The girl looked up at the sky, and said, “Did you know, I can read the stars?” She was trying to be cool and cute. But she was slightly flustered, and she was shy. Looking up at the guy standing next to her—rather she peeked up at him, and ‘peeked’ would have described it better if she actually had bangs or a hat for her peek from under, which she did not—she saw him look down at her, and she smiled. Sort of. It was a small smile, because she didn’t know if she should really play it cool and look really knowledgeable, or if she should play it cute, and smile brightly. But she was wary of everything about herself. She wanted to adjust her scarf, to brush her hair back, to lick her lips which were getting chapped. But she didn’t want to seem overly conscious, so she just stuck with licking her lips, even though she could feel something in need of readjusting—her scarf, her shirt, or her bra, she didn’t know, but she hoped it wasn’t embarrassing.
“Oh?” He said. He had his hands tucked in his pockets, and though they were standing close, she was standing a little away from him too. She had asked him out, well asked if he would like to go and star gaze with her at the university. He was busy, but it seemed she had caught him on a free night. Or rather, he also had something to do here, and so it was all kind of convenient, nothing special really.
“Oh yes! I can!” She said, encouraged by his reply, which seemed like he was curious. Or maybe he just didn’t believe her. She didn’t believe her either, and this was either going to come across as corny, or maybe it would give her the answer she wanted to hear. Or maybe, she was just going to embarrass herself. She was hoping for the middle answer.
“Alright, go, tell me something.”
Crap. How was she going to start this? “Well…the stars tell me you’re a Taurus,” she began lamely.
He laughed, and she wanted punch him in the arm. “You know when my birthday is!” He said laughing, and shifting away when she really did reach out to punch for his arm. Her fist glanced off the hard, yet soft, fleshiness under that cotton sleeve of the hoodie he was wearing.
“Just listen!” She said, flushing red, a mixture of embarrassment and annoyance, yet her mouth was parted in a smile.
“Okay, okay,” he said holding up his hand as she went in for another punch. “Stop punching me and I will.”
He was such a liar. Yet he was still here, looking overly amused. Pouting lightly, and looking up at the sparsely cloud covered sky, she squinted. All around them there were other stargazers wrapped in thick coats, puffy jackets, and some, even in blankets. Most of them had telescopes, borrowed or purchased, set up in front of their chairs—a variety of camp chairs, stools, cushions on wood and even one office chair. Even though the event was for a few hours only, people had gathered early, collected telescopes and settled in as if for the night. She had been a little too late to get a telescope, but at least she had dad’s small one in her pocket. Coming here had been on whim. She had actually been late in hearing about the stargazing event, and had almost chickened out if he hadn’t asked what she was doing tonight in their regularly sporadic texting conversation. An unexpected question and she had said the first thing that had popped into her head. And he had asked if she was going to go, to which she had answered, quite thoughtlessly, “I want to go, but I don’t know…” Being a girl, she couldn’t go alone, regardless of her age. She didn’t have a car, and most of her friends lived on the other side of the city. If she wanted to go out, fine. But she usually had to be back before dark—lest she bring down the rain of worried parental censure and a storm of scolding for rebellious young girls. And then he had surprised her, asking her if she wanted to go. It wasn’t like he knew about her family and all their weird cultural—maybe it wasn’t cultural, maybe it was just parents being parents even though she wasn’t exactly sixteen anymore—it wasn’t like she wanted to share. The last time she shared with a guy, it became the sky climbing wall between them. What had possessed her to ask him? In many ways, it had been perfect timing, and when she’d asked if he would go with her, and felt the extreme elation that came with knowing she had somewhat succeeded.
For as long as she could walk and talk and brush her hair, pull it back and make it look pretty, she had been unable to flirt. In actuality, it wasn’t that she didn’t know how to flirt, it was just that with guys, she had a difficult time reacting. It was always too embarrassing for her. So she kept her mouth shut if there was a guy around, and even more so if that guy was good looking, tall and somewhat possessed an aura that she, with her daydream tendencies, could only daydream of having. And if any of those guys talked to her, despite the fact that she had gotten better at talking to such guys over the years, she could rarely do little more than smile and answer the question. Other than that, she was just shyly standing off to the side, awkward.
