Stars: July 11 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   The night is warm and still. The stars are dancing in the clear sky but there is only the skinniest sliver of a moon and it's dark along the road. I am driving with a special friend to the river. I hope the water isn't too cold in the shady little brook. I pull over to the side of the bumpy dirt road and we get out; the doors slam in unison.

He grabs my hand as we try to make our way in the darkness, stumbling down the rocky path. It's too dark for a night swim, we decide, and go back to my car. I start up and we drive away from the swimming hole, recalling the memories we've created there: the sunny summer days with a group of friends and the nights, like this one, where we've built a fire and swum by firelight.

He turns on the radio and we enjoy the companionship of a far-off voice and familiar beats. We don't say anything but the silence is comfortable. We can think of other things and feel at ease with the quiet peace between us.

He notices the beautiful sky and we pull off the highway into a field. I turn off the engine and we leave the soft, padded interior. We sit on the heated hood of my car, smooth and solid. It's a comforting feeling to realize the things you can count on: the stars, the hood of a car, a good friend.

We lie on our backs, close together for security and gaze at the luminaries floating on the black canvas stretched tight above us. We speak occasionally, overwhelmed by the enormity around us. We lie there for a long time and a chill begins to settle. I get an itchy wool blanket from the trunk and drape it over us so that we are surrounded by heat. He moves higher on the hood so that his head is above mine and his body is curved beside me. I can hear his heart beat a steady rhythm and I feel safe, protected.

We study the sky: the satellites and flashing airport lights, the constellations that we wish we could name. Astronomy, we decide, is a course that we'd like to take in college. And that brings about a series of removed thoughts. College, moving away, moving on, choices that don't have to be made tonight.

I force myself to look at the glowing hands on my watch and discover that I am late. It is late. I knew it, of course, but I don't care about the consequences now.We fold up the old Army blanket and get back into my car. I drive him to his house, it's dark and quiet. His parents aren't home and he won't get in trouble for a late night excursion.

I'll see him tomorrow in a different situation, in glaring sunlight or dreary gray cloudiness. I drive home slowly, I'm late anyway, and I feel like enjoying the last lingering notes of peace. The garage light is on and as I pull into the driveway the solitude ebbs and the motion light flashes its warning. My arrival has been noticed and as the automatic door closes behind my car, artificial light is spilled throughout the house. Silhouettes appear, more angry than worried.

They dole out a punishment that rolls off uncaring shoulders. I walk past them and down the stairs to my room. I enter without touching a lamp. I'll leave myself shrouded in darkness for a little while longer. I'll bask in it until daybreak, when the stars fade into the canvas, hiding. fl

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Lily">This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 11 at 2:05 pm
i love this so much!
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