.

“I’ll get the blanket, you start the car?” she smiled at him and her eyes were bright. Miles pulled the keys out of his pocket and started walking backwards toward the car. Lila shook out the old blanket and started to fold it. The night sky looked down on both of them. The clouds continued to move and the stars continued to wink, every bit as much as when Miles and Lila first spread out their blanket. But the night was different, then. As the two friends climbed into the car and began their late night drive, they were both smiling and there were no tears. Lila knew that she meant something and Miles knew that his friend was happy. The stars had done their job.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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