There was a meteor shower last night.
It’s still going on, sending burning, beautiful fragments across the sky, but they were at peak visibility last night.
We sat on my couch, too hot even under the fan, watching Breaking Bad and touching skin to skin despite the heat.
I reminded you of the meteors and though you were sleepy and red-eyed, your contacts rubbing your eyelids the wrong way, you agreed to come outside with me.
I waned philosophical under that amazingly clear sky, and we avoided the automatic security light on the garage so we could stare upward.
“Is that a red star?” I asked, not even pointing up. I barely even had to tell you were to look- you and I are so connected you knew exactly which star I meant.
You told me it was a Red Giant and explained what it meant, how it was a star desperately clinging to life. (And you say you’re not brilliant, that I’m the genius child-prodigy-turned-woman. Hah!)
“We are so small,” I said, staring up as you wrapped your strong and sinewy thin arms around me. Soccer player’s arms. And your artist hands around my middle as your neck leaned back, chin resting on my head, supporting my neck with your chest. “And to think,” I continued, “most of these stars are already dead.”
And in your usual style you said, “Yeah. They’re like planetary polaroids.”
You apologized, said it was corny, and I was stunned and amazed by your never-ceasing ability to think of clever lines.
I told you I would use it in my writing. I never specified how. I wonder if you would mind me writing about us like this, laid out for strangers to read and see in their mind’s eye.
But last night you leaned over and kissed my head; kissed my hair. And right then, I shouted:
“There! There!” A bright white streak across the sky, huge and unmistakeable.
You missed it of course.
I wished for you, anyway.
(Can you wish on meteors?)
And after you got in your car to drive home, I stood out in the dark, neck craned and tight, watching the planetary polaroid of stellar proportions unfolding above my head.
I didn’t see another meteor after you left. I went to bed, thinking of the seeming insignificance of our planet and yet our continued survival. How we’re on Mars now, and how I have no idea what the next generation will get to see or explore.
How I always wanted to see the stars as a child and never did get to be an astronaut like I wanted. How the current NASA team for Curiousity – those brilliant explorers – had mohawked twenty-somethings and hippies right next to one another, as varied and diverse as our universe.
Then I thought of you, your arms tight around my middle, and the scent of your shirt as I clung to it, and suddenly being earthbound and tiny and staring up at distant meteors didn’t seem so daunting after all.