“Let’s find Orion again, Daddy!” Abby cried excitedly, pulling her father to her bedroom window. He smiled and knelt down next to her as she picked up a book lying on the floor. “Help me find it,” she breathed as she passed it to him; he flipped through the pages knowing exactly where to look. They had found this particular constellation so many times, he had memorized the page.
“Here it is, sweetheart,” he said, turning the book of constellations so Abby could look at it with him. “’Look for three stars in a line,’” he read out loud. “’This is commonly known as Orion’s belt.’” Abby moved away as he spoke, leaning up close to the window, craning her neck. Her father put the book down and scooted over, pretending to help her scan the night sky for the three stars.
He was really admiring the starry night, for he knew his daughter would want to be the first one to locate Orion’s Belt herself. It was late, and the moon was almost halfway through its journey to the other side of the horizon, shining three quarters full. The clouds from earlier in the day had dissipated, leaving perfect conditions for star gazing. He smiled to himself. If Abby hadn’t become obsessed with all things related to the night, he never would have bothered to look at the sky on a night like this.
“Got it,” Abby stated confidently, and tapped the glass of the window with her finger. Her father followed where her finger pointed and saw the three stars of Orion’s Belt, marching across the sky. “Good job, Abby,” he praised her, and ruffled her blonde hair affectionately. She smiled but didn’t look away, keeping her eyes on the spot. “Someday I’m gonna go there and see those stars up close,” she announced proudly.
“And leave me down here? I don’t think so!” Her dad teased, touching her nose.
“Da-ad!” Abby whined, but she knew he was only kidding. She and her father looked at Orion for a few moments in silence.
“Okay, I’m ready to go to bed now,” she said quietly, yawning. “I just want to say good night to Mommy.”
“Okay, sweetheart. Need help finding her?” Her father asked gently, his playfulness gone.
“No, I see her,” Abby replied, fixing her eyes on the brightest star she could find. “Good night, Mommy,” she said to the star. Her father looked at the star too, and whispered a silent good night.
Abby got up and walked over to her small bed, getting under the covers. Her father followed her and sat down next to her, tucking her in. “Do you think Mommy’s happy up there? Does she miss us?” she asked her father sleepily.
Her father glanced at the star for a heartbeat and turned back to Abby. “Of course Mommy’s happy. She’s left us, sweetheart, but she still loves us and misses us.”
“And she’s always watching over us,” Abby sighed, settling into her covers, satisfied. Her eyes fluttered shut. Her father quietly got up and turned off the lamp on her dresser, then walked over to the door.
“Goodnight, sweetheart,” he whispered, and closed the door to darkness.
Abby shifted in her sleep and smiled, for she was with her mother in her dreams.