The fading sunlight shimmered on her dancing hair, turning her raven-black head to an aureole to frame her cordate, angelic face.
I swung my short legs off the edge of the bench as we leaned back, laughing at the joke I had just told.
“Patt,” she giggled, “you’re such a dork.”
I grinned. “But I’m an amusing dork.”
She tossed her head, and the hair danced even more. “So you say.”
“You’re the one who laughed.”
“I only giggled.”
“You were amused.”
“Oh, shut up.”
We swung our legs in synchronization as the sun continued to sink. The gently blowing breeze was growing in strength and lessening in temperature, carrying night in on black wings.
She raised a hand to point at the first star that appeared. “Look! I love it when the first star appears, don’t you?”
I nodded. “It’s like—like a promise. Of the coming night.”
Her head bobbed eagerly. “Most people wish on it, but my mom says that’s stupid. She says it doesn’t grant wishes; it keeps promises.”
“Like you were saying. It’s a promise of things to come.”
I looked up. “So . . . it keeps promises?”
“Yup! You make it a promise and it keeps it for you. So then you have to come through on it. So you can only make promises you truly believe in.”
My head was on its side, regarding the star with a sudden interest. I had never heard it put that way before.
“It’s magical,” she went on. “Stars have always been seen as magical.”
“I’ve never heard it put like this, though,” I said. “But it’s a beautiful way.”
“Do you want to make a promise on it?” she asked.
“Yeah. Like—like—oh, I don’t know. I’ll promise that I’ll never give up on my dreams! I’ll always write! Someday, someday I’ll write a novel.”
“Well, that’s a boring promise.”
“I believe in it.”
“But it needs to be something that you need it to believe in. It can’t be something easy.”
“Something dramatic. Like you’ll—you’ll never tell a lie.”
“But that’s impossible.”
“Well . . .” She bit her lip, considering. “Okay. I’ve got it! Let’s make a promise together!”
“Yeah! We’ll promise each other that we’ll never be apart, and that we’ll always be friends!”
“But what if--”
“Promise!” she snapped.
“Okay, I promise!” I conceded. Then I added, more slowly, “And let’s promise—that when we are apart—because we will be, someday—that we’ll always be thinking of each other.”
“I swear it.”
“Me too. I promise.”
And she smiled at me. And I smiled back. And we went back to our stargazing, as more heavenly luminaries began to show their faces. As enough began to appear, we started pointing out constellations.
I watched her eyes light up at the sight of each one. I watched her lips curve at their shapes in that way that always made me happier than I could ever understand. And I promised, silently, I’ll always be with you; we’ll always be friends; and someday . . . when the time is right . . . we’ll be more.
Opinions--positive, negative or optimistic--are welcome, and appreciated, as always.
Sincerely, Nuile: Lunatic Wordsmith