One Thing That Stays the Same

Submitted into Contest #51 in response to: Write a story that begins and ends with someone looking up at the stars.... view prompt



Look, there’s the Big Dipper!

Hey, follow the pointer stars and…there! Polaris.

Ursa Minor is pretty faint – can you see it?

Very faint curve of stars forming the handle. Those two bright ones are the end of the cup.

Man, it’s clear tonight. Good idea coming out here where there’s less light pollution. Back home I couldn’t see anything! Besides the moon of course.

Ha ha very funny. Be my guest anytime you feel the sudden urge to escape the bright city lights and bask in the soft, luminescent glow of thousands of stars.

Ooh a poet now, eh?

Well if you’re going to be the playwright, I’ll just have to be the poet. Hey, that’s an idea! “The Playwright and the Poet.” What a title. We’d make such a duo.

Yeah, but what would we actually do? Playwrights don’t make any money…that was just a childish dream.

Hey! Don’t give up on your dreams! You never know what you may become when you set your mind to it.

Yeah, well, to make enough money to live on I need to stop being the idealist and start being the realist. There’s just no place out there for fanciful writers like me, at least at the moment.

It’s sad. So many things we could do, so many things we want to do and yet…we can’t do them. Why does life have to be so darn practical? Why can’t we just be impractical for once?

I feel you, man. Imagine: The Playwright and the Poet debuting their latest release! All the rich folk flocking to see the play. Money pouring in. Fancy vacations. Countless donations. What good we could do!

Yeah, and I’m stuck here hauling garbage twice a week while you sit behind a desk all day. “The Poor Idealists” would be a better title.

Pff, yeah. If only money grew on trees.

Speaking of trees, I’ve got some news for you.


So, I know you like coming out here, away from the city, to get a breath of fresh, country air every once in a while.

Every once in a while? I’d say more often than that!

Yeah, well, anyway, the point is, you won’t be able to do that anymore.

Won’t be able to do that anymore? What do you mean? I thought we were friends!

We are! That’s not what I mean. What I mean is…I’m moving.

You’re moving?


What?! Why? Where?

I’m not sure exactly. Down south somewhere. Probably Alabama.

But why?

Why? Cause the army said so. That’s the problem with being a military family. Always moving.

But you haven’t moved once since you came here and that was six years ago!

Well, guess we just got lucky. Before here, though, I remember living in four different cities, and that’s not counting the ones I don’t remember when I was little. Always moving. Never sticking around long enough to do anything, to make any friends.

Hey, what about me? We’ve been best friends nearly since you moved here!

Yeah, and I’m grateful for that. Every other place I’ve lived in we moved too quickly for me to make any good friends. You and me, we got tight fast. I’m really happy about that.

I’m here for you, man. Always remember that.

Yeah, I know. It’s tough, always moving. Anyway, we’re leaving in a few weeks.

That soon, eh?


It’ll be awful hard leaving right before senior year. Wish you could’ve waited just one more year, you know. Graduate with your class, with me.

You’re telling me. I begged and pleaded with my dad, but when he receives orders, he has to follow them.

Sorry about that. Any ideas where you’ll go to school down there?

Don’t know, don’t care. At this point I just want to finish up and graduate.

So you can go on and fulfill your dreams of being a poet, eh?

Ha, doubt that’ll happen. Probably end up with some kind of useful degree, like engineering.

You couldn’t be an engineer even if you wanted to! Math is NOT your thing.

Well, I’m not ending up in the military, that’s for sure. If I ever have a family someday, I do not want to put them through this constant moving. Never putting down roots. Never feeling like you’re truly home. Never growing in a community, never forming friendships.

Hey, don’t forget about me! Again!

You’re the exception; I’ve already told you that!

Well, no matter what, I’ll always be your best friend. Don’t forget that.

I won’t. Thanks, man.


Hey, how’s it going?

You finally called! I’m so glad to hear from you!

Couldn’t leave my best friend hanging, could I? How’s it going down there, down South?

Man, I miss the North. I miss the cool weather. I miss the trees. I miss you.

What, you got no trees down there?

Ha, I live basically on the beach! We’ve got palm trees, if you can consider those trees. Not much but open air, scorching wind, burning sand, humid heat. What I’d give for a nice cool breeze through the woods.

And everyone was jealous when they heard you were moving to Florida. Thought it’d be a permanent vacation on the beach.

Well, it’s permanent on the beach, that’s for sure! Vacation…not so much. You’d think by now I’d be used to the constant packing and unpacking that comes with moving. But every time it’s harder than before.

Well, this time you had something hard you had to leave behind.

What’s that?


Aw, I’m sorry, man. How’s senior year?

Lonely without you. Even the teachers are commenting how much they miss the two of us together. Though they’re making it clear they don’t miss the pranks.

Ha ha. Listen, I want you to make sure you’re having a good time, all right?

Yeah, I’m trying.

Hey, guess what?


I discovered something that connects us even though we’re miles apart.

What’s that?

The stars.

Wait, really?

Yeah! Go outside. Look up around you.

I can’t see much with all this light pollution in the city.

Yeah but there’s one thing I know you’ll be able to see.

What’s that?

Look at the southeastern horizon. See that bright light?

Sort of.

That’s the planet Jupiter.

No way!

Yup! And the fainter light below it is the planet Saturn.

That’s so cool!

See what I mean? Even with constant change, moving from place to place, there’s one thing that stays the same, one thing that you and I can watch together. The stars.

July 22, 2020 01:29

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Deborah Angevin
11:09 Jul 23, 2020

This is such a sweet story, Maya. I loved the flow of the story, as well as the ending! Would you mind checking my recent story out, "Red, Blue, White?" Thank you!


Maya Reynolds
14:15 Jul 23, 2020

Thank you! Good job on "Red, Blue, White" too! I really enjoyed reading it and seeing the other side of the story from "Orange-Coloured Sky".


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Vanessa Marczan
22:05 Jul 30, 2020

Lovely story Maya. You did characterisation through dialogue really well!


Maya Reynolds
14:25 Aug 03, 2020

Thank you!


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Keri Dyck
01:39 Jul 30, 2020

Very nice story! I like the sweet, simple friendship they had, and the way you showed the life of a family member in the army. Well done!


Maya Reynolds
14:26 Aug 03, 2020

Thank you!


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