Under the Stars

At the end of a trying day at school, a young woman made her way up a small hill behind her house, and sat on a small bench to watch the sunset.

Since she had her head up, she missed the arrival of a young man until he was quite close, but she smiled at him, and shifted over on the bench so he could sit beside her.

For a while they sat in silence as the sky turned from orange to purple to black, and then, once the constellations were visible she took off her shoes and sank her feet into the cool grass with a sigh of relief.

Shortly after, the young man also removed his shoes, and as she watched him, she saw through the thin material of his socks that his toes were painted a bright red. The question rose in her throat, but she closed her mouth to block its release, waiting instead for him to speak.

But, even after he took off the socks confirming what she had seen, he merely let his painted toes be soothed by the grass for a while before sighing and looking back up at the stars.

An hour from now, in the kitchen of her home, he would answer the unasked question, which would lead to tears, then laughter, and then tears again, but for now they both bathed in the starlight until the moon rose to join the parade in the heavens.

Many years later, when she recounted the story of this night, she would say she could swear that just at the edge of hearing there had been a song playing, the song of the stars.

And that no matter what else she did with her life, she would always make time in the sunset hour, so she could hear it again.

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