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Count The Stars
We lay in the field across the street from our houses letting the warm summer air surround us. It is late, but our parents know where we are; they don’t mind. I am on his left, as always, and our hands are intertwined at our sides. Our shirts stick to our backs from the humidity but we don’t care, all is still.
Each night he comes to my door, rings our bell, and waits for someone to answer. I always know it’s him (he always comes at 10 sharp) but my stomach never allows me to answer the door. My Mom opens it and asks him to come in: she’ll go get me. I glance at myself in the mirror one more time and run down the stairs to meet your’ beautiful smiling face at the door. “Be good kids!” my Mom always shouts to us as we walk under the street lamps to the field. “Yes Mom! We will!” I yell back each day so she won’t be worried.
My stomach always gets crazier after she closes the door because that’s when he leans over and kisses me. I can always tell my face gets red but thank God it’s dark outside! Then, I take his hand as we reach the park. We find our spot; the little square of grass surrounded by trees on one side and flowers on the other, and lay down on our backs. He scooches closer to me and takes my hand again, how perfectly everything always goes.
As we lay tonight, you tell me to count the stars: I do. Then you explain how each of the stars is a person’s light they left behind when they went up to Heaven. The more impact that person had on someone, the brighter their star. I ask you whose stars would be the brightest. Albert Einstein, Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, you tell me. I add that Billy Mayes’s star is up there, which makes you laugh. Have I ever told you I love your laugh?
We lay for a while longer, not wanting this night to end. But eventually, we both realize we have to get home. You glance at you cell phone and tell me its 10:45. Right on schedule. Home by 11. We get up and start walking slowly back home. When we reach the turn-off to the could-a-sack I live in, you spin me around and pull me close to your chest. I tip my chin up and our lips meet. So perfect are those few moments we are locked together, so badly I don’t want them to end. But you gently push me towards my house and I obey. We break apart as you wave and tell me you’ll be back tomorrow. “Call me tomorrow morning!” I always ask you. “Hmmm. I’ll have to think about that.” Is your usual, joking reply. “I’ll be waiting then!” I say, as I walk to my door. I open it and step inside, glancing at your black shadowed figure walking towards your house across the street. I breathe.
The next morning I wake up at 11, not uncommon for me in the summer. I eat breakfast and take a shower, but still no call. I go to my room and open the blinds. Your white three-story house is still there, unchanged and familiar. I glance at my phone: 12:45, still no call. In the year and a half we have been together, you always kept your promises. You always called me in the morning; you were never late picking me up or taking me home at night. Why today? As lunch passes and dinner approaches, I decide to call you myself. Your phone goes straight to voice mail. Weird, I knew you weren’t going anywhere today. I look again across the street, your car is there, and your parents’ car is gone. A detail I must not have noticed earlier this morning. No big though, right? You will call me.
It is 9:00 now and still I haven’t gotten a call. I go to my room and lay on my bed, confused and unsure with what is happening. The stars are coming out now, it’s just becoming dark. 9:45, 10:00, 10:15. What is happening? Finally, my phone rings! I answer excitedly, “Hello?!”
“Hey, Samantha?” It’s your Dad’s voice.
“Yes?” I asked confused. Why is he calling me?
“Hey, umm, Trevor…” He cuts off mid sentence. I can tell he is struggling to form the words.
“Trevor isn’t going to come tonight. He got into an accident.” His voice cracks on the last word and he breaks down.
“What do you mean?” I ask, confused why he is crying.
“Trevor was walking home from his friends house today and he got hit by a car. He was rushed to the hospital but when we got there, the doctors said it was too late.” His tears come faster now. He blows his nose.
“What?” My voice shakes, I still don’t understand. “He’s…….dead?” The word slips out in a whisper.
“Yes, Sam, he is. He’s not coming back. I’m so sorry.” He has controlled his tears now but his voice still shakes.
“Thank you for telling me.” I manage to croak out before I close my phone and break down.
My Mom comes into my room when she hears my sobs. Trevor’s Dad just called her too.
“Honey? Are you all right?” She asks me.
That was probably the stupidest question on the face of the Earth at that moment. Of course I wasn’t all right woman! My boyfriend just died! He’s not coming back! Forever! I look up at her with red-rimmed eyes, tears still streaming down my cheeks. “I need to go.” I tell her and walk out of my room. Ten minutes later, I find myself at the field, in our spot, looking at the stars.
“Count the stars!” I hear your voice beside me. I look over but see only the black of night surrounding me. “Count the stars!” You whisper to me now. I look up and start counting. There is one new star tonight, a huge, bright, white star, right above our spot. Right above the field, our little square of grass, right above me. I can’t cry anymore, my tears have run out; but now I smile. “I see you, Trevor.” I whisper. “I counted.”