Aaron and Zoe walked out of the mom and pop Italian restaurant, past the fake vines and empty benches. Dinner had tasted better than they had imagined it would. Quiet laughter traveled at a next-to-still pace through the air, from the entrance arches to the deep velvety purple sedan that had delivered the two some short few hours ago. Conversation fizzled  as the obvious question hanging from the rear-view mirror went ignored. After a century of a few silent seconds, Aaron had collected himself to the point of asking where they would go from the parking lot that seemed to hold them hostage. The suggestion that the two were glad to agree on had been that of a visit to the local park to see the sunset. Aaron anxiously started towards to road while Zoe searched through her collection for the perfect accompaniment. 

    Zoe played the role of lead musical talent as she conducted her playlist of favorites that she had accrued over her many years of listening. Aaron did everything he could to keep his eyes fixed on the road ahead of him, taking every spare second to glance over, only to rip himself away from staring shortly after.  Whatever they were talking about back in that far off parking lot inched back into their minds just enough to reset the comforting conversation they had been holding on to before their trip had started. Expansions and jokes were added were they were surprised to have not been seen earlier. Their drive seemed to glide past the same way a lazy bird does without flapping a wing until they were at the park and starting their trip around the trail.

    Side by side with their hands in their pockets the two moseyed through the newly grown leaves. Aaron brought up the class they shared to ask if Zoe had started the big project that was due next Thursday. Zoe smirked with a soft laugh that answered the question. She asked if he had seen the new movie that had just come out last week, and his response hoped to say that he'd like to see it with her. Minutes turned into an hour, then two, then those hours came together to send the sun to sleep before either could utter and argument. Zoe murmured sadly about the time. Then Aaron took a seat on a nearby stone and teased her over to a seat next to him. The cobalt blue sky adopted a white shine behind the soon to be full moon, and pin-sized gems started to dot the sky.

    A short breath prefaced Aaron's speech. First he pointed to the big dipper, and the nearby little dipper, earning a sarcastic clap from his company. Then he pointed to Orion's belt while taking the time to draw out his sword and shield with a finger. He showed her the bears, Hercules, and Perseus. After uncovering her status as a Pisces, Aaron took a moment before showing her the shape of her sign in the sky. He showed her every collection of stars in the sky and even a few of the planets as well, all the while telling her when the others would be out later on in the summer. He pointed to Pegasus and Cassiopeia, then to Cepheus and Cygnus. It seemed almost as if he was creating the stars himself where they once didn't exist, drawing the constellations with his finger and not just pointing to them.

    Zoe looked up to the sky as Aaron directed her eyes to the different astral arts, enamored by his impassioned descriptions of everything the stars depicted. She let out an amazed sound and turned her head to see the stars reflected in his eyes. She saw a different boy from the one in her class that had a project due next week. This boy wasn't the same one that their friends had soft-handedly pushed towards the dinner she had nervously enjoyed. Aaron noticed her locked attention and laughed off his display as a goofy trick. He was interrupted by Zoe asking when he had learned so much and what had committed him to keep it a secret.

 Aaron changed to an embarrassed shade, sharing that he had studied the stars for as long as he had been able to see them, keeping the secret all the while out of some shy worry that he may seem odd. Every book and article that showed him a new section of the stars, he had read a thousand times over until it was committed to memory and heart. He told her that when he looked up at the heavens he felt comfort. He told her that nobody knew he had such a knowledge, such a connection to the night sky. He told her that she was worth sharing that with.

Zoe's head was pulled to Aaron's shoulder by some form of gravity. She told him to show her more, and he was happy to. Aaron showed her everything the space above them had to offer. He went for so long that he ended up repeating a few, much to Zoe's enjoyment. Once everything had been seen the two sat beneath their shimmering ceiling in silence. For a lifetime they watched as the lights seemed to perform an intricate dance routine just for them without ever truly moving an inch. The performance had to come to an end as Aaron told Zoe that they certainly needed sleep, getting only a long and smiling yawn to answer.

Their hands met as they left their seat and began the walk back to the purple car. The hands maintain their hold for the whole of the trip until Aaron released his grip to open the door of the car for Zoe. She told him that they should come back to see the sky again soon. Aaron smiled and nodded to agree. He looked up for one final view before the quiet drive home. He thanked the stars for their help and started the car.

November 12, 2019 21:13

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