But with this guy, it had been kind of sudden, and it had been kind of vague between them—a grey cloud separating black to white. He was everything she liked, dreamed of, and had hoped. It seemed beyond real for her to be trading words with this guy, and yet it was so very normal. For once, she had her head screwed on tightly, though, not so much when she was returning texts. With those, she hardly knew what she was saying. So maybe her head wasn’t tied on that tightly, but she wasn’t a teenager and she could handle this like a woman.
Woman. If only she could be as smart and sophisticated as a woman should be—she was anything but which made her mind a whole lot more receptive to the torrent of daydreams that were coming to her on a daily basis. Such wonderful daydreams. So awfully farfetched. But she enjoyed them nonetheless, doing no more, and no less than necessary when it came to him. She liked the grey. She liked and disliked knowing and not knowing where they stood. So why had she opened her mouth and asked him out. Well rather, she had typed it into her phone, pressed send and had heart palpitations all evening until he replied back with ‘okay’. Okay. Such a simple word. While in flowery terms, it sent her heart smashing out of her chest, soaring far and wide, in much simpler, plain and realistic terms, her hands had gone clammy and she fretted, thinking of cancelling five seconds after asking.
“So, what are the stars telling you?” He prompted her, jerking her out of her thoughts.
She was already here now, the sun was just about setting, meeting the horizon at the set time, just after six in the evening. They were still standing, but that was okay. There were others standing too.
She smiled, “you see up there?” She pointed at a random constellation. It was a surprise to see even that constellation up in the sky. But then again, other than a few wisps of cloud, it was an unusually clear night. But thankfully, and luckily too.
He looked at her first, then looked up too.
“I didn’t think it would be up there tonight, so this is purely coincidental, but it looks good,” she said wistfully. She was making this up as she was going along. It was not coming out like she had daydreamt in her head. In her head, her speech had been smoother, and she had acted more sophisticated and cool. An enviable persona. But well, regardless of the fact that she was failing this miserably now, she was going to push ahead and try.
She could hear that smile in his voice again, but she ignored it, swallowing hard, and ploughing on. “Legend says if you see that constellation in the sky, it means your love life is going to improve.” Corny. Corny. It had come out corny. Why had she said it?
She couldn’t look at him now.
“And-it’ll-get-better-if-you-ask-the-one-you’re-interested-in-out-on-a-date,” she said, letting the words spill out in a single chunk. She really couldn’t look at him now, and yet she dared to peek up at him, expecting a heavily dealt blow of rejection. But if she was to think that she didn’t have a chance here, that if she had misread all the signs, then she really wouldn’t have a chance at all. At the same time though, she didn’t want to build up expectations, she didn’t want to find herself in a position where she was worried constantly, fretting idiotically about whether a guy was interested in her or not. She just wanted….what did she want? Why had she asked if he wanted to come today? What was she thinking in letting those words spill out? Why couldn’t she just say ‘do you like me’?
He blinked, evidently something was going on in his mind that she couldn’t even conceive, and right now didn’t want to. She was so tempted to close her eyes, squint and go back in time to when this never happened, but then he opened his mouth.
What happens next, I truly don’t know. I thought about writing the ending, but honestly, I just thought this story up one random afternoon. I was kind of daydreaming while scanning through facebook, and seeing that my university was holding a ‘break the star gazing record’ event, which, had I known earlier, I would have totally gone! I wrote this immediately after I daydreamed it, but I never got to the ending, in my daydream or when I wrote it, and when I read it over, I realise, I don’t know how I would end it. Maybe if I set it aside, thought about it, and edit it, I might know, but for now, I don’t know!
I would loovvveeee to know how you, my dear readers, fellow bloggers, and all friends, if you happened to have read the above all the way through, would end this short story!