The Stargazers


The bell signaled the end of the university astrology class. Sandy packed her books together and left the lecture hall without a word to anyone. She rushed outside into a blustery spring day. Deep in concentration, she walked, half ran towards the library, she ducked her head against the wind, thinking only of the new assignment her professor had just given them.


‚Hey, what the hell?’ Sandy cried as she collided with a solid body and slid to the cold wet ground. She saw a few stars as she bumped her head and she thought that they had had enough of stargazing today.


That solid body offered his hand: ‚Here, I’ll help you up. I’m really sorry, but I’m afraid we both were walking with our thoughts elsewhere and our eyes on the path rather than looking where we were going.’


She accepted his hand and stood up:‚Right, sorry and thanks!’ She brushed past him and continued on her way to the library without a look back.


Sam just swallowed and thought: ‚Boy what a turn off!’ He spotted a piece of paper caught on the bark of the ancient chestnut tree. One glance and he recognised it as the astrology assignment. ‚It must be hers as mine is already filed in my notebook.’ He plucked it off the tree and followed the path she took, entered the library and headed for the science sector. He found an empty desk and plopped his book bag down, disregarding his fellow colleagues. ‚Pst, pst, pst’ complained the few students already engrossed in their studies.


Sam took a few minutes to breathe in deeply to prepare himself for the task ahead. Opening his book bag he took out the last piece of paper the professor had handed out at the end of the astrology class, suddenly remembering that he had that girl’s copy. Standing up, he looked around but there was no sign of her. So he went back to his place, picked up the piece of paper and squeezed his eyes shut after reading the assignment.


Astrology week of 10 April, 2019


Task due date: 15 May, 2020


Task: choose one of the following three listed projects. The word limit for each is 3000 words.


Project one: Discover your star, its constellation and meaning for you. 


Project two: Perform and describe 10 sightings of the nocturnal sky embossed with drawings. 


Project three: Design and explain a natal birth date for someone of your choice. 


I’m really hopeless at this. I’ll never know why I chose to take this course. I was so happy with my major in psychology and minor in math but my mentor thought I should delve into something a bit lighter, which wouldn’t require much thinking out of the box. Lighter? I must be daft! Fuck, I should have signed up for an English course. Wonder if it’s too late to change. If it is, I guess project two would make do. It has to because project one, my horoscope, does not interest me at all. Project three would surely challenge the math I’m into even though it could be fun, just a hell lot of work!


Well, Sam, have you decided? Do you know which step you want to follow? Where’s my heart? My heart says slow down, rethink it over. First step, check out that girl, hand her her assignment. Step two: check out whether a change in class is still possible, which I truly doubt. Step three: buckle down and begin that project‚ ’cause it won’t get done without any effort on my part.


Time has passed by with Sam and his procrastinations. As he decides to stretch his long body by walking around the book aisles like a serpent, weaving in and out, his eyes observing all of the students, either madly typing away or having a brief snooze, or those with their nose deep in a book, he finally spots that girl, exactly such a one. One who has no eyes for anyone, no wish to meet anyone, no wish to be friendly. He shakes his head and wonders.  


He slides the piece of paper between her elbows on the desk. ‚Wow, finally a response’, he thinks. She looks at him askance. Checks the paper out and lets out a whoa. She gives him a little smile. She’s got lovely eyes once you got to see them up close. And there’s a dimple.

Second glance over, Sam notices she’s a petite girl with short cropped honey brown hair in a pixie style. She says thanks. Sam turns on his heel, finds his way back to his seat. There he calls it quits for the afternoon.


Walking by his mentor’s office, he promptly recalls his earlier thoughts, steps in and asks if the professor has time for him. 


Well, that was quick, Sam reflects on the past half hour spent with his mentor. Nothing lost and nothing gained yet. Meaning begin project or step three. Ten sightings means I should check out the forecasts for this month. So better be off to check out the planetarium, that’ll probably be the best solution.


The checking of the planetarium’s monthly report showed that: ‚The most prominent northern spring constellations are Ursa Major, Boötes, Leo, Cancer, Virgo and Hydra.’*

Well, at least I do remember something from the lectures, Ursa Major, Virgo and Hydra are three of the largest constellations in April. Actually the sightings won’t be bad to document, it’s just the writing up (for any of the projects) that’ll cause me problems. Weatherwise, all looks promising, guess I’ll pack a bag and take off this weekend to one of the state parks in Alpena. 

Bang, the door behind Sam slams open and shut. At first glance he couldn’t believe his eyes: there she was again. Sandy apologises for disrupting the peace and quiet of the planetarium. Sam thinks‚ wow that’s a surprise, sure didn’t expect to hear anything. Sandy walks over to him and sweetly says: ‚Thank you for my assignment paper. I haven’t noticed you in the lecture hall before. Which assignment are you going to take on? I’m thinking of doing project three. Oh, I’m Sandy by the way.’ 

‚Hello, I’m Sam. I’ve never seen you there either. I’m into doing project two. What do you think will be an obstacle with your project?’

‚Oh, I’m anxious to find someone to do their star chart for them. I want to learn how to read and tell someone’s horoscope, you know like Terry Nazon, and do their natal birth chart. I find it all so fascinating. Why are you in astrology? 

‚Long story, to make it short – thought it’d be easy-peasy points towards my degree in psychology. Would have been better to do an English course but my mentor negated that idea. So I’m gonna need help with writing up this project.’

‚Well, smile now, no problems then, we can help each other; that is, if you agree.’

‚Guess I can’t turn down such an offer. What do you suggest for a beginning?’

‚Tonight is a great night to go down to Lake Huron – you can do a sighting and I can quiz you about yourself. You wouldn’t happen to have been born in March, April or May, would you?

Then, if so, I’ll be able to work with the actual star constellations that are now present to emboss my paper with.’

‚Well lady you’re in luck! May 4th!’

After a short exchange of  times and place, Sam and Sandy arrange their date for that evening.

Each had packed their sleeping bags, Sam brought a few cold beers for their thirst and Sandy had packed deli sandwiches and crisps. They soon discovered they weren’t alone. Out of the class of 60, there must have been 30 bodies now scattered along the shore of Lake Huron. Telescopes and camaras were shared between them. There were notetakers, all in all a beautiful dark evening with the tranquil sound of water lapping at the shoreline. Best, of course, was the shared peace and quiet of stargazing, literally thousands of bright points in the sky. Nestled in their sleeping bags placed close together, Sandy encouraged Sam to point out what he saw and what he knew from that wondrous starlit night.

It did not take much effort on either party to soon find a soulmate in each other. As Sandy would say: it was written in the stars, whereas Sam would say Hydra, the serpent, found Virgo, the maiden. Projects had been completed and handed in on time. The stars pointed to an interesting life ahead. Sam would have to agree, what else could you expect from Sandy’s very first official horoscope reading?   

·      Internet: www.space.com; www.constellation-guide.com

Word count: 1462

May 01, 2020 08:27

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L. M.
22:26 May 07, 2020

Nice story. The details add a lot to it.


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M.Zubair Alam
13:17 May 07, 2020

you have nicely gone through it. great.


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