Drabble 190 – Degrassé

A photo of stars.

I grew up in the middle of nowhere. Well, it was more like the outer limits of nowhere. It was a 20-minute drive to town, anyway. On clear nights, I could hear the train whistle mixed in with crickets and cows lowing. In the sky were more stars than I’ve ever seen elsewhere; that’s what happens when there are no streetlights, no large buildings, just trees and water and farmhouses tucked into meadows.

It sounds idyllic but, truth be told, I hated it there. The stars and the sounds are two of the only things I remember fondly, but maybe that makes up for the rest. Seeing the stars spread across the sky like glitter spilled over black velvet is a memory I hang onto now that what I hear at night is mostly cars. Sometimes coyotes, but we had those back home, too.

Anyway, here’s a drabble.

DEGRASSÉ

(adj.) neologism

entranced and unsettled by the vastness of the universe, experienced in a jolt of recognition that the night sky is not just a wallpaper but a deeply foreign ocean whose currents are steadily carrying off all other castaways, who share our predicament but are already well out of earshot—worlds and stars who would’ve been lost entirely except for the scrap of light they were able to fling out into the dark, a message in a bottle that’s only just now washing up in the Earth’s atmosphere, an invitation to a party that already ended a million years ago. — The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows

She traces the line her brother draws in the sky with his finger. “Cassiopeia,” he says. “A seated queen.”

She can’t see it. How anyone could pick just one of the million Ws in the sky to be a queen is a mystery, let alone why it’s not a snake or a mountain range. Still, she nods as if she sees it.

She keeps looking, drawing her own new shapes. Who cares about Cassiopeia; there’s a million stars and among them she can shape her own mountain range or a queen sitting, standing, writing her own story in the sky.

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